When I’m feeling useless, unproductive, and stuck, taking a short break for journaling is often enough get me out of this state of mind.

Over the years I’ve experimented with different journaling techniques, and recently I’m especially enjoying the help of Soul Cards.

But even when using beautiful art as a prompt, I’m sometimes lost in infinite possibilities of interpretation. Rather than describing everything that comes to my mind when I see a certain picture, I’d rather think of a question first, and only then see what emerges in me at the intersection.

Some questions are much more helpful than others

When I make the same kind of mistake over and over again, the first question on my mind might be “Why do I always have to screw everything up?”.

Whatever my answer to that, it will reinforce the idea that I always screw things up, even if that’s not the case at all. This question doesn’t leave room for the possibility that I might not be the kind of person who always screws everything up. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A better way to ask more or less the same question would be “I’m seeing a pattern in my behavior, where could it be coming from?”.

By framing it this way, I give myself a chance to discover that what I did was a defense mechanism adopted early in the childhood that isn’t needed anymore. I have a chance to reevaluate it and replace it with something better.

Here are more questions that help me shift perspective

What would this look like if it were easy?

If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?

How can I put my whole heart into this? What excites me about it?

In what way the opposite of what I think could be true?

How will success look like in this situation? How will I know if I get there?

What does my gut / body / heart tell me?

What’s the lesson in it?

Once you arrive at an answer, write it all down, absorb the lesson in it, and move on to your next adventure.

Even the best answer is always incomplete and can always be expanded on or refined. As you grow and learn new things, every new day will bring occasions to come up with a better one.

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