Of the four foundational blocks of Kaizen (small thoughts, small questions, small steps and small rewards), I think small questions are my favourite. They are instant energy shifters. When I’m feeling stuck or find myself resisting something, a small question can quickly shift me into curiosity mode. I like to ask, what can make this task easier or more enjoyable? Or I will ask myself, what’s worked in the past? And what else could work?
Three things I love about small questions:
1. A small question is a great place to start.
Kaizen is a philosophy and a positive, engaging way of being that creates consecutive success moments - leading to sustainable momentum towards your goals. Any goal or journey starts with a first step, no matter how large or small. What I love about small questions is that they can be a first step. Asking a small question engages my imagination and my brain as it seeks to find answers. This activity sparks energy and excitement to start my project or endeavor.
2. A small question doesn’t need to be answered right away and will produce multiple answers.
Small questions are like brain candy! Ask a question and then let it go. The brain will begin to ponder and percolate away in the background as you go about your day. It will search for an answer and then another and another. Often the first solution isn’t necessarily the best. It might be the most common or the most comfortable, but it’s not always the best. Asking a small question over time will produce multiple responses and shift me into what Benjamin Zander (The Art of Possibility) calls possibility thinking.
3. A small question is always asked in the positive.
Small questions act like mini-mental pep talks because they are always asked in the positive. Wording the question in positive language results in positive solutions. And positive solutions are less likely to raise feelings of pressure and overwhelm. What is one thing I can do, right now, that will move me closer to being finished? What is something that’s worked in the past? How can I make this easier and more enjoyable? These questions give me a little surge of hope and build momentum.
Small questions are a powerful tool. And asking small questions is both an art and a skill that can be improved upon with practice. Small questions are a key part of KMI Master Minds™ and the KMI Master Mind™ Facilitator Certification training.
Comment below and share your experience with small questions. What are your favourite small questions? What do you love about them?
I write about master minds, creativity, productivity, and the Kaizen philosophy as it relates to creative living.