Did you ever read The Most Dangerous Game? (Here it is if you want a fun 10-minute action-packed story).
Well, today, we’re all about the MOST MOTIVATING QUESTION. What question will get you excited, get you moving, and get you pumped?
In fact, if we want to look at it cynically, we can ask, “What is a question that well-polished motivational speakers ask the audience in order to get audience members convinced to follow the motivational speaker’s system?” I.e., this is an effective question because it can change the mood, expectations, and actions of the listener.
Let’s look at the components of such a mysterious question:
1) It will fill you with positive emotions such as happiness, awe, engagement – which is important because when you’re on an emotional high, you are more open to looking at broader solutions, according to research by Barbara Fredrickson.
2) It will energize you – important because then you can turn the question into action. “People who are persuaded verbally that they possess the capabilities to master given activities are likely to mobilize greater effort and sustain it than if they harbor self-doubts and dwell on personal deficiencies when problems arise,” says Albert Bandura.
3) It will make you feel confident – important because confidence is just about a mix of self-esteem and personal control, and these are two of four inner traits of happy people according to Ed Diener and David Myers.
So…. what is such a question?
The Most Motivating Question GAME
When: When you want to motivate a person or people.
- At the start of a meeting
- In setting up a healthy mindset for a close friend or family to take action on his/her issue
- In starting to work with colleagues on a project
The Players: You and one or more people.
The Rules: Ask the question in a warm, open tone. If everyone if is a rush, preface the question with, “Before we figure out this particular solution, let’s see…”
The Question Itself:
Variations: “What are we doing right so far in this project?”
“Before we figure out this particular solution,
let’s see what we’re already doing right.”
You don’t want to lose what you’re already doing right when you move to do something else. Additionally, this creates:
1) a positive tone and gets everyone to think about the situation as a team,
2) energy because something something is already not-broken, and
3) confidence because without any didactic explanation, you’ve shown the team that they have already done things right before.
It’s that simple. What are we doing right already?
See Doug Turner’s article on using this question to open meetings.
This question leads to productive discussions:
- “You want to become a better salesperson. What are you already doing right? What if you did more of that?”
- “You want to race in the Master’s class cycling track finals. What are you already doing right in your training? What other things can you do to complement this training?”
- “You want to spend more quality time with your kids. What are you already doing right? How can you add to what you’re doing while keeping what you’re already doing right?”
What are you doing right today? :)
Enjoy the game. Play often, see how people react.