The way our brain works is that the questions we ask ourselves determine what we decide to focus on AND subsequently the actions we take.
The challenge is most of us suck at asking ourselves empowering questions to maximize our effectiveness and life experience.
This podcast selfie explores some instances where I bring intention to the questions I ask myself in order to make sure I’m taking the best possible actions.
You’ll learn a ton of different questions you can use strategically in order to properly direct your thinking and a whole lot more.
Scott: What’s up Competitive Edge listeners? I hope you’re having an awesome day, thanks for tuning in. I’m really fired up about this episode and today it’s going to be another selfie, it’s going to be just me and you but we’re going to talk about what I think is probably the most important topic that’s been mentioned on The Competitive Edge yet, at least among the self-interviews. I have talked about cold-emailing and how my Amazon marketing strategy to take the book to the number one best-seller but this is so much more important than just making money strategies and online business strategies but it does play a huge role into that. Today we’re going to talk about how questions can change your life and how you can strategically use them to change your life.
And I guess the fire seeds of this episode is that lately I’ve been getting a lot of people asking me about some of my journaling practices in the self-review that I mentioned in episode one. And today is actually my last day in Brazil and I did a bunch of reflecting and journaling today. So this whole idea of questioning, questions that we ask ourselves is just hyper-present for me right now and I’m excited because by the end of this episode, you’re going to walk away with actionable practices to make you happier, more successful and closer to the path of living your dream life. Sounds good? So, let’s start off by talking a little bit about the human brain because man, it is a funny little bugger.
The questions that we ask our self determine what our brain decides to focus on. So just think about this for a second, how do you direct your focus? A lot of times things just pop up into your head, whatever stimuli are around us but if we really want to focus our attention on something specific, one of the most powerful ways that we do that is ask ourselves questions. And whatever we choose to focus on determines how happy we are, what we get done, how great our lives are, how we evaluate potential things that we are looking at. So this practice of being intentional and mindful about the questions that we ask ourselves and making sure that we ask ourselves the right question to lead the most powering and effective lives possible, I mean it’s just huge.
It’s so important and the thing is that we suck; at least I do, at asking ourselves the right questions to get the richest life experience. I mean this is a huge reason why we don’t do things that scare us; it’s a reason why we often protect ourselves instead of taking the most direct path to we want. Why we overspend, why we overeat, I mean all of these situations where we are operating at a sub-optimal level not only for our happiness and our wellbeing but I mean in every aspect of our lives is because we haven’t trained ourselves to ask ourselves the right questions. So right now, I just want to talk about five instances where you can strategically use questions to get the most out of every minute of your life and even if that just means — I mean I don’t want this to be like ‘turn your life into a question fest’ because that doesn’t sound fun at all.
But there are just so many ways that we can strategically just use the power of questions, have this tool kit of asking ourselves the right questions and building in a regiment so that we actually do it that’s going to enhance our lives. So, let’s dive into the meat here and talk about these particular instances where we can really enhance our lives with questions. And I thought a good way to start is with my daily practice and this is just something that I do in the morning and I use what’s called a Duo Journal. So you might do a personal journal yourself, I used to do one and I actually use this tool called “Let’s duo” You can find it at Letsduo dot com in the show notes.
But basically, what it is, is a journal with someone else on the other side. So they read everything that I write, I read what they write and it’s not only a way to stay accountable to the practice of journaling but it’s also just an incredible way to get a picture of what’s going on in someone else’s life, realize that you are not alone and a lot of the crazy feelings that we feel. And also just keep a pulse and build a relationship with somebody that you might want to get closer with. So I do it along with my buddies, Zach Obront; my roommates all do it with somebody else. It’s an amazing tool and in order to bring direction to the journaling every single day, I ask myself a series of questions to prompt both happy feelings and kind of set the agenda for the day.
So the first question is, ‘how do I feel?’ It’s basically just riffing what I feel and what I noticed here is that — so a lot of people would just say ‘good’, ‘bad’, whatever. There’s this thing called Transformational Vocabulary and this is again, a Tony Robbins tool that I learnt from him so you got to give [Inaudible 0:05:12] but basically however we say we feel, is what our reality becomes. So, if I say that I am feeling tired, I’m going to sit there and focus on being tired. Every single day, the words that I use in this journal, even though I may not be feeling my best at that moment is that I feel okay but I’m excited because I know this is going to be a phenomenal day and I’m about to jump into an incredibly inspiring state or I feel awesome, I feel excited.
