Prime Your Brain with Quality Questions

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To get your subconscious working for you—helping you filter in things from your environment that will assist you in hitting your goals and achieving your dreams—you must prime it to do so. One way to prime it is being mindful (and intentional) of the types of questions you ask.

Transcript of video:

Amiee:           Are you guys ready to get into some of this stuff? If you’re ready, say, “I’m ready.”

Audience:      I’m ready.

Amiee:           Good. Okay, so here’s another quick example. When you guys see this picture, does everybody see the two silhouetted faces?

Amiee:           Okay, that’s the first thing I saw too. I just saw this recently. I was getting ready to scroll past it, and then I saw the little caption on the picture. It said, “What do you see first, the faces or the vase?” so I looked at it again and I’m like, “Oh yeah!” It’s one of those things again, like the arrow. Do you guys see the vase?.

Audience:      Yes.

Amiee:           The reason these work so well, by the way, why they’re so tricky for us, is because in our culture we’re already so well primed to look at white space as just background. Webpages, generally white background. When you’re reading; it’s just a white background so that you can see the text.

Generally for us, white space is just, it’s not important; it’s just background, so when they give you a picture like this and you’re supposed to be looking at white as part of the picture, that’s why it’s so tricky. What we want to do is train or prime the brain so that it sees what we want it to see.

That’s what we’re going to talk about is priming the brain. It’s the first thing we’re going to talk about. Now, let’s do something fun. How many of you like playing like the Wheel of Fortune type stuff? You’re given like words or blanks and you have to figure them out. Okay, good. Here’s what we’re going to do. Everybody has a handout, right? When I say “go,” you’ll have about thirty seconds to turn the handout over, read the story that’s on it, and then solve the puzzle.

Just so you know, there’s no right or wrong answer to the puzzle. I don’t want you to work hard on it … I think we need a handout up here. If you put your hand up, I think they’ll come and give you some handouts. This is important; you want to have a handout.

There’s a story on the back of the handout. I want you to read the story and then answer, like fill in the blanks, with the first thing that comes to mind. Don’t work on it and judge what comes to mind first, just the first things that pops in your mind, just put those in there to fill in to make an actual word. As long as you’re spelling it accurately, you’re not doing this wrong. If you’ve got the handout, go ahead and flip it over, read the story, and then fill in the words with the first things that come to mind.

(After the audience fills in their words) Stand up if either of the words you wrote down were “fire” or “safe.” Did you guys even do the assignment over here? Stay standing, by the way, if both words you wrote down were “fire” and “safe.” It’s okay. Okay, you guys can sit down. Stand up if either of the words you wrote down were “free” or “sale.” Stay standing if both words you wrote down were “free” or “sale.” That’s still quite a bit. Okay, you guys can sit down.

I want you to know what just happened. Everybody in the room was given the exact same letters and blanks in the exact same order. None of that was different. What was different was I gave two separate stories out. Some of you got one story; some of you got another story. What happened was, you read the story, which means I put your brain into a particular context, so that when you were asked to come up with a solution, your brain came up with the first solution that was most coherent to the context it was in. That’s the key, so I’m going to repeat it because that’s what we’re getting ready to talk about. When your brain is in a particular context, and you’re asking it to come up with a solution, it will find the most coherent solution to the context to which it is primed.

Again, if you want to prime your brain to work on the context of your goals, it’s got to be primed for that particular context. Otherwise the solutions it come up with may not be the solutions that will be most helpful to what you’re trying to achieve. Is that too deep, or you guys follow that? You follow? Say, “I follow.”

Audience:      I follow.

Amiee:           Okay, awesome! Let’s talk about priming your brain. Have any of you ever been talking with someone and you tried to think of something, like someone’s name, or a movie, or whatever, and you just can’t think of it? You know it. You’re like, “It’s on the tip of my tongue. What is that guy’s name?” but then you don’t want to stall the conversation. It’s not coming to you, so you move on.

Then hours or days later, it just pops in your head? You had it happen? Then you pull out your phone and you text your friend you were talking to, and you’re like, “Oh yeah, it was Paul Rudd that was in This Is the End and I Love You Man. That was the guy’s name. Oh, dang AutoCorrect, and you type it again. Why does that happen though?

That happens because, like we talked about earlier, it’s like you type the question into the computer screen, “What was that guy’s name?” hit “enter,” and then when you let it go and it leaves the screen, it goes into the computer, and the computer continues to process it. When it finds the answer it shoves it back to the screen, and then you’re like, “Oh, there it is!”

The first way to prime your brain that you guys want to start using is quality questions, QQ, quality questions. Notice I said “quality questions,” and not just “questions,” because there are bad questions. Let me give you an example of a bad question. Let’s say someone’s struggling with their relationships and they go, “Why do people dislike me?!” or, “Why do I suck at relationships?!” We do ask ourselves like that sometimes, right?

What kind of answer are you going to get back when you ask, “Why do I suck?” or, “Why do people dislike me?” You’re probably going to get something back like, “Because you’re not funny, because you kind of suck in general, because you’re not attractive enough.” Here’s what’s generally going to happen. Any degrading thought you ever had about yourself in the past, even if you don’t really consciously believe that thought, like, “I’m not attractive enough,” or, “I’m not funny,” or whatever, if it’s in there when you ask it that question, again, your brain’s going to go find, “What’s the answer that relates to that?” and it’s going to shove it to the surface, which means it’s probably going to make you feel worse. It’s not going to be helpful at all. It could make you feel worse. That makes it a bad question.

Bad questions generally start with “why” when it relates to you, “Why am I …? Why am I …? Why am I …?” A quality question is a question that can give you a positive or helpful answer, so the only way you have to change that is instead of saying, “Why do people dislike me?” if that was the question you were asking, you would say, “How can I be even more likable than I am now?” You see the difference?

When you say, “How can I be even more likable than I am now?” even if you’re not coming up with a conscious answer right away, you shove it in there; eventually the subconscious will start shoving some things forward. It could be, “You could smile more, or maybe when you’re talking to people, you talk to them about them,” because people like that. They like people that take an interest in them.

There’s such a thing as “quality questions,” so here’s what I want to do really quick. I want you guys to, whether you’re using your phone, or you’re writing, or whatever you choose, write down a couple of challenges you’re currently dealing with in your life. It doesn’t have to be business; it can be. Write down a couple of challenges you’re currently dealing with for like thirty seconds. Probably won’t even take you thirty.

Put your hand high in the air if you’ve got at least one or two challenges written down on your list? That’s almost everybody. Okay, now, what we’re going to do next is I want you to write down at least one or two quality questions you can ask yourself for that particular challenge. Let’s say you wrote down, “I’m not getting that many leads,” so, again, instead of asking yourself, “Why does everybody in my office get more leads than I do?!” your quality question would be, “How can I get even more leads than I do now?”

Go ahead and for the challenges you wrote down, write down at least one or two quality questions you can ask yourself that could help you with those challenges. It could be, “How can I get even more leads than I am now?” or, “How can I learn to better communicate with that person that we seem to have a challenging relationship?” “How can I improve my grade point average?” “How can I prepare myself for finals even better?” Some of you got finals still, right, to go back to? “How can I be the best assistant manager possible this summer?” “How can I find ways to be most helpful to the reps in my office or people in my life?”

 

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