A Question to Ask the People Who Knock Our Socks Off

When someone does something that knocks our socks off, the question so often asked is, “How did you do it?”

I went to the pool every day, the swimmer says. I practiced and practiced, the pianist says. I wrote each morning, the writer says.

To be honest, those answers don’t give the asker much to work with. We know incredible stuff takes incredible work. But to be fair, that question doesn’t give the responder much to work with.

So here’s a question that gives everyone involved something meaty to work with: “What did you believe that made it possible for you to do what you did?”

“How” is about the outer work the person did; it’s often what we can see, look up, research. Belief, though, is about the inner work the person did. The meaning making and perspective shifts, the mindset techniques and faith refills.

I believed that record needed to be broken, the swimmer says. I believed that I had something to play the world needed to hear, the pianist says. I believed that the sheer act of writing was the victory, the writer says.

The “how” question is like reading an instruction manual: eat these foods, practice at these times, read these authors.

But the “belief” question is seeing what orientation of the head and heart it takes to pull those instructions off the page and apply them in our own life.

So the next time someone knocks our socks off, we can ask them not for their instruction manual, but about their belief system.

The Lightning Notes is funded by kind donors. If something here strikes you, I'd be grateful if you'd consider donating. Click to Donate!