And when you start typing that and you answer that question yourself, you start to manifest that state. And I know this might sound crazy but I guess the takeaway here is that whatever or however you say you feel is typically the direction that you tend to move towards in terms of the actual feeling. So it’s super-important to be mindful of that when you answer this question. Next question, what am I grateful for? There’s countless studies of basically doing grateful exercises every single day contributing to our happiness because our happiness is really determined by our perception, right?
You could have the most awesome life in the world but if you’re constantly thinking about what you don’t have, then it’s going to be really hard for you to be happy and content. However, if you start off your day by recalling specific actions and forcing yourself using this question to recall specific things that you are grateful for, that’s going to change your perception in a more empowering way. And along the same lines, the next question I asked is ‘what made yesterday great?’ Again, building this positive perception of how awesome life is and feeling good. Next question; ‘what did I learn?’ I really like this question because a lot of times, we basically learn something new or awesome and because we have only had the recall or the reference of that experience once, it’s not hammered into our brain.
And for me, this forces me to think about my day yesterday, think about all the things that I did, think about the one key takeaway or new learning that I had and this could also be something about ourselves. It’s not like we have to like go through books everyday and like find new knowledge, can be — I learnt that I suck at going to the gym at night and I don’t have as good a workout or I really need to keep my patience when my roommates steal my food or whatever it is. So I mean, this is just a really good way to be mindful and to really kind of drive home those learning from yesterday by doing it daily. This is again, another way to kind of build recall for how you might be able to improve today by looking at yesterday.
It’s a great question and then following that, ‘what can I do to make today great?’ So these are all questions that really start to anchor you as you start your day. They make you feel good, they make you think about yesterday and they start to set the stage for today which I find, brings a lot of intention and purpose to every single day which is an awesome way to start your day versus jumping out of bed, running into the shower, you’re flying by the seat of your pants, trying to get out of the office, or trying to get to your office, you’re eating cereal as you walk out of the door. I mean, that is just not a way to start your day or being shot out of a cannon or at least an air-tight cannon versus a messy one.
So these are the daily practices and at night, I do the same things with a different Letsduo Journal buddy and it’s a reflection on my day and the questions that I ask — I’m just going to run through these and we could talk about any specific one that I think is worth mentioning but ‘what have I given today?’, ‘what did I learn today?’, ‘how has today added to the quality of my life?’ or ‘how can I used today as an investment for my future?’ ‘how did I use my unique ability today?’, ‘how did I manage my thoughts today?’ So most of these are pretty straight forward, I really like the first one, ‘what have I given today?’ because I find that one of the biggest things for happiness is focusing on others instead of ourselves, so thinking about just every single day me knowing that I am going to have to answer a question of ‘what have I given today?’, ‘what have I contributed to others today?’ and being mindful of that constantly is super-important and powerful and actually affects the actions during the day.
And knowing that I am going to answer this question, I find myself seeking out opportunities to be helpful to others and it can be something as simple as — I stopped what I was doing when I saw my roommates struggling with something that I knew how to do and I went over and helped them with that. I didn’t have to do that but I decided to dedicate my time and energy for a little bit with I saw an instance to help. And I think like a big thing that I want to mention here is that in terms of this daily practice, this was not a like a list of questions that someone gave me and I was like ‘okay, cool, I’m going to answer these for the rest of my life and that’s going to [Inaudible 0:10:29].
These have changed and shifted according to what’s important to me. Like for example when I started coaching and experimenting with that, every single day I asked myself in the morning, ‘what did I learn yesterday as a coach?’ That was a big thing for me and today, I mean, now I have these two things here that I didn’t have a couple of months ago which was ‘how did I use my unique ability today?’ And I have kind of gotten hooked on this whole notion that basically like I am best off in terms of happiness, effectiveness, of continuing my growth and doubling down on my natural strengths if I just focus on the things that I am good at or want to be good at versus every single thing I do.
So, I constantly keeping myself accountable to that desire by asking myself every single day if I’m using my unique abilities, if I’m using the things that I think I have a gift for that provide me energy, that provide the most value to others and I never want to stop at improving and that’s how I define unique ability which is a concept from Dan Sullivan. The other question in there that I had in there is ‘how did I manage my thoughts today?’ because another big focus has been a lot of the mental training that I have been doing, to basically ‘thought redirection’ and ‘focus redirection’ throughout the day.
