Over the past semester – I like using school terms – I have gone deep into the space of Solomon. Who am I? What’s really important to me? What is it I want to make out of my life? What excites me? And many, many, many more… Yes, sometimes excessively.
While I took the time to reflect and ask myself different questions that would bring me fulfillment, I came across many questions that I think should be improved, and others that provided the best help.
One of the most common questions I think we ask is, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Honestly, I do not know if elementary schools still ask this question but, if they do, it’s a sure setup for a life full of - what Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mindvalley, would call - bullshit rules.
I remember being asked this question and having so many answers… because I want(ed) to be and do everything. I wanted to be a fireman, a magician, a ball player, and more.
Of course, these fields could be great careers, and the question itself is not wrong but the answers we think – or are taught - we need to answer are limited.
Throughout my time reflecting – and writing, podcasting, job searching – and questioning these questions and beliefs, I became aware of several leaders who invited thinking differently. They offered more joyful, exciting questions that opened me up to the life I really desire to live.
Some of these questions I ask on a monthly basis and some as a part of my daily meditation or journaling.
Here are different questions for different situations or emotions:
For how to approach your life
What positive mark do you want to leave on the world in your life time?
In The Code of the Extraordinary Mind (and a recent Instagram post), Vishen Lakhiani writes about the long, seemingly random jobs he did at various ages. By following his intention with this question, he was more willing to gain valuable knowledge and joy from each position because it was just a piece of the positive mark he is now making.
What would excite me?
In The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss offers a system reset of what it is we really want. “Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness,” he writes “and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. It is cure-all.” I couldn’t agree more.
In an Instagram post, Jay Shetty brings this a little further: the things that excite you are not random. They are connected to your purpose. Follow them.
For a desire to be more productive:
These are from The 4 Hour Work Week with Tim Ferriss
Am I being productive or just active?
What could I be avoiding?
What am I putting off out of fear?
What is it costing me to postpone action?
For having a strong intention:
I came across this question when reading The GPS for the Soul. A truly clear and easy to understand exploration of the Tanya. Written by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Tanya is a guidance relevant to the life of all Jews. It covers the deeper meaning of life, strengthening Jewish knowledge and awareness, and an all-encompassing approach to life.
How can I infuse this activity with a higher purpose?
For visualizing your ideal life:
I often ask myself these questions towards the end of my morning meditation or journaling. I got these questions from Joe Dispenza's Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.
What is the greatest ideal of myself that I can be?
What would it be like to…?
What if I was this person living this reality?
Who in history do I admire and what were his/her admirable traits?
What would help me access my heart more?
For anxious feelings or some discomfort:
What is trying to emerge out of me? Kyle Cease
Am I breathing? Ekhart Tolle
How amazing can this get? Kyle Cease
What Can I learn from this?
Does this make me feel heavier or lighter? Kyle Cease
For morning reflection
What am I grateful for? Be specific… we are all (hopefully) thankful for food and family…it helps me to add senses. For example, I am grateful for the sip of warm coffee and the sweet aromatic tastes and smells of the Mexican Chiapas blend.
What would make today even greater?
What am I grateful for?
What amazing things happened today?
How could I have made today even better? I learned recently more about how the mind works. If we add "even better" to a question, our mind translates it as if the day was already great. On the other hand, merely asking "how could today have been better?" our mind thinks it was not a good day. And all days truly are amazing, no matter how challenging.
I hope these offer some help for you, or provide some great resources. And remember, questions are the answers!