This question that you are always asking yourself will determines how successful you will be as you move through life. This most important question you are always asking yourself is usually outside of your conscious awareness.This question you are always asking yourself is called the “Virtual Question”.
From my experience during the past thirty-three years, about 80% of my clients have a Virtual Question. The other 20% have a Virtual Statement. This means all other questions or statements are filtered first through their Virtual Question or Statement. This post is focused on the Virtual Question.
Your Virtual Question was created during a highly charged emotional situation between the ages of 4 to 7 years old.
Self limiting Virtual Questions with a “what” question always leads to making lists. “Why” questions are really not answerable. Questions that have ”yes”, “don’t know” or “no” answers set us up for win/lose and anxiety.
Examples of self limiting Virtual Questions:
Am I enough?
What should I be doing?
What do I do next?
Why can’t I do anything right?
What do I do?
Will I get this right?
What do I have to do next?
What could happen?
What are people thinking of me?
Do I know what to do next?
Do I know what to do?
Do I know the right way?
Do they like me?
Am I safe?
Is it safe?
Can I even do this?
Will I get hurt?
Things I need to do?
Will I fail?
How do I find my Virtual Question? Maybe you see your Virtual Question in the above examples or you can imagine/pretend seeing yourself 15 feet (4 meters) away. Imagine/pretend you look like you are asking a question and then step into yourself and hear the question you are asking yourself.
Another way is to image a picture of yourself contemplating with a cartoon “thought bubble” above your head, what should be put in the bubble to indicate what is being thought at this precise moment?
To give you a simple experience of how a Virtual Question determines the ways in which a person responds or behaves, notice the immediate change in your own experience when, reflecting upon one of your upcoming tasks, you ask yourself “How can I make the most of this?” versus asking yourself “Do I know the right way to do this?”. Very often, unless the task is something that you definitely know how to do because of prior experience, the second question will cause you to begin questioning your ability to perform.
A helpful Virtual Question will presuppose a positive outcome. A “how question” also gives you process and a choice. Ask each question below to yourself and notice the positive differences in your experience of using these “how questions”. Which one is your favorite?
How can I make this better?
How can I make the most of this?
How can I make the most of this day?
How can I do this?
How can I make the most of now?
Ways To Change Your Virtual Question
If you want to change your Virtual Question, some people write their new Virtual Question on a card. They look at their new question and keep it in their person. Some write the question on post-it -notes and put them on their refrigerators or computer monitors. You have to consciously use your Virtual Question for at least a month for it to become automatic.
Another way to install this new Virtual Question is to imagine or pretend there is a plexiglass plate about 2 feet in front of you with your new question written on the plexiglass in your favorite color that will allow you to see through the plexiglass without distracting your vision.
In addition if you have problems installing your new question, you can focused on your old limiting Virtual Question for a few minutes using the “FreeSpotting” technique:(link: /a-wonderful-self-help-technique-2/ The old Virtual Question will lose its emotional charge and the beliefs associated with the question. Then you can install your new question again using the above processes.
BTW: The other twenty percent of the population has a “Virtual Statement”. Example: “Do it Right!” Go through the same above processes to find yours and change it if it is necessary for your happiness.
My Virtual Question had been, “How Will I make this better”? I changed one word in it thirty- five years ago and it changed my life. My Virtual Question is, “How Can I make this better “? I didn’t have a choice before the change!
Footnote: Leslie Cameron was the outstanding therapist/teacher that made this discovery of the Virtual Question in 1978. In 1986 she was the primary developer of the “Imperative Self Model”. She was also the first person in America to write a “how to book” on changing emotions, “The Emotional Hostage”. She wrote this book ten years before the bestseller, “Emotional Intelligence “ was released in 1995.