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📁 Communication 🏷️ Tools Metaphors
🕙 20 mins
Vlad | Mentalist | Modeller | Handicapper
Vlad | Mentalist | Modeller | Handicapper
He is an explorer of the structure of subjective experience, seeking a deeper understanding of how people experience the world through their conscious and subconscious minds. He studies the inner worlds of thoughts, feelings, and sensations that shape our perceptions, behaviors, and choices.
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Evolving - This article is part of a series.
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Image credit: Gerald Altmann

“The answers you seek are already within you. Powerful questions help you uncover them.”

“I did not look for “what went wrong” or the “whys.” I did not look for cures. I looked at what worked, no matter how. If a few good therapists “fixed” anybody, I looked at what they actually did. When people got over problems on their own, I looked at what had happened. The result is what is now called Neuro-Linguistic Programming—that is, a series of lessons that teach what others have learned that works.” ― Richard Bandler, Get the Life You Want: The Secrets to Quick and Lasting Life Change with Neuro-Linguistic Programming


Asking questions is an art form that unlocks growth, innovation, and deeper connection. Powerful, thoughtful questions challenge assumptions, spark breakthrough ideas, and reveal greater truths. However, many hesitiate to ask questions due to barriers like fear of looking foolish or not wanting to impose. Overcoming these barriers is essential, as questioning leads to expanded perspectives, demolition of outdated paradigms, and illumination of new paths forward. Great questions reflect great minds - minds open to change, not constrained by limitations. The future belongs to the inquisitive, not those who simply accept the status quo. Questioning the norm requires courage but enables progress. The quest for truth and higher understanding relies upon asking better and bolder questions. Skillful inquiry elicits insights well beyond surface-level answers. Unlocking our potential requires embracing questions as transformational tools for personal and collective evolution.


“Asking the wrong question, even if you get the right answer to that question, can be worse than not asking any question at all.” - Peter Drucker

Type of questions for getting forward

1. Using Clean language questions

Asking clean questions is a valuable skill that promotes clarity, focus, and meaningful answers. Clean questions are clear, concise, and devoid of assumptions or bias. Some benefits of crafting clean questions include:

  • They get directly to the heart of the matter without unnecessary tangents or details. Clean questions zero in on the core issue.

  • They create a shared understanding between asker and responder by using precise wording. There is less room for confusion or misinterpretation.

  • They receive focused answers that provide useful facts and insights, rather than generalities or speculations.

  • They avoid embedding implicit assumptions that could steer or limit responses. Clean questions remain objective and neutral.

  • They reduce misunderstandings, frustrations, and inefficiencies caused by ambiguous communication.

  • They demonstrate respect for the responder’s time and perspective by not expecting mind reading or guessing.

  • They encourage constructive dialogues and mutually beneficial exchanges of knowledge.

  • They help establish clear expectations and boundaries for productive discussions.

  • They inspire reflective, substantial responses rather than defensive or emotional reactions.

Mastering the art of asking clean, well-defined questions is a way to improve understanding, relationships, and outcomes. Clean questions yield clean answers.

2. Learning to ask right question at right time and place

As a magician I learn rehearsal and cover all possible outcomes ahead.

  • Magician choice What if volunteer or audience answer this in second or third choice?
  • Have I got all angles covered? Practice in front of the mirror or friend
  • Comic Timing. There is a joke: “What is the most important in comedy routine?” While the person think about it. Say rapidly: “Timing!”

Here are some tips on asking questions at the right time and place:

  • Consider the context - is this an appropriate setting to ask your question? A large meeting may not be suitable for detailed inquiries.

  • Gauge the mood and energy levels of who you are asking. Asking someone rushed or preoccupied may not get careful thought.

  • Ask if now is a good time or offer to come back later. “Do you have a few minutes to discuss something?” demonstrates courtesy.

  • Avoid interrupting - wait for a pause in conversations or presentation before interjecting with a question.

  • If asking publicly, be mindful of others’ time. Keep questions succinct and don’t dominate the forum.

  • For sensitive topics, opt for asking in private rather than an open group setting. This makes the person feel more comfortable opening up.

  • When unsure if it’s the right time, ask permission. “May I ask a question about that?” or “Could we discuss X later?”

  • Consider your relationship and rapport with the person. Close colleagues can handle more impromptu questions than new acquaintances.

  • For written communications, match the medium to the question type. Quick clarifications for email, deeper inquiries for meetings.

