If you had asked me “What’s happening?” or “What’s up?” or “What’s new?” at about 11:30 last night, I would have told you a sad little tale about parking my car in a bike lane which I didn’t notice, and having a sizable parking ticket when I returned to my car. I would have also told you about how I didn’t think the bike lane was clearly marked, but that I wasn’t going to appeal the ticket because it would be a lengthy process. In addition, you would have had the opportunity to hear about how frustrated I was by the whole experience.
From there, the conversation could have progressed into swapping other frustrating parking ticket stories, before branching into talking about our general frustrations with life.
On the other hand, if at 11:30 last night, you had asked me, “What was the most amazing thing that happened in your day,” our conversation would have been different. I would have answered excitedly by telling you about a birthday party I went to with my good friends Patricio and Michael. I would have told you about our drive up into the mountains north of San Diego, where our gracious host lived high up with a pool right on the edge of a ridge. As I was floating in the pool, I could gaze out and see orchards and gorgeous misty mountains in the distance. Then after swimming and an amazing dinner, I would tell you of going for a walk to see a majestic avocado grove on the side of this mountain.
From there, you might well start telling me about the amazing places that you had been. Our conversation might then naturally drift towards wonderful experiences we had enjoyed and amazing people we knew.
As you can see at 11:30 last night, based on the question asked, we would have had two completely different conversations.
When we ask each “What’s Happening?” or “What’s up?” or “What’s new?” or some variation there of, I’ve noticed that it is human nature to start talking about what is wrong with life.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity to begin our conversations with richer questions that immediately place both speaker and listener in a positive frame of mind. There are many variations of richer questions. I’ll list just a few examples:
“What is a great thing that happened in your week?”
“What are you most excited about today?”
“What do you love about your life?”
“How have you felt strong this week?”
These questions naturally turn us towards having conversations in which we talk about our strengths and the things that make us happy. These are highly enjoyable conversations to have!
Game of the Day
Today, begin three conversations with a richer question than you usually use to begin conversations. Choose a question from the above examples or invent your own.