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35 Questions That Will Change Your Life - Jason Nazar, Forbes


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Jason Nazar writes:

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire

“We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.” – Carl Sagan

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

I include my favorites of his reflection questions below.

Self-Awareness

What are you pretending not to know? This was perhaps the most powerful question I was ever asked (by my best friend @bengleib).  All possibilities open up when we stop deceiving ourselves.

Why don’t you do the things you know you should be doing? Life isn’t about figuring out what to do.  The real challenge is (not so) simply doing the things we know we should be doing.

What are your values and are you being true to them? Write down the 3 most important aspects of each of these areas: family, romantic relationships, friends, work, health, sex and spirituality.  These are your values.  When we don’t act congruently with what we value, symptoms of discomfort arise.

In what ways are you being perceived, that you’re not aware of? ­Perception is reality.  Make sure, for better or worse, you know what people really think of you.  (TIP: Watch “How to Persuade People”)

What don’t you know, that you don’t know?It’s always the obstacles that we don’t even see coming that are the biggest challenges in life.  Get in the habit of asking people that have been there and done it before for guidance.

Happiness / Peace of Mind

Are your “shoulds” getting in the way of your happiness? The desires of our ego are often in conflict with the emotions of our heart.  You’ll always have what you want, if you want what you have.

If you achieved all of your life’s goals how would you feel? How can you feel that along the way? The discipline of delayed gratification is one of the most powerful habits of successful individuals. But most actions we take are meant to elicit an emotion in the now.  We’re happier striving for our goals when we let ourselves feel that which we want to feel when our outcome is achieved.

What did I learn today? Who did I love? What made me laugh? I try and ask myself these 3 questions at the end of each day.  Regardless of anything else that happens, if you learned something new, loved a good person and got to laugh heartily, it was a day worth having and remembering.

Perspective

If you weren’t scared what would you do? Use the rocking chair test.  What would your 90-year-old self, looking back on your own life, advise you to do in the moment?  

If you were dying, would you worry about this?  We so easily lose perspective on what takes up our energy and focus.  We’re all dying.  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of this to enjoy living.  (TIP: Read “The Last Lecture” and “Tuesdays with Morrie”)

Should you be focused on today or tomorrow? Savor the present but don’t forget your future.  Life is a balance of knowing when to enjoy the moment vs. when to plant seeds for tomorrow’s harvest.

Influence / Achievement

Why not?  What would happen if…? Don’t accept that things just are the way they are.  Question why something can’t be done.  And when you get pushback to these questions, reframe the negative answers with possibilities.

Steve Jobs vision of the world:

What/Who did you make better today? The way to measure your worth may just be to give more than you take.  Asking what/who you made better each day is a simple litmus test we can all measure ourselves by.

What do you want your life to be in 5 years? If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there – Lewis Carroll.  Write down 5-year goals.  They’re close enough to grasp for, yet far off enough to achieve almost anything.

What can you do today to improve? Consistent, incremental improvement is the secret to achieving the greatest of feats.

Business / Entrepreneurship

What’s your WHY? If you have a big enough WHY you’ll always figure out the What and the How.  If you don’t have a BIG WHY, you’ll always use the What and the How as an excuse for not doing that thing you said you were going to do.

Watch this TED talk: 

More:

http://pandawhale.com/post/2807/how-great-leaders-inspire-action-why-simon-sinek-ted-talk

What’s the one most important thing to get done today/ this week/month? Write this down on a Post-it note at the beginning of each day/week, and hold yourself accountable for completing this above all other Stuff To Do.

Catch-All

What else? Such a simple but powerful question with so may applications.