What questions do you ask yourself when you need to break through a wall to achieve a goal?

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By aaron

When you are trying to achieve some goal and you hit a wall, what are the questions you ask yourself to help break through the barrier?

I'll start with a few of my own.

1. Is it possible that I already have what I've been asking for?

Sometimes I find that I already have some version of what I've been working to achieve, the problem is that I wasn't specific enough.

2. What are the force multipliers that can help me achieve this goal?

This question is so useful that I don't even wait until I hit a wall before thinking about this. From day one, once I have defined a goal, I like to think about the resources that I have at my disposal that could help me achieve the results I want with a fraction of the work. The problem is that most people think in terms of percentages. They aim for a 10% boost in efficiency. I look for multipliers. I like to look for something that will give me 10x, or 100x more force.

3. If I was trying to achieve this 500 years ago, what would I be trying?

I like this question because it forces me to remove technology from my thinking and get down to the timeless principles that have always worked. Once I have solved for that, then I can come back and use technology as a force multiplier to achieve the same thing with less work or to maximize the impact of my achievement.

4. Amplify the problem. How would I solve this problem if it was 10 times worse?

By exaggerating the problem, it often helps me understand why the problem is a problem in the first place and come up with creative solutions.

5. Amplify the goal. If the goal was 10 times as big, how would I be trying to achieve it?

If you have read this far, you've probably figured out that I am really big on the idea of force multipliers, or leverage. This question helps me think about where to apply that leverage to make it more effective.

6. If someone else was having this problem and asked me for advice, what would I tell them?

The point of this question is to remove myself from the problem. Sometimes I hit a wall because I am missing some skills or personality traits that might be needed to achieve my goal, but that isn't always the case. Instead, I often realize that I already know what I need to do and there is just some reason why I haven't done it yet. Once I've identified the thing that I'm not doing, I usually figure out that it is something I am afraid to do.

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