My firstborn niece turned 25 this year. Recently, during a discussion with her about some of the most polarizing events happening in this world, she said something I think we all could learn from.
“It’s important to question whether I would have adopted a belief for myself had I not seen it on social media.”
When was the last time you questioned your beliefs?
Social media has become more like mainstream media with many people consuming content as fact, whether it is an opinion, fake news, or even satire. In many cases, it is as though we’ve turned off our ability to decipher meaning, engage in critical thinking, and reconnect with our own beliefs, attitudes, and opinions.
When you consume information and other people’s opinions without taking a moment to reflect on what you think, your mind can turn into a melting pot of beliefs, none of which are really yours.
Yet, quiet thinking time is not a practice for most, whether it’s to reflect on the state of the world, your relationships, or your business. Being left with our own thoughts can feel awkward and uncomfortable, especially given how distracted we have become by screens—notifications constantly going off and messages infiltrating our day from a variety of places.
When I find it hard to hear my own voice, I feel myself getting out of sorts. I become irritable, unfocused, and at times, overwhelmed.
When this happens, there is one thing I do that works wonders for me.
It’s easy to do. Anyone can do it, even you if you want.
Sit down in a quiet place with a notebook and a pen, set your phone on the other side of the room, and ask yourself a question about whatever topic is on your mind. Then, spend the next 15 minutes or more writing.
It doesn’t matter what it’s about, this process will help you empty your mind, connect with your thinking, and take a step forward to get the clarity you want.
It feels a bit odd at first, but if you sit with it and stick with it, your thoughts will come. The more you write down, the more will flow and then you can look at what you’ve written to organize your thinking and get more clarity.
The best questions to ask yourself are open-ended and allow for a stream of thought. Not a right, wrong, or perfect answer. You can ask yourself questions surrounding what you believe, what you would do, or what alternatives there are. Anything that gives you the ability to get it out of your head and onto paper.
When you are not acting in alignment with your own beliefs, you’re not really living your life. This practice will help you reconnect with your inner wisdom and decipher what you believe.
Our attitudes, beliefs, and values shape our behaviour. Whether it’s how you feel about the state of the world right now, or how you approach your next business strategy, it’s worth taking a moment to ensure what you’re doing is an accurate reflection of you.
Our beliefs shape our behaviour. Whether it's how you feel about the state of the world, or how you approach your next business strategy, it's worth taking a moment to ensure what you're doing is an accurate reflection of you. Click To Tweet
I’m not the only one who is a fan of asking myself questions.
You can use questions to think about more than your beliefs.
Tim Ferris published 17 questions that changed his life. You can read them here and borrow a few if you want! Here are the ones I like the most:
- What would I do/have/be if I had 10M dollars?
- What might I put in place to allow me to be off the grid for 4-8 weeks with no phone or email?
- If I could only work 2 hours a week on my business, what would I do?
- What if I could only subtract to solve problems?
- What would this look like if it was easy?
Here’s another example of how powerful questions can be… Back in 2015 I was inspired by Tim Ferris and wrote this blog. My favourite question is who or what are the 20% of people or things that cause 80% of your problems?
Do you regularly carve out time to question your beliefs? Let me know in a comment!