“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
When faced with misfortune, most people are quick to lash out at others. Yet, high achievers know that it’s not laying blame that leads to success—it’s proudly taking ownership of every aspect of your life.
These 10 questions will empower you to rise in almost any situation, allowing you to reset your energy, prepare actionable plans, and advance with stronger resilience than ever before.
1. What’s the gift in this?
Understanding this has been one of the most profound turning points in my life. Incredible stories of Janine Shepherd and Jim Stovall prove that there’s a gift in every adversity … you just have to find it. While a challenging skill to master in the moment, dig deep and you’ll find a little comfort in even the most difficult hardship. Mastery of resilience is the foundation of the growth mindset and what keeps high performers focused when others give up.
2. What am I grateful for?
Numerous studies, including this one from UC Berkeley, have shown that people who use a regular gratitude practice are happier. When you’re focused on positive energy, it shifts your focus from resentment and envy to abundance, improving everything from personal relationships to career success. If you’re new to gratitude, grab a copy of The 5 Minute Journal—it’s what I use personally and is truly lifechanging. Also, schedule a weekly calendar reminder to send good vibes—whether a message, phone call or email—to someone whose efforts and support you appreciate.
3. What do I truly want?
If you’re working a job you hate, or spending too much time helping someone else achieve their goals, perhaps it’s time you restored balance into the equation and thought about what you wanted. Readers of Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy might recall the greatest turning point in Sandy Gallagher’s career was when she realized her entire life had been about making someone else—her father—happy. As she transitioned toward forging her own path, Sandy found that she was not only happier and more fulfilled in her new career, she was able to positively impact far more people, too.
4. Why am I doing this?
As Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” When you’re clear on why you do what you do, whether an individual or a company, it allows you to persist through adversity, attract a tribe of people excited in your mission, and remain constantly alert for resources that will help you on your journey—the ultimate pathway to finding your how.
5. What am I willing to sacrifice each day?
In a world of instant gratification, buck the trend of demanding it now and, instead, proudly put in the work. This is a fundamental step emphasized repeatedly in Think and Grow Rich and the process of autosuggestion. With your most important goals, write down the specific actions you’ll take—the price you’re willing to pay—to make them a reality. You’ll find that the level of success you achieve is in direct proportion to the consistent effort you take.
6. What three biggest distractors can I eliminate?
Audit your time each day for one week so you can easily pinpoint where you’re knocked off course. (Even simple things such as deleting time-wasting apps, switching your phone to airplane mode for regular blocks, and removing clutter, can all make a massive difference to your daily productivity.) Next, look around your living and working environments. If they don’t motivate you to go the extra mile each day, make some changes. In my office, I have a huge print that says “ACTION: The difference between having and wanting” reminding me of the importance of sustained effort. Surround yourself with inspiration.
7. Who am I spending the most time with?
Your energy source is the most important part of your life and should be insulated from sabotage at all costs. Surround yourself with people who think positive, dream big, and align with your values—those demonstrated in the top-right corner of the Friendship-Success Quadrant (below). You’ll find your energy levels increase tenfold as a result. This is the power of the mastermind and the one attribute that has made the most significant difference in my own life. Once you’ve found the right people, use this to turbocharge your success.
8. What mental health practices have I got scheduled?
Paradoxically, we often reserve our love and kindness for others, and then engage in negative self-talk when we’re alone—it’s certainly a weakness of mine. Rob Dyrdek introduced me to Dr George Pratt, the clinical psychologist and hypnotherapist who Rob credits as changing his life. George helped me to be more aware of negative self-talk and gave me some exercises that I now have scheduled in my calendar every week to keep focused, relaxed and happy. Here’s a short one you can try. Don’t just make time for your mental health, schedule it.
9. What would it look like if it were easy?
As part of human nature, and only enhanced in the digital age, we often massively overthink and overcomplicate situations. Sometimes, taking a step back and giving ourselves a mental reset to ponder “What would this look like if it were easy?” can be the quickest way to an acceptable solution, saving valuable time and energy in the process.
10. In December 2019, reflecting on the year just gone, what 3-5 things happened that made me the happiest?
The end of the calendar year is a good reference point for how your life is progressing. If you’re unable to answer this question quickly, fill out the Success Plan (template). Feel the emotions of having already attained those 3-5 things, then make sure you’ve got a detailed plan—with regular action items scheduled—built into your weekly calendar so imagination becomes reality. High performers all have systems to optimize their success.
Through a calm demeanor and an inquisitive mind, the best way forward is always revealed. Remember, you are the only problem you will ever have and YOU are the only solution.
Take actions today that your future self will thank you for. After all, the right question could save your life.
Onwards and upwards always,
In case you missed it: ‘The One Number that Doesn’t Matter’