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Creating Questions that Lead to Breakthroughs, by Karen Little

Butterfly by Karen Little of

It is difficult to discover what you don't know because quite simply, you don't know what you need to discover!

My previous article, Your Question Is the Answer, discusses how to use questions to solve problems. This article discusses how to figure out what questions to ask.

Start by describing your need, such as "I need more money." Next, the following five-step formula will help you compose the necessary questions to help you solve problems:

  1. Based on your need, create an aspirational statement that is the reverse of your problem, written as though the problem is resolved, adding as many details to it as possible. To form the statement, begin by using the phrase "If everything were perfect..." followed by a detailed list of things that would be present if the issue was perfectly resolved.

  2. Based on your aspirational statement details, ask "What do I need to have or know to make every detail come true." For every detail, write a component list of all the things you need to have or know to fully understand each one.

  3. For each component, evaluate the likelihood of you knowing, achieving, or acquiring it by using one of three possible answers: No, this is impossible or extremely unlikely. Maybe, this is possible, but you do not know exactly how, and Yes, you already have this thing or the knowledge to handle it.

  4. When finished evaluating each component, ignore all the "No's" and "Yes's" and focus exclusively on the "Maybe's." Why set aside the No's and Yes's? The "No's" indicate things that are just too hard to achieve, so don't waste your time on them. The "Yes's" indicate things you already achieved or have, so no further work is needed.

  5. For every "Maybe" in your component list, repeat steps #2 through #4, but now, rank your components from easiest to hardest to achieve and start working on the easiest things.

By systematically identifying all the components related to an issue, you create a list of questions to logically evaluate, plus identify manageable steps you can take to resolve an issue.

Repeat this logical process whenever problems make you feel stuck.

The good news is that by addressing each small, easy-to-solve "Maybe," main issues can suddenly be resolved without further analysis. Using scientific terminology, instantaneous solutions are called "breakthroughs."


Articles written for deductive reasoning that test statements through the use of "No, Maybe, and Yes" are aimed at computer and database programmers. Still, programming is designed to use information to arrive at solutions and the procedures used are similar to what is recommended in this article: Identify the need the need. Describe the need in detail. Test all the details related to the need. And take action on all the details that resolve to "true" or "yes."

  • Your Question Is the Answer by Karen Little for Sketch-Views' Happiness Blog. See that article for appropriate links related to the power of questions and using deductive reasoning.

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by Sketch-Views with Karen Little


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