And what that comes down to is essentially identifying instances where if you’re about to have a negative thought come into your brain or you’re about to focus on something that is going to put you in a less than ideal state. So an example would be when one of my roommates — I keep bringing in my roommates, I love you guys, I promise — one of my roommates or one of your co-workers does something that annoys you, you can sit there and you can focus on that thought or you can identify immediately that the onset of a negative emotion is about to come to you and then you can replace that thought or focus with something else. The same exact thing can happen if you are about encounter something that is going to scare you.
So, let’s say that you’re about to send a cold email to somebody that you didn’t know or you’re about to break to somebody that you can’t work with them or you’re about to — you see a pretty girl that you want to talk to or a handsome man for anybody out there — if that’s what they are interested in, and you want to talk to them and you get afraid and you don’t do anything. The most powerful thing that you can do is basically replace that thing that you are focusing on that thought with something else that is more empowering and for me, I’m really trying to master this stuff which is why every single day, I’m constantly checking with myself, how did I manage my thoughts today?
Was I doing a good job with my mental redirection throughout every single day and I’ll be candid, if I wasn’t asking myself these questions, I’m not going to get better at using my unique ability in managing my thoughts but this little checking every single day is incredibly powerful for that. So what you want to do is, think about your life, think about your priorities, what are you trying to get good at? What do you want to focus on? What skills you want to build and then if you have a daily practice like this at the end of every single day, what questions can I ask myself to keep myself accountable to my skill acquisition, my finances, my dream life or whatever it is. But that’s the high-level principle we have here.
So, let’s continue to move on to another set of questions and actually one thing that I want to talk about real quick is just an idea around this daily practice stuff because — by the way, I think this is one of the best things that you can do in your life for every area in terms of being more successful, being happier, being more thoughtful person, being a better friend, I mean literally everything. It all starts with this practice for me in terms of improving stuff and if you want to do this, if you want the results, you need to assign a high importance to this. And you need to create an environment where you actually do it and this is why I do my daily practice as soon as I get up in the morning.
Nobody is asking me to get drinks, nobody is trying to have me go to dinner with them, nobody is emailing me and all these things. First thing in the morning, no one is going to interrupt you performing this exercise, but yourself. So it’s all on you if you do it early in the morning and the same thing at night; it might be a little bit tough or you might have more distraction there but even if you do it or say, ‘at the end of my workday, before I leave the office, before I close my laptop or whatever it is, I’m going to answer these questions and I’m going to anchor the performance of this exercise at the end of my day’, you’re going to be more likely to do it.
And for me, when I wake up in the morning, I’m just like everybody else. I want to look at my email, I want to look at all these little things that give me a sense of tangible progress like when you send an email, you’re like ‘one down, that little number in my inbox is a little bit lower’ or you open up your Facebook and you got like five likes on something and you’re like ‘ooh!’ that stuff is all great but I know, because I’ve assigned importance to this exercise that the long tale value of my life is going to be far more enhanced by doing this exercise, holding off on all of the emails and all the things that are going to give me that sense of progress. I mean this is just far more important.
But it didn’t always feel that way and I had to really drill into my head that there is an insane value in this activity and that’s why I need to do the activity everyday and eventually you build a habit and what happens is you naturally gravitate towards doing this exercise than not doing it and that’s where you want to be. Okay, cool, now I’m going off that soapbox. Now let’s talk about some more instances where you can ask yourself questions and the specific questions that you can ask yourself. So before every meeting or call, there is an excellent series of questions here that I like to ask myself and probably the most important one is, ‘what is the best possible outcome of this meeting?’
When I first started off doing business, I was just super-stoked, basically like get coffee or get on a call with anybody, like just chat about entrepreneurship, people are doing stuff. And that’s awesome but the challenge is that I didn’t have any direction for a specific outcome and I wasn’t able to then, take the conversation in the direction that I wanted to get anything that I wanted to achieve. So this could be, you’re getting on a call with a potential client to sell them, you’re getting on a call with somebody that you’d like to mentor, you just need to bring direction into these conversations to achieve your ideal outcome. And the best way to do that is to ask yourself before you get in this situation, ‘what is the best possible outcome of this meeting?’
