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5 better questions

March 25, 2013

Imagine spending years trying to discover the answer to the wrong question.

Disclaimer: I don’t know the answers. In fact, I often don’t even know the questions. But, I’ve learned that there are bad (or “less productive”) questions.

Here are 5 examples of a common question vs. a better question (maybe you can add to the list):

5 questions

Common Question: Why did this happen to me?

Better Question: What should I do next?

When something goes wrong in your life, you’re tempted to get overly-focused on asking God “why”. Since you believe that God has an eternal plan and that it’s good, focus on the “what”. Accept the reality of today. Then ask yourself, “What can I learn?” and “What can I do next?” Then do that. In fact, put all of your energy into doing that. “Why” focuses on the past. “What” focuses on the present/future. “Why” is mostly negative. “What” is productive.

Common Question: How can I make a point?

Better Question: How can I make a difference?

It’s easier to make a point than a difference. It’s easier to curse the darkness rather than light a candle. Making a difference is hard and slow. But it’s the  more meaningful pursuit.

Common Question: How was I created?

Better Question: Who created me?

The human mind is not able to fathom an event of such magnitude. We’re all playing out of our league here. Clearly, humans are the pinnacle of God’s handiwork and reflect His image. The focus of our faith is the Maker of all creation, not the method of creation. It’s tragic to image someone not embracing Christ because we (Christians) tried to force them to focus on the wrong question. Let’s focus others on Jesus’s question: “Who do you say that I am?”

Common Question: I’ve got a decision to make, what should I do?

Better Question: What story do I want to tell?

Asking, “What should I do?” maintains a small perspective. Asking, “What story do I want to tell?” provides a bigger perspective. The common question focuses on me while the better question focuses on what’s best for me and others.

Common Question: What can I accomplish this year?

Better Question: What can I accomplish in three years?

One year goals are often improvements with short-term impact; however, three years goals are more likely to achieve dreams with long-term impact.

How about you? Can you think of some other examples?


From → Leadership, Ministry

  1. Daniel Hahn permalink

    Pretty insightful, Mark. Here’s another question: how can a 4 oz cheeseburger make me gain 2 extra pounds of weight? That’s the kind of stuff I want to know.


  2. No kidding! Or, how can I eat for 15 minutes and consume 500 calories but workout for 30 minutes and only burn 250 calories? 🙂

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