There’s an insidious and deadly disease threatening all entrepreneurs, high-achievers, and elite level performers.

Can you guess what it is?

It’s not the rising cost of Facebook advertising. It’s not the crazy influx of new competitors. It’s not even the rise of corporate behemoths who are squeezing out the little guys.

It’s information overload.

For the first time in human history, more information is published in a single day than any sane person could consume in an entire lifetime. This unprecedented access to new information has led many would-be high-achievers to become mired in a never ending pile of things to learn, books to read, and courses to complete.

They become trapped in a reality filled with plenty of motion (aka busyness) but almost no momentum (real progress towards your goals), constantly feeling stuck and paralyzed by the sheer abundance of possible decisions and action steps.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Tony Robbins, the famous personal development and peak performance guru once noted that, “The quality of someone’s life is generally in direct proportion to the quality of the questions that they ask themselves on a daily basis.” If you can learn to ask the right questions, the answers become surprisingly easy and achieving sustainable momentum is all but guaranteed.

To combat information overwhelm and 10X the quality of your life and the success of your business, you must learn to separate the wheat from the chaff and focus only on the information and actions that will yield the highest return possible.

Today, I’ve compiled a quick list of 9 questions to help you do exactly that.

Whether you’re struggling to find the right business idea amidst an endless sea of new opportunities or find yourself unable to focus on the critical leverage points required to scale your existing business, the following questions will force you to sit back and think deeply about what really matters.

Interested? Then read on.

1. What is the biggest problem in my own life that I’m trying to solve?

All too often, “wantrepreneurs” become bogged down by so many good business ideas that they are unable to execute any of them. They falsely believe that, for a business to be successful, they must revolutionize their industry and create value on a scale previously unknown to mankind.

You don’t.

To find the right business idea, you simply need to ask yourself one question:

What is the biggest problem in my own life that I’m trying to solve?”

Ten times out of ten, you will find that thousands (if not millions) of other people are facing that exact problem. If you can find a way to scratch your own itch, you can bring that solution to the market and generate massive profits in the process.

2. If I had to build a 7-figure business in the next 12 months using only the information I already have, what would I do?

Entrepreneur and eccentric millionaire, Derek Sivers,  once shared a quote that completely shifted my existing paradigm and belief about the value of new information.

He said: “If more information were the answer, we’d all be billionaires with six-pack abs.”

And you know what? He’s right.

When you force yourself to figure out how you would build a 7-figure business using only what you know today, you will realize that you likely can build the business of your dreams with the knowledge you already have. The key is execution, not more information.

3. What skills and traits do others most admire in me?

Humans are notoriously lousy at the art and science of self-awareness. We have too many cognitive biases and error-filled mental loops to accurately look at and assess the skills and “natural” traits we possess that could be monetized.

Oftentimes, we assume that because something comes easy to us, it’s naturally easy for others. We’re wrong.

By flipping the script and asking yourself what skills and traits other people notice about you, you can quickly uncover what Robin Sharma calls, your “area of genius.” Once you have found the answer to this question, figuring out how to monetize your natural skills and abilities will become easy.

4. If I had a gun to my head and had to achieve my 10-year goals in only 6 months, what would I do?

This question is an all time favorite of mine that comes from Peter Diamandis, the Founder of Xprize. It’s easy to forget that our thoughts and actions tend to rise to the level of the goals and obligations. Without consistently pushing ourselves to do bigger and better things, we will remain complacent and stuck in our current state.  

By forcing yourself to answer this question (and trust me, it’s not an easy one), you will also force yourself to expand your current views on reality. If you had no other choice but to achieve your wildest, loftiest, and most ambitious 10-year goals in the next six months, how would you do it?

Who would you hire? What systems would you put in place? How aggressive would you be with your advertising? How many hours would you work?

The point of this question is not to actually achieve your 10-year goals in six months, but rather to force yourself to think bigger and uncover the hidden points of leverage that could help you scale your efforts faster than you currently believe possible.

5. If I could only work 3 hours a day on my business, what would I have to outsource or eliminate?

In his instant cult classic, “The 4-Hour Work Week,” Tim Ferriss asks the question, “If I could only work two hours a week on my business, what would I do?” Personally, I find a two-hour work week a bit restrictive.