Additionally, what this forces you to do is it makes sure that you don’t get overly aggressive. So for example, when I would get on the first call with a big, potential partner when I was doing biz-dev at my last company, a lot of people might just hop on the call and be like ‘yeah, okay, cool, I’m going to ask a bunch of questions and at the end of it, it’s going to be like “so, what do you think?”‘ For me, the best possible outcome of the meeting is for me to first identify whether this person is the decision-maker at their company and then if not, figure out exactly who that person is and schedule another call with them and the whole time on the call, that’s all that I was thinking about.
I mean, obviously conveying value and all that good stuff, but if I didn’t get the answer to that question, I was dead in the water for progressing this conversation to the next step or I’d have a big headache because I’ll continue to pitch somebody who ultimately wasn’t the person that was going to get the deal where I wanted it to be. So, that’s a simple question, ‘what is the best possible outcome of the meeting?’ Completely changed the dynamics of how I approached conversation with somebody that can potentially vastly grow business. So this question is super-important. Another instance where you can ask yourself a question and I guess we can keep along with this whole ‘pitch’ theme is, immediately after anything performance-based.
So after a pitch, I do this every single time after my podcast, I just ask the question, how could I have improved? And one of my buddies was asking me, ‘dude, I have been listening to your podcasts and they have been getting better, like what have you been doing?’ I was like, ‘I’ve been doing it more’ but the main thing is, immediately after a podcast, I have this document, it’s called my post-podcast checklist and it has every single thing that I do to basically turn a recording into a fully mixed, published episode with a ton of notes, blog posts — I mean just the entire framework that I use.
And one of the things on there is like second or the third step of 35 is ‘how could I have improved?’ and on the second column is the link to every single episode, a note to how I could have improved. And what I do is that I just write that out, write that specific thing; it could be like, ‘I didn’t ask enough questions’ or ‘I agreed with the guest too much instead of being inquisitive’ or ‘I was taking the stance as a student instead of as the host of the show trying to get the most out of the guest’. Whatever it is, but I have that list and I write that down, not only is it hammered down in my head for next time but before every single episode, I read through all those notes.
And I have all of these instances in little checks to remind myself that okay, ‘don’t say “um”‘ ‘write out that question fully that you’re going to ask at the end’; all the little mistakes that I have done before so I’m almost safeguarding or at least giving myself a better chance to not make those mistakes next time. And this is just an excellent thing that you can do after anything performance-based. So, the sales pitch, the meeting with your boss, the cold-call, cold email, the conversation about something with a loved one that is tough. I mean there’s so many things — I guess, that is not really performance-based, sorry that was kind of weird.
There are so many instances where we are looking to improve and the number one thing we can do is do a proper postmortem that we reflect on over and over and over again so we don’t make those same mistakes again. So I thought maybe I could be — I mentioned that this is my last day in Brazil and this period for me has been a very interesting one and I think that one of the best opportunities for us to ask ourselves questions is during a phase-change or during a season of life. And the important reason to do that is A- to learn and to reflect on the experience so that you can properly set the intention for whatever is next. If you don’t solidify those learnings about yourself or about the situations, it’s going to be even more difficult to get the most out of the next experience and all the experiences of your life after that.
So, today, I went to the beach in Rio, that’s where I live and I wrote down a bunch of questions that I thought would guide me in a direction that would allow me to properly set the intention for the next phase of my life. And I did this with a pen and paper because I wanted to have full engagement instead of with my cell-phone with 30 zillion little things going off all the time. So, first question, ‘what did I like about this experience?’ Some things that I wrote down, ‘being close to the beach’, ‘time freedom’, ‘travelling to new countries’ and a bunch of other stuff that I’ll spare you. What did I not like about this experience? The initial language barrier, the initial friction of understanding a culture, paying to go out; I mean there’s a bunch of stuff here but it’s really good to reflect on this.
What did I wish I had done differently? What positive changes have I made? What changes do I hope to make? What did I learn about myself? What did I learn about the people in my life, in this experience? I mean, I spent like two hours on this and the last one is ‘how will my life be different because of this experience?’ which is a question we can talk about in a second here. But I mean all of these things, the hour-and-a-half that I spent writing these out, it was amazing because now I am able to come in with a game plan for the next phase and one that builds upon this experience instead of haphazardly showing up and hoping that designing my ideal life is going to happen.
