In the middle of a normal night at an English pub, a person I’d just known asked me one of the best questions I’ve ever heard in my life. The question itself was a normal one, but it was the fact that people normally use a different one when they want to ask the same thing that made it outstanding. It was the change of perspective that totally blew up my mind. Here’s what happened…
Another English night
I didn’t know this person. All I knew was that he was from my country, that he’s been in London for almost two years, that he was an actor and that he was looking for someone to help him with his online projects. I was interested so I talked to him and we decided to go for some beers, get to know each other and have a little chat.
After introducing ourselves, we started to talk about what had brought us to the UK. The situation in our country and the desire of a new life were the main reasons. We had some things in common, and that gave us the confidence to go a little bit deeper in the conversation. Now life was the topic. “How do you feel here?”, “what are your goals?”, “how do you see yourself in 40 years”, etc.
It seemed as if we were following some kind of guide, because we went from some small talk to our normal lives and from that to our dream lives. And it is when we reached that section that the question came up. We were talking about what we would like to do for the rest of our lives. I told him that I was a journalist, that I liked writing and that I also liked travelling and sports, but I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do with my life or whether I liked them because I really did or just because, out of the things that could give me money, those where the ones I hated the least.
Complications to talk about one’s dreams are huge, but now I know that that’s because we’ve been never asked the exact question. While my words were going nowhere talking about my ideal life, he stopped me and asked: “What would you do if you were millionaire?”.
Wow. That’s amazing, isn’t it? I stopped for a second trying to analyze that phrase. In other words, he asked me what was the thing I enjoyed the most in life, didn’t he? And of course I’ve heard that question thousands of times during my life and I’ve always answered the same thing. The question was the same, but its perspective was completely different and, for me, perfect.
By asking that, he made me dive really deep into my pleasures. What do I really, but really like? What would I do if I had no obligations at all, if I had all the money in the world and no worries? At first, I doubted about myself. I wasn’t 100% sure whether I would still write or do exercise. Wouldn’t I be tempted by luxury and just relax and eat the whole day? Anyway, the answer is not the important thing here, the question is.
“What would you do if you were millionaire?”.
Good questions lead to great answers
Although the question “What would you do if you were millionaire”? is the example here, it does show us the importance of asking the right thing. For example, it’s not the same asking “What do you want for your birthday?” than “What thing I can give you would make you the happiest?”. Sometimes, the answer may be the same one, but the second question would make the other person think about it in a different way and to try to give an answer that would truly convince them.
We’re so used to answering some typical questions all the time that we may not even think about the answer, it’s automatic. When someone asks me what I like, I say writing, football and travelling, like a speech. Even though I gave the same answer for the question this guy asked me that night, it took me time and effort to find the accurate answer.
Here are two tasks for you:
- Ask yourself the question “what would you do if you were millionaire?”. It’s a nice exercise that will make you see your goals in a different way. It will help you reaffirm your thoughts if you’re sure about them or to question them if you’ve always lived a lie.
- Try to apply this method to every important question you ask. It’s not something you’ll do everyday with normal questions, but when you know you are going to have an important chat with someone and you really want to get a sincere answer, then take your time to ask a good question.