If you’re a freelancer, self-employed, or in the startup stages of your business, this simply isn’t a pragmatic question. It’s (quite literally) impossible for many of us to accomplish all of our necessary weekly tasks in only two hours a week.

But three hours a day? That might just be doable. If you were limited to working only 15 hours a week, how would you spend those hours? What tasks would you outsource? What productivity tricks would you implement? How would you ensure that you could continue to thrive and survive if you were no longer able to spend 40-plus hours a week on your work?

6. What would this look like if it were simple?

All too often we overcomplicate the heck out of our goals. Whether we’re trying to start or scale a business, spend more time with our families, or simply get in better shape, the sheer amount of information available to us leads to paralysis by analysis and a deadly dose of over complication.

But what would it look like if it were simple? What if you didn’t need to have 20 different sales funnels and upsells? What if you just needed one? What if you didn’t need a crazy diet and a 12-hour-per-week workout regimen? What if you just needed to eat less and move more? If you had to simplify your biggest goals and aspirations into only 2-3 action steps, what would they be? How could you cut through the noise and focus only on what is important?

7. How could other people in my network solve this problem for me?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Ready? Here it is. You don’t have to solve all of your problems. There are other people in your network who can solve your problems for you or, at the very least, show you the easiest possible solution.

Struggling to find new leads for your business? Who do you know in your network who would be willing to run an affiliate promotion to help you improve lead flow? Do you have an abysmal closing rate? What sales ninjas do you know who could do the job for you? How can you solve the biggest problems in your business and life without doing any of the heavy lifting yourself?

8. If success took me 3x as long as I currently anticipate, would I still do this?

Many entrepreneurs will dive headfirst into a new venture or business idea assuming that success will come easily. It rarely does. If you’re stuck in the ideation phase of your business and want to figure out the best possible idea to run with, ask yourself, “If this took me 3x as long as I currently anticipate, would I still do it?”

Are you so excited and passionate about the mission of your new business that you are willing to stick with the idea for 3-10 years? Or do you dread the thought of spending the next decade in the same industry and are simply hoping for an easy home run?

9. If I could only solve one problem in the next 12 months to create the biggest positive impact in my life and business, what would it be?

When I’m struggling to identify the most important action steps that I can take to improve the quality of my life, I’ll often sit back and ask myself, “If this were the only problem I solved in the next 12 months, would I be happy with the outcome?”

All too often we are faced with so many problems (or perceived problems) that we spread ourselves a mile wide and an inch deep. We move millimeters in 20 different directions instead of moving a mile in one.

By asking yourself the question detailed above, you’ll be forced to really consider what’s holding you back from the life you want and what you need to do to fix it. Do you really need to schedule your days more effectively, or do you need to clean up your diet and begin exercising so that you have the energy to adhere to your schedule more closely?

Is another high-ticket client really the answer to your financial struggles? Or would you be better off creating a new stream of residual income that makes you money while you sleep? The more time and thought you give to this question, the better equipped you’ll be to focus on the most important actions that will actually move your life forward and create momentum, not just motion.

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In the era of unlimited information, it’s easy to get bogged down in details and minutiae that don’t actually move your life forward. By learning how to ask yourself more empowering questions, you’ll be able to silence the noise around you and focus only on the things that are truly important.

Eliminate information overwhelm and focus on the most important tasks with this millionaire-vetted morning routine.

Sign up now to get our FREE Morning Routine guide—the #1 way to increase productivity, energy, and focus for profitable days. Used by thousands of fitness, business, and finance industry leaders to leapfrog the competition while making time for the people who really matter. Learn more here.

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Austin Gillis

After dropping out of college at 18, Austin set out to travel the world and turn his passion for writing into a full time income. Today, he's succeeded at his goal and is the Editor for Early to Rise, Director of Content for Knowledge for Men, and the writer behind austingillis.com (obviously). When he isn't exploring new cities, writing game-changing content, or devouring the latest stack of books, you'll find him nestled in the mountains with his girlfriend and one year old Pomeranian, Zelda.

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