So for example, a very specific thing that I’m going to do and I’m going to do this as soon as I get back to the States is, look at all these things, look at all the things that I didn’t like in my life and that basically zapped energy out of my life and seeing how I can guard myself from those. So for example, I didn’t like the fact that it was very hard to productive while working from home because a lot of people that I lived with wouldn’t be working while I was working. And they would be like ‘hey, let’s go to the beach’, and I’m like, dude, I’m trying to get stuff done and so the simple answer to that is the next place I go, I have a co-working space. There’s just a ton of different things here that I’ll change and that I’ll have a better understanding of how to design the next phase so that I don’t incur these less than ideal states again.
And I wouldn’t maybe necessarily have the framework to do that if I didn’t start off by answering these questions. Now, I mentioned a question right before — right at the end of that, I totally forgot that I was even going to bring this up but I think it’s really powerful, I could tell a little story here and that’s — the question is, ‘how will my life be different after this experience?’ So the whole reason that this question really got on my radar, was at the end of the last year, I was on a couple of national and international TV shows. Long story short, I decided to give up lying, I wrote about it and this blog post that I wrote about why I completely cut lying out of my life, even the little baby ones like ‘why aren’t you going to be at the movies on Friday?’ whatever it is, and it went viral.
A couple of TV shows reached out and I ended up being on the largest morning program in Australia, I think it was called Sunrise Australia and also on a Fusion TV morning show which is like an ABC news channel or something. And my roommates after that asked me like ‘dude, this is awesome, you’ve been on two TV shows, you have a real film, so how’s your life going to be different after this?’ And I never really asked myself that question before and what I realized is that after every single time something amazing happens, in order to really squeeze as much value out of the situation as possible and to direct your focus so that you do the things that allow you to derive the most value out of every situation, ask yourself after every type of landmark or cool activity happens, ‘how will my life be different after this?’
So in this particular case, I took this real — and I went out to a bunch of different big blogs like 4-Hour Work Week, and decided to offer up a post of how to get international media coverage. Of the blogs that reached back to me, nobody really did but I would have never taken this action if I didn’t ask myself this question. And another example of this is I just went down and was hanging out with a bunch of guys in Tennessee and I met all these awesome entrepreneurs down here, all these cool things that I didn’t even know were existing at this really cool venture incubator called the Lamp Post Group.
And before I went down there and had a good time, met cool people and tried to stay in touch when I could; but when I asked myself a question like how is my life going to be different after this, all of a sudden, the types of possibilities and things coming to my mind that set intention for me to do things like do a better job at maintaining relationships with really cool people I went down there, make sure that I help them, think about all the different opportunities — it’s just an amazing question to ask yourself so that every single time in your life something happens that you make sure you set intention to derive as much value out of it as possible and to give as much value.
I think a lot of times we go through, we just let these experiences happen and we never really set time to reflect and just making sure to — just having this question on the top of my mind, ‘like how will my life be different after this?’ is just a super-powerful way to make sure that you take actions afterwards that might inspire cool, new opportunities and ideas and for you to take action on things you might not have even thought of it before. Okay, so that’s a little bit of a phase, after a season of life some intention setting; right now I want to talk about just this practice that I do, it’s called a bi-weekly review and basically, every other week, I take about three hours out of a Friday and just do this review where I ask myself a massive amount of questions that set my thinking in the right place and then hopefully it’ll align actions and redirect my path to the place that is going to put me the most happiest in life and make sure that I am spending my time doing the things that I want.
So, I figured I would just read through some of the questions here, all of these questions, you can download them at life-longlearner dot com, there’s a search bar there, just type in ‘Questions’ and you’ll see the blog-post where you can download stuff; but I’m just going through a couple like — they’ll spare you like the 40 zillion question fests that I go through. But the idea here is — I know it might sound ridiculous to sit down and take three hours to answer a bunch of questions that you created, but tell you what, if one of those questions can change your life; for example, this podcast came from one of those questions, my intention to start it, I think that’s like a little more important than getting through your email three hours sooner than you would have on a Friday or whatever it is that you are doing.
