The Power of the Right Question

Since we basically walk the paths in life prescribed by our questions, it makes sense to ask those which can take us where we want to go. Marilee C. Goldberg, Ph.D.

Are you asking helpful or harmful questions about your trading and when you are trading? Questions are important because they direct your thinking and your energy and ultimately your actions. Answers give you an assemblage of facts, but questions set up the groundwork for those facts. Questions establish your direction.

There are questions that empower and questions that are toxic in life and in trading. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the questions we’re asking, but still they direct the vital focus of the mind.

Some people tend to stay away from asking questions because they are not comfortable with not knowing. Others have a vibrant curiosity and automatically ask questions when confronted with a situation.

The interesting thing about a question is that it not only presupposes an answer, it also presupposes the authenticity of the question. The question sets up a gestalt that ultimately engineers an answer. Wrong question: wrong answer. And the answer seems believable.

If your trading is not going well, ask yourself, “What is the question I need to ask right now?”

Questions are the answer. They lead us out of a morass. Some helpful questions to ask in trading would be the following:

  • What is the market telling me now?
  • What are the probabilities?
  • How can I make my trading better?
  • Have I verified that this method works?
  • What is my risk?
  • Where is my target?
  • Is this a valid signal?
  • Do I have a sound money management policy?
  • Am I following my rules?
  • Is there a better way to do this?

Some unhelpful questions would include the following:

  • What if I lose?
  • What if I’m wrong?
  • What if I can’t succeed as a trader?
  • What will my broker–my wife–my boss think?
  • Why do I always lose? Or worse, why am I such a loser?
  • How can I make this trade work out? (You’re already wrong: get out.)

Remember, there are questions that illuminate; and there are questions that destroy or confuse and stagnate. You have the power to construct the questions that will move your trading forward. Whenever you’re in a quandary or things aren’t going well, ask yourself, “Am I asking the right question here?” What if you could learn to ask yourself questions that will make you a winner over time?