Be Your Own Genie: Ask These 3 Questions

Whether you were raised with Aladdin, the book, or Aladdin, the movie, you are likely familiar with the notion of a genie or a fairy or some such critter appearing at a critical moment to offer 3 wishes to the hero or heroine.

You are probably also familiar with how those wishes being granted causes things to go sideways.

With that in mind, I offer you the following 3 questions to ask yourself the next time you find yourself in a sticky situation:

  1. What is my state?
  2. What is my role?
  3. What is my next right action?

Where did these 3 questions come from?

The Bhagavad Gita of course! That timeless story of a hero facing an untenable situation and turning to his charioteer (for the purposes of this analogy, the “genie” of the story) for wisdom.

What makes these questions more powerful than wishes? And why is it important to ask them in that order?

You start with your state because if you think back to the last time you made a decision in a state of anger/greed/fear etc., was it your best decision? Were you proud of your words and actions? Were you comfortable with the result?

This is why you must ensure you are centered in yourself—in a state where you have access to your innate wisdom—before you go any further.

Second, consider your role.

In this situation, or you acting as a parent? A spouse? A sibling? A boss? A friend? Each of these ‘roles’ require you to show up in a different way. Having clarity on your role will help you with question three:

What is my next, right action?

The reason this question is third is probably now obvious: without one and two, the action you take has the potential—just like the 3 wishes—to go sideways: to be the result of a runaway emotion, or a mistaken identity.

With those questions answered, however, you have the capacity to recognize that even if the decision is hard, or scary, or seemingly impossible, it is the right one.


For more on the potential of these questions look at “Be Source, Not Result: Press Pause on Shame, Anxiety and Regret”