So, if you are going to do this, you have to assign a high value to the process and you have to give yourself time to actually do it and not be just like a thing like yeah, I’m going to do it and then you never do it. So I guess just for me like I didn’t really start actually doing this whole personal review on a bi-weekly basis until I really saw the value in it and I saw the value when I started making big changes in my life which were far more important than just doing the same tasks that make us feel progressed that really are actually like moving the needle on allowing us to think strategically about our life.
Okay, so, I have a bunch of questions here but I’m just going to go through some general life questions that I ask. If I had this week, every day of the year, would I be where I want to be? What are my biggest priorities right now? What is holding me back from mastering these and how can I change that? If I had a hundred million dollars, what would I do more of right now that I am not doing? If I could be the best at anything in five years, what would that be? So these questions, I mean each one can impact in a ton of different ways but I think the one that I wanted to talk about right now is like my buddy Justin Meyers, who is the man, definitely check him out, just send an email out and basically he said something like one of these questions that it leads to is that we can really do anything that we want in life.
Like I can’t be a 6-10 NBA player but anything where I can use my mind or even like being an artist, like everything in my opinion is a skill and we can be the best at it if we just dedicate the time and take the right steps to become that. So, I think this question of constantly asking yourself and this is like a big thinking, dream-big question, ‘if I can be the best at anything in five years what would that be?’ and then going and chasing that, is this like such a valuable thing to do because, if you spend five years dedicating your life to becoming the best at something, odds are, you’re going to be like top five percent, probably top one percent or maybe even the best. So, a lot of times, these things seem so out of reach because we never really set the intention and have the belief that we can do anything that we want.
I was talking to my buddy, Dillon, another guy who I lived with in Brazil and this is the guy who sold his company to Google and doesn’t have to worry about money for the next 50 years or whatever it is. And we were just like, dude you could become a world-class concert pianist if you want to. Like one of his friends, who was the co-founder of his company, like wants to become a world-class DJ, like all of these things are within reach but in order to become that person, you have to constantly ask yourself this question and then make sure you’re questioning in the appropriate way. Because if you never ask yourself what do I want to be the absolute best at, you never really go down that path.
For myself, I guess most people are like, what the heck do you want to be the best at Scott? Honestly I’m not sure but I do know this like I know that what I love more than anything is inspiring and entertaining people and I think that within the context of doing that and being able to provide jobs, provide an amazing place where people can work some day is actually like something that I am really excited about right now. If I can create the best place to work in the world and inspire the most amount of people possible all at the same time, that to me sounds like just paradise.
So, I’m trying to think about how do I become the best leader, the most inspirational person that can get the most out of people and part of this podcast is in alignment with that but there’s probably a lot of other things right now that I need to be doing to become that person in five years. Anyways, so good questions, ask yourself so that you are constantly just self-aware of what you are doing and where your life is going. Another thing I do is that questions, I review a code of conduct, a list of adjectives that I want to be in alignment with and this basically just makes sure that you are being the person that you want to be in all areas of your life. So specific things that I have identified as my identity who I want to be; I’m a person who has an abundant mindset, I have the beliefs that will empower me to be the person that I want to be, I always work smart, I’m persistent, I never stop going for what I want, I take the most direct path for what I want instead of the path that is most safe or protects my ego. I hunt my fear and I’m always present.
So these are like particular adjectives that right now I’m like I really want to work on these, these are who I am, I want to be mindful of these. Now I review the past two weeks and I be like okay, did I have an abundant mindset or did I get super-salty when my roommate stole my milk? Did I hunt directly for what I wanted or was I kind of like going about things in a roundabout way because I wanted to play it safe versus potentially exposing myself to some serious embarrassment or failure or whatever it is? Because right now, like going directly for what I want is a big part of who I am and who I want to be. So just like — first you have to say your code of conduct but you just review these things, you can also do these on a daily basis.
Ask yourself if you have embodied these things and look at your actions in the past time and that way you’ll at least be able to make changes and move more towards these things or remove things that prevent you from embodying these things if you haven’t already. Okay, let’s go through some business questions because I don’t want to bore people too much with all these questions about other things because I know a lot of people are on their way to work right now and they want to be inspired with business. So I’m going to go through these questions and — What things do I enjoy the most? What things do I enjoy the least? What did I not enjoy that can be outsourced or delegated?
