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Ask better questions – How to build personal resilience – Part 3.

In Part 1 of ‘Personal Resilience’ we found the most resilient people in the world, practice their Values daily. Whether it’s being in nature or community service, life seems more meaningful when we experience those things most important to us.

In Part 2, we found those same people Practice Optimism. That’s right…practice. Whether you believe you were ‘born’ optimistic or not, studies show you can learn to become more optimistic by practicing the skills of optimism.

So what is another way we can build personal resilience during challenging times?

The clue is in the question I just asked. Ask Better Questions. Our brains have enormous capacity to access information, solve complex challenges, or uncover possibilities to deliver whatever we ask. Problem is, it tends to take our requests literally.

 “Your wish is my command”.  Think of your brain like a trusted and loyal family dog eagerly waiting to serve you.

When I ask “Why can’t I lose weight?” it’s as if my brain says, “I’ll get that for you” and retrieves the answer to the specific question I asked; “because you eat high fat foods, you don’t exercise regularly, you don’t drink water” and so on.

Instead of helping me find a solution, my question collected data to support why I “can’t have what I want”.  If we ask a ‘limiting’ question, we get a limiting answer.

Most people don’t ‘really’ want an answer to these limiting questions and we’re often not even aware that we’re asking them. 

  Here is an example of some common, limiting questions, and the same question framed more positively.

Limiting Question 🙁  Resourceful Question 🙂
How come I never lose any weight?  How can I lose weight, and enjoy it?
Why am I ALWAYS late!? What is one thing I CAN do to be on time?
Why can’t I save money? What is one way I can save money?
How will I ever get all of this done? What would be a good first step? Or

Who could I ask for help?

 Now Try this! … think of a ‘limiting’ question you might ask yourself, then reframe it:   

Example of a limiting question you might ask yourself sometimes:


Now try reframing it – and ask for what you DO want


Steps to Asking Better Questions:

1/ Be aware of the questions you ask yourself

  1. When you can’t find your car keys, do you think ‘Why do I always forget my keys?’

2/ Interrupt and correct yourself!

  1. “That’s not true”, I don’t always forget my car keys!

3/ Think about what you do want

  1. Well, I want to remember my car keys (duh)

4/ Reframe the question to ‘ask for what you do want’

  1. What’s a way for me to remember my car keys, consistently and easily?

5/ Practice – keep practicing until it becomes a habit. 

This is not about putting a positive ‘spin’ over top of a problem – it’s setting your brain up to find the solutions you ‘really’ want, instead of what you don’t want.

If you’re having trouble ‘reframing’ a particularly challenging limiting question into a more resourceful one, email me at , and I’d be happy to help – it only takes a minute.   

Want to learn more about building personal resilience for yourself?  Or in your organization?  

Give us a call at 604 324-5900, visit us at , or email me at    


1 Comment

  • note: the link for part 3 on this page actually takes you to the Part 2 article not part 3…thought you’d want to know:-)

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