Researchers have shown that it if you want to do something it is better to
ask yourself questions rather than to tell yourself things.
Ask, don’t tell
by Brooke Allen
If you want to exercise today then it is not a good idea to get up in the morning and say, “I will exercise today.” This tells your unconscious that the issue is settled so there is nothing to do. Of course, as you go to bed you might say, “Gee… I forgot all about exercising.”
Instead, ask yourself, “Will I exercise today?” This question can only be answered in the affirmative by actually exercising, and this makes it much more likely that you will actually exercise.
I have used this in the design of the 54 questions to ask yourself that I’ve printed on a deck of playing cards. You can use these to design a personal philosophy of life, and you can find them at LensGame.com.
I call my questions “lenses” and they are in the form: “Because X, ask yourself: Y.”
The Lens of the Boss: Because it is important to know who will bear ultimate responsibility for your life, ask yourself: Who is the boss of me?
The Lens of Needs: Because we survive and thrive by meeting each other’s needs, ask yourself: What do I need? What is needed of me?
The Lens of Followership: Because followers have responsibility too, ask yourself: Have I chosen my leaders wisely? Am I blaming my leaders for things that could be my responsibility instead?
Help us make work more fun
Following on the success of The Lens Game, I’ve begun working on “Work as Fun” ― a series of questions to ask yourself that can help you make work more fun. After all, as Mary Poppins said, “In every task that must be done there is an element of fun. Find the fun and – SNAP – the work’s a game.”
What questions do you think should be included in this project?
Remember, the form of the question is “Because X ask yourself Y” where X is an irrefutable reason for why the question is important, and Y is in the form of a “first person interrogative” – which is fancy talk for a question that you ask yourself.
Here are some examples appropriate to making work fun.
Lens of Fun: Because fun is hard to define and it encompasses much more than just pleasure, ask yourself: What does fun mean to you?
Lens of Optionality: Because it is no fun to be forced to do something, ask yourself: How can I see something that must be done as a choice I make voluntarily?
Lens of Leveling Up: Because what was once fun can become boring once you’ve mastered it, ask yourself: How can I up my game?
What do you think?
Because many brains are better than one, I ask myself: What ideas might my readers have for questions you can ask yourself?
Send me the questions you think everyone should ask themselves if they want their work to be more fun.
I am at: Brooke@BrookeAllen.com