Whether we notice it or not, we are almost constantly asking our brain a question, and then ‘listening’ to our internal voice with all the possible answers, thoughts and solutions our brains can muster. Rarely do we take charge, and start inserting questions that really serve us.
Powerful questions lead to potent answers. Mediocre questions lead to uninspiring, dull answers. Today, I simply want to suggest inserting one question, that you review with seriousness every single day. Here it is:
“Will this make our life better?”
This one question can change your life. I am quite serious…You may ignore it as a simple question, but think over it and you will find a hidden value in it. This question has the capacity to reduce temptation for immediate rewards, and helps us to pause and ask how a choice will serve our family.
It’s the ultimate value clarification…in 10 seconds or less!
Let’s imagine you cannot decide whether to turn off the TV and take the kids for a walk, or continue watching it. Simply ask, “Will this make our lives better?”
Or let’s say you’re on the way home from baseball, and the kids are screaming for food. Asking, “Will this make their lives better?” helps you to pause and gain some clarity over your choices: whether to stop for fast-food or go home and cook a healthy meal.
Of course, the personal version is quite similar: “Will this make MY life better?” Before every choice…even those small things that we don’t see as a choice…consider asking the Golden Question. Will reading another tweet help my life? Will getting the gossip on a family member really make my life better? Will I be happier watching another Netflix rerun?
We must take this mission to improve with great seriousness, if we want to keep evolving. As a family…
Applying the “Golden Question” to parenting
Imagine this: Your daughter insists on spending another hour on her phone. She has yet to do her homework, and her attitude really stinks.
What can you do? Ask yourself the Golden Question: “Will another hour make her life better?” Likely not.
When your son wants to buy the violent video, and says all his friends have it, the Golden Question can again rise to serve you. “How will violent game playing make his life better?” Again, it likely will not.
Short-term vs. long-term values
If not careful, we can get hooked on the immediate satisfaction of providing the very “thing” our children want. In order to avoid the tantrum or the emotional ugliness, we tend to give in rather than stick to the healthy path.
When we ask the Golden Question, we find ourselves pulled away from the thought of this moment, and re-directed to the big picture. In other words, the big picture is keeping in mind how this choice affects their entire life, and your life together as a family.
Stay with the BIG PICTURE answers for a while, as these will keep you on a healthy track. The momentary unhappiness or dissatisfaction that comes from your children will pass; the value of the long-term decisions will be there forever.
At times we get too carried away by our kids’ demands to be aware of the long-term consequences. We are caught in their apparent misery, expressed as if the end of the world was here because they didn’t get to go to another sleepover. If your child wants something badly doesn’t mean you have to surrender to her wishes. Whenever you are torn between your child’s demands and your decision, ask the simple question, “Will this make her life better?”
It is not the quest for the correct answer
This question does not call for searching for the right answer. Nobody is going to get a prize for it. This is for their own good and for the good of your family. Your have to decide on the basis of your value system.
Remember: don’t think about convenience before deciding whether to eat at McDonald’s a third time in one week. Many times, convenience comes at a cost. In a similar way, seeking harmony comes at a cost.
The Golden Question will keep you on track, if you listen and attend to the answer. Will this make our lives better? Yes or no? It’s worth investing in this clarification on regular basis.