So these questions are just basically how you start operating in a more effective way and getting into the outsourcing thing — in order to outsource, you first have to have a mental inventory of what you are doing and what you are not — what you are doing that you shouldn’t be doing and in my mind, like the framework is, I only want to do things that I enjoy or I’m the only person that can do and there are like top five percent of the things that I need to do for my business or life. Everything else, if I don’t enjoy it, it’s not like a top five percent thing, somebody else can do it; I can pay somebody else to do it and if I can’t afford it, I will make more money doing the things that I like and pay somebody else to do it. What test can I run this week?
So this is kind of a marketer mindset thing, I’m trying to become a better or a more analytical marketer and the only way that I can do that is to build the muscle of seeing a value by just testing stuff. So again, these are kind of marketer-centric but how can I turn one email subscriber into three? So, what types of actions and things can I do on my website and my email list after somebody signs up, after I publish something to turn one person into three. If I could do just two things right now for my business, what would they be? I think so many people are obsessed with productivity and I was for a while and then I realized that actually, you can be the most productive, efficient person in the world but if you are not focused on the right things then you are just spinning your wheels.
And actually the people that generate the most output in their lives are the best prioritizers. So, really what you want to master is not like all these tips and tricks to make you more efficient and operate at a faster level, what you really want to do is become a master of prioritizing which is really the basis of this whole document and practice. But I think often just like picking two things that you should double down on in going 100% on them is going to be more effective on just doing a more crappy half-assed job on a zillion things.
This is something that I need to work on and everybody needs to work on this, I know very few people — if you are feeling bad right now, look, there’s a zillion things that I shouldn’t be doing that I do and there’s probably a lot of other people that are online that — who you think have it all figured out and I’m not saying that you think that about me but there’s probably — I know for example, when I was talking to Noah Kagan on the podcast, episode two, I was like ‘yeah dude, I suck at prioritizing’ and I think he might have said something like that’s like everybody’s problem. That’s a challenge that never goes away; everybody has it, so just chill out. And that is really good to hear but I think asking yourself this question, ‘if I could just pick two things right now for my business, what would they be?’ it’s like a really good way to kind of get in this prioritizing mindset.
This last one is kind of a cool one, ‘if I had a gun to my head and I had to make 100K this month, what would I do?’ So, I just like this one because it’s like I need to focus on revenue and a lot of times it’s really easy to just focus on other stuff that either makes us feel good or has vanity metrics or whatever it is and a lot of times we just don’t go after it like the most direct path to revenue or making more money and we don’t take advantage of low-hanging fruit and this question — every time I read this, I’m like ‘oh my gosh, duh, I should be doing more coaching’ or ‘duh, I should be trying to do like Facebook ads to one of my development courses because the conversion rate is awesome’.
This is aligns my thinking where it needs to be — and it’s a good question to ask yourself. Okay, let’s talk about some 10X thinking questions and these are ones are really good to do and in your weekly review, but they are also just — it’s good to have in your pocket because a lot of times we just get stuck into the [Inaudible 0:43:04] of doing the same thing over and over again and we don’t think big and we just think about what’s the next thing is. And I think that’s like a really good way to think in a lot of ways so you don’t get overwhelmed but at some point, you have to seize big opportunities to chase audacious things, like you have to have your mind in that place.
So, here’s some 10X thinking questions; what does my ideal life look like if no boundaries existed? What could I do to get there and why am I not doing that now? So you can take this question and I do a lot of visualization exercises with this every single morning. You can take this question and basically segment it out in all the areas of your life, health; I like to do health-wealth-relationship and business. So what does your ideal life look like in your business? Is it — for me, that’s only focusing on the things that I want to, being able to generate as much money that I want to live a life that I love and being able to be around people and only work with people that make me happy.
That’s my ideal life and you can paint that a million different ways but you have to first paint that vision and ask yourself that question and then follow up. Like I’m not there, how do I get there? Do I need to remove certain people from my life? Do I need to remove me from certain activities that I shouldn’t be doing? Why am I not doing that? Is it because I’m scared? Is it because I actually need to make a little more money to hire somebody and maybe that’ll compel me to work a little bit harder to refocus on important things so I can delegate that task, whatever it is. Another 10X question, if I could guarantee success, what would be my next move or big focus? I hate to say it but usually the reason we don’t do the things that we should do is because we’re scared so the reason you don’t start a podcast is because you’re afraid that it’s not going to go well.