  • If you missed your window, acknowledge it. “Apologies for not asking during the meeting. Could I get your insight on X now?”

  • Thank the person for their time and consideration, especially if asking multiple or in-depth questions. Express gratitude.

3. Learning to use embedded questions

“Don’t you think that now is a good time for a change? Isn’t it?”

Embedding questions within writing and speech is an effective communication technique that makes content more engaging and impactful. Questions rouse interest, create stopping points, and help focus the audience’s attention. Embedded questions allow writers and speakers to:

  • Break up long blocks of text/speech so they are less overwhelming or monotonous

  • Guide the reader/listener through key points and prompt internal reflection

  • Assess comprehension and engagement to ensure central ideas are grasped

  • Create opportunities for participation and two-way dialogue rather than one-way lecturing

  • Introduce contrasting viewpoints in a thought-provoking yet non-confrontational way

  • Add helpful context and perspective around ideas and arguments presented

  • Highlight areas of uncertainty or debate that require further exploration

  • Act as segues when transitioning between different topics or sections

  • Invite deeper discussions beyond surface-level explanations

By judiciously using embedded questions, writers and speakers can craft content that resonates, inspires introspection, and spurs audience participation. Questions are a powerful rhetorical technique for prompting critical thinking while maintaining an interactive, conversational flow.

4. Learning to talk to yourself - rubber duck

Rubber duck programming is the practice of explaining your code line-by-line to an inanimate object like a rubber duck. It stems from a legend that programmer Andrew Hunt was struggling with a complex debugging issue. He eventually realized that by patiently walking through his code with a rubber duck, he could more easily explain the logic and spot errors.

Though the rubber duck does not actually provide feedback, the act of clearly articulating your code out loud helps you approach problems from a different perspective. Verbalizing your code forces you to simplify and organize thoughts. The rubber duck method helps programmers counteract tunnel vision. By taking a step back to explain their work to something, they can more easily find holes in logic, uncover gaps in understanding, and identify simpler solutions.

Programmers do not need to use literal rubber ducks - it could be explaining concepts on paper, to an empty chair, or to anything that forces verbalization of code logic. The key is explaining code step-by-step, as if to someone unfamiliar with it. This debugging technique based on active listening and communication strengthens programming skills without needing another developer’s input.

5. Learning to use strategies from masters

  • “What is to give light must endure burning.” - Viktor Frankl

  • “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” - Sheryl Sandberg

  • “If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in yourself right now, what would it be?” - Brian Tracy

  • “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” - Robert Schuller

  • “What is the most important question you could be asking right now about your life, work, or relationships?” - Tony Robbins

  • “If all limitations were removed, who would you be?” - Marianne Williamson

  • “What is the greatest risk you could take that would make a big difference in your life?” - Robin Sharma

  • “If this were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?” - Steve Jobs

  • “What would future you thank current you for doing today?” - Marshall Goldsmith

  • “What action could you take today to upgrade your life without worry of failure or rejection?” - Kamal Ravikant

  • “What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?” - Robert Thurman

  • “If you could only teach one concept to the world, what would it be?” - Eckhart Tolle

  • “How will today’s challenges shape your character and purpose?” - James Clear

  • “What do you need to let go of in order to grow?” - Brene Brown

  • “What outcome or achievement will make today a success?” - Dorothea Brande


Awareness refers to the capacity to effortlessly notice whatever is happening, both internally and externally. It is the open, spacious consciousness that is always present.

Some key points about awareness:

  • Awareness is present throughout the body. We can sense and feel our whole body right now, with no effort required.

  • Awareness extends into the space all around the body. If a sound happened, we would hear it automatically without trying.

  • There is no edge or limit to awareness. We have a sense of space extending in all directions.

  • Awareness allows us to notice thoughts, feelings, sounds, sensations, etc as they arise, without any judgment. It is a mirror that reflects whatever appears without distortion.

  • Awareness is always in the present moment. It cannot be located in the past or future.

  • Awareness has no inherent meaning or interpretation. It is the direct, pre-conceptual experience.

  • Awareness is the space in which everything happens, yet it remains untouched. Like the sky, it is always open and clear.

Regular practice helps develop awareness as our natural way of being.


Learn from the best when learning something. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants

“Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” – Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins Morning Questions:

Robbins recommends asking yourself empowering questions first thing in the morning to set the tone for the day: What am I happy about? What am I excited about? Who do I love? What am I proud of? What am I grateful for? What’s good about today?

