Nov 252018 0 Responses

Ask This Two-Word Question Today

Two words matter more than any other. For this day to be used as it should, we must fixate on two words–“What’s mine?”

These are popular words. Every kid at Christmas sees a tree full of presents and wonders, “What’s mine?” Every grown child of affluence sees the estate of their parents and wonders, “What’s mine?” It’s a simple question we regularly ask throughout our lives. However, we often ask the question in reference to what we are going to get. We wonder what will be handed to us or rightly belongs to us.

But there’s another way to ask the question, a more responsible way. “What’s mine?” can also be used to determine what belongs to me not regarding possessions but regarding responsibilities. What is it that I am responsible for today? What is rightly expected of me and what do I specifically control?

Too often, we ignore this question.

Instead, we focus on the wrong questions.

The Wrong Questions

What’s owed to me? While it might be appropriate at times to consider this question, it should never be the question at the center of our thinking. By fixating on what is owed to us, we develop a mentality of entitlement and lose a sense of control over our own lives.

What are they doing? We love to think about others. Rather than looking at our own actions or attitudes, we focus on others. We covet what they have, are jealous about what they get away with, and whine about the advantages they have which we don’t experience. Rarely do we need to consider the actions of others when trying to determine how to plan our day. (See: How to Better Control Yourself)

What will happen? It’s necessary to determine what could take place in the future. Developers need to anticipate customers needs. Salespeople need to predict products clients will want. Predicting what lies ahead is important. But it’s not as vital as we often assume. In most cases, thinking about the future is just a form of worry. It feels like work, but in reality, we are using mental energy without actually doing anything in response.

The problem with these three questions is that they are passive. In each instance, we are thinking about things we don’t control and trying to understand what might happen around us rather than considering how we can act. Some passive questions are necessary, but they are never the most important question.

The Right Question

Instead, we should ask, “What’s mine?”

What are the things that I control, are rightly expected of me, and can be acted on immediately? The question is one of responsibility. It’s about empowerment. When we clearly understand the things under our control and which are our responsibility, we are free to act. We aren’t left to wait for others. We aren’t dependent.

When we know what we own, we act.

Consider:

What’s mine in marriage? I can’t control my spouse. I can’t force them into action. However, I do fully control what I bring into every relationship. I dictate my own happiness and satisfaction. I can’t fix my spouse but I can work on me.

What’s mine at work? What is my job description? Ultimately, what am I paid to do? If at the end of a workday it’s considered a successful day, what happened to define the success? Now I should spend as much time as possible doing those things. (See: The Best Way to Start Monday)

What’s mine in parenting? The older my children get, the less control I have over them. They control their choices, but I’m not helpless. I can model for them the decision-making process I hope they follow. I can encourage them and instruct them. Their outcome is not mine, but my actions belong to me.

Two Words Every Day

On a regular basis, I meet with people in the midst of extreme turmoil–an affair suddenly revealed, a diagnosis just received, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a thousand other scenarios. At the moment, people are in shock, yet they do not have the luxury of doing nothing. Action is demanded.

In order to assist them to make the best decision possible, I ask them some very simple questions. The first question I ask them to pose is, “What’s mine?”

When they feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities and changes, I help them narrow their thinking down to the simple things which they own. What belongs solely to them? Now begin to care of those things.

The good news is that we don’t have to wait for chaos or trauma before using this simple question. The basic act of beginning every day with these words can greatly impact our lives.

Ask yourself today, “What’s mine?”

Wondering what is yours? Consider these articles:

You Chose This–A Reflection on Time Management

You Control What Matters Most

Parenting–Control the Environment

How Leaders Focus on the Wrong Things

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