• Ithaka
  • Posts
  • A "Power Skill" That Never Fails

A "Power Skill" That Never Fails

A simple shift in your problem-solving process makes anything possible

In This Issue:

A “Power Skill” That Never Gets Old

This simple shift in how you pursue your goals and solve your problems will reprogram your brain until anything is possible.

Tools and Talismans

  • It’s Possible

  • Learn a Vital Question

  • Procrastination can be good for you

A “Power Skill” That Never Gets Old

I’ve heard that everyone just wants three things: More money, better health, and their personal version of love/sex/romance.

Chances are you’re already doing okay in at least one of these areas.

But there’s a very powerful tool that will help you with all three. You might already be using this tool, but you’re probably using it wrong.

Let me explain by telling you how I met my wife.

The short version:

She worked in the local library. I went there to check out a book, and when I saw her for the first time I immediately had the sense that something extraordinary was about to happen.

But the full story is a little more complicated.

You see, I was single for most of my life up to that point.

I kept thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I find someone I love? Why don’t women like me?”

And that’s the problem. When you ask yourself questions like that, significant powers in your mind go to work looking for answers.

My brain found all kinds of things that were wrong with me.

It gave me reasons why I couldn’t find someone to love.

I told me exactly why women didn’t like me, and kept seeking out new information and “proof” to back it up.

Change Your Questions

The part of your brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) actively looks for whatever you tell it is important.

Ask why you’re failing, and your RAS will give you plenty of reasons. But that doesn’t help. If anything, it reinforces the failure and discourages you from trying to make the situtation better.

But if you ask how you can succeed, something amazing happens.

You’ll start to get new ideas. You’ll look at the problem in a new light. You’ll begin to feel more confident almost immediately.

You may not like the first answer you get, but just keep asking the question. A new and better answer will come.

How to Afford a Year in Italy

I once had a dream of an extended stay, at least a year, in Italy.

I constantly asked myself, “How can I afford a year or more in Italy?”

Answering this question led to a new, higher-paying job, along with a side hustle. But it still wasn’t enough. Italy is expensive.

But somewhere along the line, I realized I could stay in Italy as long as I wanted if I had a job over there.

So I changed the question and began asking, “How can I get paid work in Italy?”

There turned out to be lots of answers. Within 10 months I had an apartment in Rome and a part-time gig teaching English. I stayed in Italy for 3 years.

A Quick Guide to Asking the Right Questions

Ask for a solution to any problem, or a route to any wish, and you will get an answer. If you don’t like the answer, keep asking and another answer will come up.

Set aside some time each day to think about your question. Keep a journal. If you go to bed at night thinking about your question, you might wake up with an answer. (This happens to me a lot!)

Here are a few important guidelines to asking good questions:

  1. Don’t ask for a reason/explanation for the current situation. This will only reinforce the problem you want to solve.

  2. Think of the highest, most open version of the question. Instead of “How can I get a higher-paying job,” ask, “How can I make more money than I do now?” This might lead to a higher paying job, but could also give you a side hustle, a bestselling novel, or a completely new career.

  3. If possible, choose things to move towards over things to avoid. Instead of, “How can I stop eating so much junk food,” ask, “How can I look and feel healthier?”

Why This Is a Power Skill

Tony Robbins, Derek Sivers, and Tim Ferriss all talk about the power of questions. All three of them are successful people with lifestyles I would like to enjoy.

Tony Robbins said, “Learning to ask empowering questions in moments of crisis is a critical skill that has pulled me through some of the toughest times in my life.”

Tim Ferriss left his stressful 80-hour workweek to travel the world (and write The 4-Hour Workweek) after asking a specific set of questions.

And me?

When I met that amazing woman at the library, it took months of asking, “How can I get a date with her” before I finally did.

But during several awkward conversations over those months, she was slowly getting a crush on me. I had no idea until I knew where to invite her and how to ask her out.

As you ask your questions and act upon the answers, magic is happening behind the scenes.

Please try this out. And if you have a minute, send me an email [email protected] to let me know how it worked out for you.


Tools and Talismans 

  • It’s Possible. My favorite Les Brown speech. If you want to do something BIG, this is a must-listen.

  • A Vital Question. I’ll be sharing one of the most important questions at the PathFinder webinar on January 18th. Register at this link (it’s free).

  • Benefits of Procrastination. Don’t put this one off. It’s all about being original, and why Firefox users have better careers