Voltaire, the French writer, historian, and philosopher, preached to judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. He was convinced that asking the right questions will help to get to know someone way better than anything else.
But also asking yourself the right questions will help you to live a more fulfilled life.
By asking thought-provoking questions and giving honest answers, you’ll learn what truly matters. Plus, you’ll be able to set the foundation for a happier and more satisfying life. Or as Carl Sandburg once said:
“It is necessary for a man to go away by himself, to sit on a rock and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?”
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Asking yourself the right questions will allow you to organize your thoughts, dreams, and aspirations and live according to them.
The questions you ask yourself ultimately determine the life you live.
As a mindset and productivity coach, I believe that self-reflection is the holy grail of personal development.
The massive amount of information on how to be more productive, build better habits, or be a better person is useless without self-reflection and shameless honesty.
Becoming your best self and living a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life can be so much easier than most gurus pretend it to be.
At its core, personal growth means asking yourself who you are today, who you want to be tomorrow, and then figuring out what you can do now to get there.
Applying random strategies without proper reflection will never lead to satisfaction. It might even cause frustration because you won’t achieve your desired results despite doing what self-help gurus preach.
Instead of using random strategies, allow your inner desires to unfold.
By asking yourself the following questions over and over again, you’ll discover who you really want to be and what you can do to be that person.
- Who do I want to be?
- What am I grateful for?
- What will I do about the things that matter most?
- Which reality can I accept instead of fighting against it?
- How can I be stronger?
- How can I make someone smile?
- Am I a little better than yesterday?
- Have I protected my planet?
- Have I made healthier choices?
- Have I expressed my love for my family and friends?
- Final Thoughts
Who do I want to be?
Self-reflection is the bridge between who you are now and who you intend to be in the future.
And contrary to common belief, you are not your job or career.
The answer to “Who do you want to be?” can’t be writer, lawyer, soccer player, or scientist.
You are so much more than your profession.
You’re the child of two parents, you’re a friend, you’re probably a partner, a coworker, a sibling, a cousin, a nephew, a citizen, and so much more.
Your character is not defined by your job but by anything else you feel, do, say, and think every single day.
You can choose to be generous, loyal, loving, kind, peaceful, adventurous, cooperative, and optimistic regardless of your profession.
“Remember, what you do, where you go, and what you see will shape who you become.”
— Gary E. Stevenson
We usually develop our character as we go through experiences in life, but we can also choose who we want to be and act accordingly.
Being aware of the person you want to be is the very first step to actually becoming that person.
What am I grateful for?
Life is a constant battle between the good and the bad. We all experience cheerful as well as miserable days, yet even on our worst days, we can practice gratitude.
By waking up today, you’re already more fortunate than those who didn’t.
Too often, we take the most important things for granted: food, shelter, family, education.
But as Eckhart Tolle once said:
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
No matter how bad a day might seem, there’s always something we can be grateful for.
And by reminding ourselves of the beauty we already possess, we can attract even more of it into our lives.
What will I do about the things that matter most?
Too often, we waste our time on urgent things instead of focusing on what’s important.
We do the laundry, respond to every email plus text message, and follow the desires of our fellows, but we forget to do what matters most to ourselves.
That’s why it’s so important to remind yourself of doing more of the things that genuinely matter throughout your days.
Learning to separate the important from the urgent will drastically improve the quality of your life.
Ask yourself how you can reduce the junk and take more time for the things that make your heart dance.
“At least three times every day take a moment and ask yourself what is really important. Have the wisdom and the courage to build your life around your answer.”
― Lee L. Jampolsky
Which reality can I accept instead of fighting against it?
Your life could probably be a whole lot easier if you just accepted certain truths instead of fighting against them.
Too often, we waste time on problems which we can’t influence anyway.
Accepting harsh truths isn’t easy, but it can be a relief.
You can live with more ease if you just let go of the things you can’t control instead of holding on to them.
Sometimes, life is about letting go and moving on instead of improving something.
How can I be stronger?
Most people spend their lives as servants of society instead of living up to their own expectations.
Yet, life is so much more fun and precious if you take care of yourself.
If you don’t take care of yourself, nobody will.
And even on our busiest days, we all can take a few minutes to strengthen our bodies and minds.
Mental and physical health are the foundations of a happy and fulfilled life. And they are both tied to your daily routines.
You can strengthen your body and mind through tiny activities and your daily choices. All you need to do is plan ahead and make some time for the small changes.
“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care fo yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.”
— Many Hale
How can I make someone smile?
According to studies, doing good makes us feel better.
A study in the Journal of Social Psychology, in particular, found that those who practice kindness experience a boost in happiness themselves.
By doing good to others and making your fellows smile, you won’t only make them happier, but also improve your own happiness and satisfaction.
And quite often, it’s the tiny acts that can conjure a smile on somebody’s face.
What about calling your parents or grandparents?
Or leaving a lovely note for your partner?
Or bringing a cake to the office?
Making someone smile doesn’t need to be too complicated. But it can be life-changing.
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
— Chinese Proverb
Am I a little better than yesterday?
Most self-help writers make personal development way more complicated than it actually is.
The ultimate goal of personal development should be helping you to live a better, happier, healthier, and more fulfilled life.
Self-help isn’t here to make you feel burnt out and frustrated. You’re not working on yourself if you’re constantly comparing your results to someone else’s.
Personal growth is all about being a better version of yourself. Better in terms of happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.
Being better can mean taking five more minutes to sip your morning coffee in calmness instead of rushing to work.
It can also mean practicing a 10-minute stretching or meditation routine.
Or calling someone you love.
There’s no definition of being better. It’s up to you to define it and live accordingly.
Have I protected my planet?
As the Dalai Lama once said: It’s our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the world in which we all live.
Being environmentally-conscious can be so much easier than most people believe.
Each day, we chose the products we use, the companies we support, and the decisions we make.
And all these tiny decisions shape the quality of our planet as well as the quality of our lives.
You can take so many tiny steps to save the planet every single day without spending any additional time or money:
- Swap your single-use plastic bottles for a reusable option.
- Use reusable shopping bags.
- Choose shampoo bars over bottled shampoo.
- Reduce your consumption of meat and dairy products.
- Choose non-toxic products in your household.
- Unplug items when they’re not in use.
- Support green businesses.
Making an impact can be so easy if you’re open to changing your habits.
Have I made healthier choices?
At the end of each day, ask yourself if you made healthy choices that will benefit the quality of your life in the long run.
If not, come up with specific ideas on how to live healthier tomorrow.
How can you incorporate more movement into your daily life?
How can you change your diet to benefit your health?
Which other changes can you make?
“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”
— Albert Schweitzer
Have I expressed my love for my family and friends?
Most of the time, it’s not a lack of love and importance but the lack of communication that leads to unhappy relationships.
We often act as if our loved ones would be around forever instead of appreciating their presence now.
We all make mistakes and might hurt each other from time to time, but what matters is showing that you care for someone.
A 5-minute phone call or a text message don’t take much effort, but if practiced regularly, these little acts can strengthen our relationships.
To maximize the benefits of self-reflection, you need to answer difficult questions, even if it feels uncomfortable.
Answering those might sometimes feel painful, but that’s why they are so powerful.
The answers will provoke your mind and force you to find new ways of living according to your dreams and aspirations.
And whenever you ask yourself some of the questions above, keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong answer.
In most cases, the answer is not the solution anyway. How you come up with the answer can be so much more powerful than the answer itself.
Also, allow yourself to give different answers on different days.
Your answers don’t need to be universal or long-lasting. You change every single day and so might your responses.
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