We have the tendency to unintentionally set concrete limits on ourselves. This doesn’t always happen consciously or on purpose. Oftentimes it happens in the form of ambitious goals that seem productive.

“I will make $100,000 in 2017.”

“I will publish a book by the end of the year.”

On the surface these seem like empowering goals. But deep down, are they really empowering us? Could thinking in finite terms like this be limiting our potential or overwhelming us to the point of inaction?

What if we switched from setting finite goals to asking questions that have infinite answers?

“What could I do to make $100,000 in 2017?”

“If I published a book this year, what would it be about?”

There are infinite answers.

Questions aren’t as concrete as specific goals. They don’t focus on an end goal, they focus on the problem at hand right now. It can be taken in any direction. This means more potential for creativity. This means lower barrier of entry to take action. They lead to more questions, like these ones:

“How many words per day would I have to write to publish it in 2017?” “Is that possible?” “Who would read it?” “How much money would I make from it?” “What would I learn from the experience?” “Would people see me as an authority?” “What would it give me the confidence to try next?”

Thinking in terms of infinite questions opens up endless possibilities. There are no limits to the questions you can ask, and there are no limits to the answers you can find.

In setting finite goals, we naturally highlight the space between us and the goal in our minds. The focus is not on the end goal of making $100,000 that year, it’s on the space between you and that goal. The focus is on your shortcoming. It’s on the negative space between where you are and where you want to be. It’s a big chunk of unrealized potential, and that can be demoralizing.

When we think in questions, there is no end point. The space in focus starts at your question and continues in any and every direction. Then, it’s up to you to pick a direction and run with it. And if you don’t, you haven’t fallen short. You’re exactly where you were. You have lost nothing.

Let your first question lead to another, and to another, and to another. Before you know it, you’re being driven by sheer curiosity and acting on pure creativity.

You have no more limits. You’re not expecting to reach a certain point or to fall short from a specific point.

When you think using finite goals, the downside to action is failure.

When you think using infinite questions, there is no downside to action. Any progress you make is positive. Instead of accomplishing the goal or not, the only outcome is that you find an answer to your question. Either that or it remains unanswered – and not every question is worth answering.

Don’t set goals. They force you to focus on what you haven’t accomplished.

Ask questions. They invite you to engage in your curiosity and create only potentially positive situations.