Peter Drucker’s Key Questions:

Drucker believed effective leaders constantly ask - What needs to be done? What is right for the enterprise? He advocated questions focused on the future, opportunities over problems, and action over reaction.

Tony Buzan’s Goal Questions:

Buzan suggests asking Why? What? When? Where? Who? How? for goal-setting. Asking “Why do I want to achieve this goal?” uncovers motivation. “What do I need to achieve this goal?” drives planning.

Brian Tracy’s Reflection Questions:

Tracy uses key daily reflection questions to enable continuous improvement: What have I learned today? How can I apply it? What went well today? What could be improved? What is my #1 priority for tomorrow?

In summary, regularly asking thoughtful questions focused on goals, gratitude, growth, and priorities unlocks potential and drives progress. Establishing a habit of intentional inquiry is transformative.


  • Sitting by side so you can perceive nuances in facial expression, gestures, coloration of the skin and not stay in the way of client who are accessing their images and creating metaphors in front of them.

  • Many people come with many questions. In order to get through I’ll ask: “Choose one question for session of maximum and vital importance.

  • Elicitate description and learn observation of unconsciousness signs - pupil dilation, distance and location of the thought, skin coloring, micro expression, changes in voice delivery, tine,speed, pitch, lips reading. When I hear “I am feeling sad,” in order to get metaphor of persons perception of the world.I’ll ask: “What is like to feel sad?” I ask as well for description of body sensation - size, shape, temperature, weight, solidness, movement. Always trying on myself to get the person’s model of the world and strategy they are using.

  • Modulate your voice and speak slowly and melodically.

  • Be interested and curious about client exploration.

  • Repeat client’s words using his voice delivery. For instance when the client spoke about exciting event, his face lightened up, words speeded up and his tone of voice was higher. As a professional, you are, match his expression or attend acting class to learn essentials.

  • Connect the question and experience with coordinating conjunction and/as/when.


  1. Clarify your purpose
  • Choose one question of immediate and maximum importance.
  • What issue do you want to explore? What is your desired outcome?
  1. Do your research
  • Learn vocabulary of field.
  • Learn languages. Every language contains possibilities and limitations. By learning other languages you learn perspectives, approaches, strategies.
  • Learn cultural metaphors. Every culture has developed ways of dealing with problems.
  • Before searching answer determine the sources and interest of the persons proposing answers. Oil vs environmental protection group. Both speakers for this groups are paid to promote agenda of their group.
  • Gather sufficient information, not tons of information which will cause overload, neither lack of information. If there are many issues separate questions into smaller chunks.
  • Gather background information to ask informed questions. Identify key gaps.
  • Always look for most recent answers and use keywords “solutions, sorted, fix”
  • Look for elegant solutions. There are many theories, descriptions, proposals, hacks, articles and books. Some of solutions require years and lead to 40% or less result. Some solutions offers “Learn proven strategy and apply it in 20 minutes and are useful for majority of clients.”
  • I have learned from early on I am not so rich to buy cheap things, attend cheap courses. Learning from the best cost a bit more and in the short and long run will bring more benefits.
  1. Craft potential questions
  • Brainstorm a list of open-ended, non-judgmental questions that get to the heart of the topic.
  1. Refine your questions
  • Edit questions to remove assumptions, biases, or vagueness. Make them thought-provoking.
  • If using GPT realize that available data go to 2021. If you want to have most recent data use Opera A.I. Aria
  • In Gpt-4 you can use: You should work as my prompt engineer, please. Your intention is to assist me in creating the ideal prompt for my requirements. You will carry out the below steps: You’ll ask me what the prompt should be about as your initial response. I’ll give you my response, but we’ll need to go through the following steps to refine it as we go. You will create two sections based on my input: a) Revised prompt (give your revised prompt; it should be precise, succinct, and easy for you to understand); and b) Questions (ask any pertinent questions pertaining to what additional information from me is needed to improve the prompt). We’ll continue this iterative process where I’ll provide you more details and you’ll update the Until I declare that we are finished, we will continue this iterative process in which I provide you new information and you update the prompt in the part titled “Revised prompt.”
  1. Consider timing and setting
  • When and where can you ask the questions to get thoughtful responses? Adjust as needed.
  1. Ask your questions
  • Pose questions clearly and honestly. Avoid steering the direction of replies.
  • Know when you were heard. Knowing is kinesthetic sensation. When you are asking other person you may have sense that your message “Question” get across. When you are speaking with yourself or entity (God, Goddess…) you may feel that you send the message.
  1. Actively listen
  • Listen fully without interruption. Be present. Use affirming body language.
  1. Ask insightful follow-up questions
  • Dig deeper into the responses. Request clarification or examples when helpful.
  1. Express gratitude
  • Thank the respondent for their perspective and time.
  1. Reflect on the insights gained
  • What new understanding did you gain? How can you apply it? What new questions emerge?

