10 questions that will change your life
If you're like most people, you became obsessed with questions around the age of two or three, and scientists now know that continuing to ask them can help keep your mind nimble however old you eventually become.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the tough questions we should be asking ourselves regularly.
1. Is this what I want to be doing?: This very moment is, always, the only moment in which you can make changes. Knowing which changes are best for you comes, always, from assessing what you feel. Ask yourself many times every day if you like what you're doing. If the answer is no, start noticing what you'd prefer. Thus begins the revolution.
2. How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it?: Your existence is already a factor in world history -- now, what sort of factor do you want it to be? Maybe you know you're here to create worldwide prosperity, a beautiful family, or one really excellent bagel. If your impressions are more vague, keep asking this question. Eventually you'll glimpse clearer outlines of your destiny. Live by design, not by accident.
3. Am I being true to my values?: Do you ever get that nagging feeling that something is a little off in your life? This often happens when little behaviors creep up on you that violate your values. If spending quality time with your family is one of your primary values, but you keep staying late at work, there’s a conflict. If you want that nagging little voice to go away, you’re going to have to do something about it.
4. What is my body telling me?: As I often say, my mind is a two-bit whore -- by which I mean that my self-justifying brain, like any self-justifying brain, will happily absorb beliefs based on biases, ego gratification, magical thinking, or just plain error. The body knows better. It's a wise, capable creature. It recoils from what's bad for us, and leans into what's good. Let it.
5. What haven’t I taken the time to learn about?: It’s a big world out there, and it’s getting bigger all the time. Scientists have theorized that it once took 1,500 years for the accumulated knowledge in the world to double; now it only takes a year or two. Don’t get caught behind.
6. What’s stopping me from doing the things that I should be doing?: It’s easy to shrug your shoulders and say, “I don’t know what to do,” but that’s just an excuse. Most of the time, we know exactly what we should be doing; we just aren’t willing to move the obstacles out of the way.
7. How can I keep myself absolutely safe?: Ask this question just to remind yourself of the answer: You can't. Life is inherently uncertain. The way to cope with that reality is not to control and avoid your way into a rigid little demi-life, but to develop courage. Doing what you long to do, despite fear, will accomplish this.
8. Are my thoughts hurting or healing?: Your situation may endanger your life and limbs, but only your thoughts can endanger your happiness. Telling yourself a miserable mental story about your circumstances creates suffering. Telling yourself a more positive and grateful story, studies show, increases happiness. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, choose thoughts that knit your heart together, rather than tear it apart.
9. Who has qualities that I aspire to develop?: When people have qualities that you admire, it’s a great exercise to reflect on these qualities and think about ways that you can incorporate them into your repertoire.
10. What do I want my life to be like in five years?: Lewis Carroll once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” The corollary is that, once you have your destination in mind, you can plan your route. Five years is the perfect timeframe: It’s not so far in the future that you can’t imagine yourself there, but it’s not so close that you can’t do anything about it.