The reason that you don’t talk to that person that you are extremely attracted to that you just walked by that could be the partner of your dreams for your life is because you’re scared. Whatever it is, imagine if all of these things, anything in your life if you could guarantee success, if you thought that, you could do that, what would you do? This is kind of along the lines of just the mindset like you can be the best at anything in five years, what would it be? What aren’t you doing it now? It’s the same exact thing, think bigger, remove these boundaries that prevent you from going after big, audacious things because — I don’t know, in my life it just seems like you’ll find a way to level up once you get into the thick of it.
You will adapt and figure stuff out that seemed like you couldn’t figure it out if you tried to think of it all at once. But you have to go after it first and to do that, you have to have this mindset. This is kind of honestly a little bit of the thought process around this podcast, it’s like man, what I want to do is like bigger than writing blog posts and tweaking email funnels and stuff and doing this whole content creation business while I live abroad and travel the world. And creating like the best, most actionable entertaining audio show to me was like duh, if I knew how to do that, that’s what I’m going to do and I don’t know if — I think I probably would have thought about like well, I’ve never recorded before, how do I get guests, like, all these little things.
So anyways, this question can arm you to think bigger. I don’t know if this is really a 10X question or just kind of like a thinking idea, but I really like this whole idea of kind of like working backwards and reverse engineering where you want to go. So, pick the number one person whose life you want or who you admire or who has done something in your industry and then essentially work backwards about what they did and how they did it to see how you could do it and figure out what the next step is. I don’t think this is incredibly novel information but it’s just a good exercise to do so if I picked for example, Tim Ferriss, how did this guy become such an interesting thought leader that has inspired so many people to start businesses so that their dream life is to seek an entrepreneurship path that made them happier?
And it’s like okay, he wrote a break-out book, and okay, it’s like why was that book a break-out? Well, the concept was great and it was marketed extremely well. Okay, so what made the content great and why was it marketed so well? And you just continue to ask yourself like why? And then you can come up with like a very codified game plan that you can put in action and you can see what the next step is. So you can just — for 10X thinking like whoever you want, whoever like seems out of reach or who you wanted to achieve, just work backwards from what they did to get there and ask yourself ‘why’ at each one of those junctures and then hopefully, you’ll have a blueprint that you can go out and execute.
So, hopefully this has been an interesting episode about how something as simple as questions can change your life. I mean again, every single thing that we do and we think about comes from the questions that we ask ourselves, so we have to become really good at being intentional about asking ourselves the right questions, knowing what those right questions are and doing it on a consistent basis. And to get really good at anything, you have to build capacity and to build a capacity, to ask yourself the right questions, you just need to continue to do it. You need to continue it on a regular basis and then you need to continue to build upon that practice.
It’s just like going to the gym, like the first time I go the gym — I love doing squats now and I love lifting hard until I can’t lift anymore. But when I first did it, that feeling probably felt terrible and I probably didn’t really enjoy the fact that I was failing under a bench-press or a squat or whatever it is. But I learnt to love that process; because I continue to do it a lot, I saw the value and I conditioned myself to realize that there is value in there which allowed me to do it over and over again. So in each one of these instances that we talked about, just throughout your life, just the way that you are going to be able to implement this stuff and really start to engage in like some sophisticated mental training and ways of thinking is to just start doing it and start doing it on a regular basis and condition yourself to — after every season of life, go through a review process.
Do a bi-weekly review, ask yourself questions before you get started on something that is going to empower you. That’s the only way to really like make this practice habitual. So anyways, I hope that you have enjoyed this, I think that this practice has just been so powerful for me, I hope that you all decide that if you want to start to be more thoughtful about your life, about your business, about all the things that are important to us, start thinking about how we can use questions strategically to accomplish that. If you want to access all of these questions that I asked myself, every single question that we talked about today, head on over to life-longlearner dot com, you will find a blog post which you can find in the search or on the front pages of the website that has a place that you can download every single question that we talked about and mentioned this episode.
And you can use those in your own life to improve it. So, head on over and check that out if it’s interesting; thank you so much for your time today, it’s been really meaningful to me, I hope you have an excellent day and go out there and use one or two of these questions. It’s going to empower you and propel you forward. Take care, see you on the next episode of The Competitive Edge.
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