Keep refining your question-asking approach through practice. Curiosity and courage to inquire lead to growth.


  • Look at your face in the mirror and ask the person in the mirror: “What’s the solution as ….?”
  • Create metaphor and change perspectives
  • Look at the photo or drawing of a real or imaginary person who can deal with the question and ask: “How would he/she deal with this problem.
  • Use lucid dreaming technique to dream possible scenarios.
  • Use meditation bellow


Find a comfortable and quiet place where you can relax without any distractions. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, allowing your body to relax with each exhale. Imagine yourself in a peaceful and serene setting, such as a beautiful beach, a tranquil forest, or a calm meadow. Visualize the details of this place, noticing the colors, sounds, and scents around you. Now, imagine a staircase in front of you that leads down to your subconscious mind. Each step represents a deeper level of relaxation and a greater connection to your dreams. Begin descending the staircase, counting down from 10 to 1 with each step. With each number, feel yourself becoming more relaxed, focused, and open to the power of your subconscious mind. As you reach the bottom of the staircase, imagine yourself entering a peaceful and lucid dream state. Feel the vibrant energy of your dreams surrounding you, ready to be explored. Now, focus on the first dream you want to experience. Visualize it vividly, using all your senses. See yourself living that dream, feeling the emotions, and enjoying every moment of it. Make it as detailed as possible.

Dream 1: I am is in a crowded city street, with people rushing by me speaking languages I don’t understand. Strange objects float through the air - are they birds? Kites? The buildings tower above me at odd angles. I feel lost and confused.

Dream 2: I am walking through a quiet forest. Shafts of sunlight filter through the leaves. I come to a clearing with a circle of large standing stones. As I approach, the stones begin humming at different pitches. I don’t understand their meaning.

Dream 3: I sit by a campfire under the stars. An old man across from me is telling a story in a language I almost grasps. I see images in the flames - a soaring eagle, a rushing river, a setting sun. I feel that I should understand but the meaning eludes me.

Dream 4: I walks along a beach at sunrise. The crashing waves repeat a rhythmic chant. Shells at my feet hold whispers I can almost make out. As I gaze out at the ocean, realization begins to dawn like the rising sun.

Dream 5: I float through a starry cosmos. Planets and moons spin around me in a celestial dance. As I pass through nebulae and galaxies, the music of the spheres plays a familiar tune. The meaning waits just outside of my understanding.

Dream 6: I stand atop a mountain summit at daybreak. As the sun crests the horizon, its light illuminates all that lies before me. The pieces click into place. I feel shift in my body. The meaning shines clear as the morning sun. I understand.


  • Q: Why is asking questions important?

  • A: Asking questions leads to gaining new knowledge, deepening understanding, making better decisions, sparking innovation, and - connecting with others. Questions challenge assumptions, uncover solutions, and allow for growth.

  • Q: What makes a question powerful?

  • A: Powerful questions are focused, insightful, thought-provoking, and open-ended. They get to the heart of the issue without making - assumptions. Powerful questions spark introspection and expanded perspectives.

  • Q: How can I get better at asking questions?

  • A: Practice formulating questions regularly. Consider what makes a question impactful. Ask follow up questions to dig deeper. Learn - active listening skills. Identify biases that restrict your questioning. Value curiosity.

  • Q: When should I avoid questions?

  • A: Avoid questions that are repetitive, invasive of privacy, emotionally insensitive, or have obvious answers. Don’t ask questions just - to stall or self-promote.

  • Q: How do I ask big picture, strategic questions?

  • A: Focus on goals, desired outcomes and priorities. Ask about what’s working vs what needs improvement. Inquire about root causes and sustainable solutions.

  • Q: How do I make my questions more thoughtful and insightful?

  • A: Research the topic and think critically about it. Pose who, what, when, where, why and how inquiries. Ask open-ended questions that don’t have simple yes/no answers.

