A few years ago, I came across this passage in a New York Times essay on summer by Tim Kreider:
“And I’ll probably still be evading the same truth I’m evading now: that the life I ended up with, much as I complain about it, was pretty much the one I chose. And my dissatisfactions with it are really with my own character, with my hesitation and timidity.”
Really makes you think, huh?
I copied it and saved it in an email draft as a reminder to take control over my own life. To own my choices, and to understand that what I have now is what I have chosen, and what I’ll have in the future is what I’ve yet to choose.
And, then, slowly, my email drafts-as-reminders started to multiply. I kept stumbling across questions — guiding questions, if you will. Questions smart people suggest asking yourself to figure out what you want, how you can do better, and where you want to go.
Questions about all the trappings of adulthood: career, relationships, money, fitness, joy.
Below, find the questions I’ve starred — the ones I’ve meant to ask, but haven’t quite gotten around to (a distinct choice in itself). I hope exposing them to the light outside my drafts folder maybe will help you … or, at the very least, get me to finally sit down and think.
via NYC-based psychotherapist Katherine Schafler, in a post published on Thrive Global.
Schafler was writing about the 'ambition trap' -- the tendency for getting everything we want to make us unhappy.
'The more self-aware you are, the easier it will be for you to distinguish between what you like, and what you actually want to acquire,' she writes. 'But how do we make that distinction? As human beings, we're so used to wanting more as a default mode. More food, more money, more friends, more sex, more stuff, more time, more attention. So how do we start wanting less?'
It starts with the questions posed above.
If you had a magic pill that would let you live the life of your dreams, what would your life look like?
via Ramit Sethi, in a post published on GrowthLab
We all say we want 'more,' writes Sethi, but few of us actually know what 'more' looks like. To get it, we first have to define it. For your answer to this question, he writes, it's better to get specific. Here's Sethi:
• When you woke up, what would your schedule be? What time would you wake up? What would your house look like? (Remember, this is a magic pill. Your life can be whatever you want -- get creative!)
• What would you do for work? What would you do after work? How would you get home? Would you even have to go to the office?
• How much money would you make?What would you do MORE of and what would you do LESS of? What would you do with that money as the ultimate extravagance?
One year from now, two years from now, five years from now, what will I wish I had been learning today?
via Drew Houston of Dropbox, in a post published on Business Insider
It's smart to be 'systematic' about learning, Houston told Business Insider US editor in chief Alyson Shontell on an episode of Business Insider's podcast 'Success! How I Did It.'
'Whether it's just the fundamentals of business or things like public speaking or being more inspiring or being a better leader, these are all things you can get better at with practice. You should set your sights high in terms of what you aspire to do, but you also have to be patient.
'It's like playing an instrument. You're not going to be great as a public speaker, or you're not going to improve a lot in five days, but in five years, you might be really surprised at how much you can improve.'
'What roles do love and affection play in your life?' and 'What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?'
In 2015, a Times Modern Love essay about the 36 questions you could ask to fall in love with anyone was making the rounds. First, author Mandy Len Catron tried it, and then Jones followed up by publishing the study's full list of questions.
For whatever reason, I highlighted these two as good questions to ask a significant other -- not necessarily to fall in love, but to at least work on understanding them better.
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.