  • Q: How can I feel more comfortable asking questions?

  • A: Remember questions show interest and strength. Adopt a learning mindset. Start with lower-stakes inquiries and build up. - Ask anonymously. Practice framing questions assertively, not apologetically.

  • Q: What questions elicit creative and innovative ideas?

  • A: Open-ended, imaginative questions like “What if?” and “How might we…?” Get people thinking outside the box. Follow up to explore possibilities.


  • Here are some humorous jokes about asking powerful questions:

  • I asked a powerful question the other day. The question literally flexed its muscles and bench pressed 250 pounds.

  • I was going to ask a thought-provoking question, but then I thought, “Nah, that’s too provocative for my thoughts to handle.”

  • I asked a profound question and fell into an existential crisis. Guess the question really was too powerful!

  • My question was so potent, it felt illegal just asking it out loud. I pleaded the fifth amendment immediately after.

  • I tried asking a deep philosophical question but my brain got overwhelmed and blue-screened like a Windows 95 PC.

  • Be careful asking nuclear questions - that critical mass of inquiry could result in a mental meltdown!

  • My insightful question started a debate club in my head. Now my thoughts are aggressively arguing with each other nonstop.

  • I asked an intense open-ended question and my brain literally opened up and spilled out of my ear. Too open-ended I guess!

  • I queried the magic 8 ball with a thoughtful question. It read: “Ask again later if you dare to handle the truth.”

  • My probing question unearthed more existential crises than a philosopher’s convention. I’m having an identity crisis just thinking about it.

  • I intended to ask a simple question, but it quantum tunneled into a metaphysical inquiry about the essence of reality.

  • I asked a trick question and disappeared in a puff of logic. I’m now questioning my own existence!


  • Here are some metaphorical descriptions of asking questions:

  • Asking questions is like mining for gold - you may need to dig deep and sift through dirt and rock to uncover precious metals of knowledge.

  • Crafting a good question is like fitting together a puzzle - each piece needs to connect to reveal the full picture.

  • A powerful question cuts like a laser, swiftly slicing through obscurity straight to the heart of the issue.

  • Questions are keys that unlock doors to new perspectives, insights, and solutions.

  • Asking challenging questions provides sparks that light the fires of creativity and innovation.

  • A thoughtful question serves as a compass providing direction and focus when navigating uncertainty.

  • Curiosity fuels questions like an engine needs gasoline to churn out ideas and discoveries.

  • Planting the seeds of inquiry in your mind leads to blooming awareness and intellectual growth.

  • Questions wash away assumptions and open clogged minds like a deep cleansing tidal wave.

  • Asking good questions lifts fog and illuminates like a lighthouse guiding lost ships. It provides clarity.

  • A timely, well-placed question can stop faulty thinking in its tracks like a red light.

  • Thoughtful inquiry dispels darkness and sheds light like the rising sun on a new day.

  • Questions are stones rippling awareness through the stagnant pond of conventional thinking.

  • The limits of our language are the limits of our world. Questions expand language and perspective.


@book Drucker, Peter. 2008. The Five Most Important Questions (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass)

@abook Grinder, John; Richard Bandler (1981). Connirae Andreas, Trance-Formations: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Structure of Hypnosis, ISBN 0-911226-23-0, 1981

@article Clean Language Questions


Asking powerful questions is a skill that transforms thinking, unlocks potential, and drives meaningful growth. While question-asking comes naturally to children, adults often hesitate to inquire out of fear, assumptions or social conditioning. However, questions reveal greater truths and new possibilities. Crafting questions that challenge preconceived notions requires courage and an open mind.

Powerful questions catalyze innovation, shape the future, and lead to profound insights. They demolish stale paradigms and make space for updated perspectives. Questions that spark introspection and reshape worldviews distinguish great thinkers and leaders. Rather than accepting limiting beliefs, they inquire “Why not?” to expand boundaries.

Progress relies on questioning the status quo through mindful inquiry. Insightful questions illuminate untapped potential and unknown possibilities. The quest for truth and higher purpose necessitates asking bolder, more penetrating questions versus settling for surface-level answers. Harnessing the transformative power of inquiry leads to wiser decision making and greater achievements. Though often arduous, questioning one’s beliefs is the only path to self-improvement. Growth depends on seeking out unfamiliar questions and challenging comfortable answers.

📁 Communication 🏷️ Tools Metaphors

Evolving - This article is part of a series.
Part : This Article


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