Ask Yourself the Right Questions, Change Your Life

Laura

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Dr. Travis Bradberry, Coauthor Emotional Intelligence 2.0 & President at TalentSmart

When things aren’t going quite the way you’d like them to, it’s often the result of not asking yourself the right questions. Some questions are hard to confront because you’re afraid you won’t get the answer you want, others because you really don’t want to know the answer.

But the best things in life don’t come easily, and turning away from life’s toughest questions is a sure path to mediocrity. I believe that Socrates said it best:

“The unexamined life isn’t worth living.”

Let’s take a closer look at some of the tough questions we should be asking ourselves regularly.

How do people see me differently than I see myself?

Have you ever heard a recording of your voice and thought, “Is that what I really sound like?” Because of the way the sound of the voice travels through the human skull, we never hear ourselves the same way that everybody else hears us. The same is often true for the way we behave. We interpret our behavior in terms of how we think we come across, whereas everyone else sees the real thing. A 360° assessment is a great way to gain this perspective. It gathers feedback that is constructive, anonymous, and accurate. If you forego the 360 and solicit feedback in person, make certain you ask for feedback that is specific, avoiding broad questions and generalizations. For example, you’re more likely to get an honest and accurate answer to, “How well did I handle myself in the meeting when everyone disagreed with me?” than to, “Am I a good boss?” And be careful to show that you’re receptive to the feedback. If you flip out or get defensive every time somebody speaks their mind, they’re going to stop doing it.

What/whom did I make better today?

That’s another way of saying, “Leave things better than you found them.” Ending each day by asking yourself what or whom you made better is a great way to keep yourself grounded and focused on what really matters.

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.

If I achieved all of my goals, how would I feel? What can I do to feel that way as I work to achieve them?

The ability to delay gratification in pursuit of your goals is one of the most fundamental prerequisites for success, but delaying gratification doesn’t have to mean being miserable until you cross that finish line. You can achieve more—and have more fun doing it—if you let yourself feel some of that pride and pleasure along the way.

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.

In what areas of my life am I settling?

When you settle, you accept less than you’re capable of. Sometimes we settle in dead-end jobs. Other times we settle for unhealthy relationships. If you don’t ask yourself where and why you’re settling, it’s hard to stop it.

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.

What would I do if I wasn’t scared?

From a survival perspective, fear has its purpose. It’s what keeps us from sticking our hand in the washing machine or any of the million other things that could get us hurt or killed. But fear has a tendency to get carried away. Instead of keeping you safe, it keeps you from improving your life and living your dreams.

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.

What problem are we solving?

Have you ever been in a meeting and suddenly realized that not everyone was having the same conversation? Not because people were talking over each other, but because they had different ideas about the purpose of the discussion. Sometimes it helps to put the topic on the whiteboard when you’re having a meeting. This makes certain everyone knows why they’re there.

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.

Will you be my mentor?

It’s an intimidating question to ask, but few people will turn you down. Everyone likes being looked up to, and it feels good to share our knowledge with others.

What’s the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in life? Am I living that lesson?

Sometimes life lulls us back into complacency and we’re forced to learn a powerful lesson twice. The trouble with this is that it’s just as much of a rude awakening the second time around.

_https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/questions-change-your-life-dr-travis-bradberry
 

happyliza

The Living Force
Thànk you for the wake up call re our Aim and ANCHOR. Very sobering reminders for me. When working on various aspects without realizing the basics got lost! I am so not the best 4 d candidate. Nor pretend to be. So many predators and lies to fight and will power to build again and again! So many slips and slides to contend with, recognize and fight it is scary. I am not in control how màny times i still think I am. This reminder proves and shows how many hurdles and obstacles I use and lies, deceptions, false coping mechanisms ànd personal delusions/illusions I still have to fight and overcome to be or get there. It looks seemingly eAsy ànd obvious. But it is not.
 

Rich

The Living Force
Thanks for sharing this Laura, very helpful advice and very true the answers are not what we always want to hear.

I think your introduction to the article: "turning away from life’s toughest questions is a sure path to mediocrity" is how I would answer the question of "What’s the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in life?" Probably it would be that running away or avoiding challenges does not resolve them but makes them worse. Whether it being major life issues or even daily domestic tasks.
Am I living that lesson?
Trying and not always succeeding... Combining that with "What/whom did I make better today?" can be related on a micro level of keeping our living environment in order. It can be tempting to leave the dishes or not keep space tidy and the result being we create more chaos that accumulates into the next day.

happyliza said:
Thànk you for the wake up call re our Aim and ANCHOR. Very sobering reminders for me. When working on various aspects without realizing the basics got lost! I am so not the best 4 d candidate. Nor pretend to be. So many predators and lies to fight and will power to build again and again! So many slips and slides to contend with, recognize and fight it is scary. I am not in control how màny times i still think I am. This reminder proves and shows how many hurdles and obstacles I use and lies, deceptions, false coping mechanisms ànd personal delusions/illusions I still have to fight and overcome to be or get there. It looks seemingly eAsy ànd obvious. But it is not.
Very true and you're not alone there. It isn't easy at all!
 
Laura said:
What’s the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in life? Am I living that lesson?

Sometimes life lulls us back into complacency and we’re forced to learn a powerful lesson twice. The trouble with this is that it’s just as much of a rude awakening the second time around.
What’s the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in life? Am I living that lesson?

The most important lesson I’ve learned in life is to say NO and mean it. Am I living that lesson? Absolutely yes.

Another important lesson I’ve learned . . . and am still learning . . . is that pretty much everything I learned in school, at home, in church, in society, in the news was a darn lie. To be more critically analytical when I hear or read whatever’s coming through the airwaves. Am I living that lesson? Yes. By reading SOTT for one thing. By becoming a member of this Forum and reading so much of the material written by Laura & others. By applying and employing as much critical thinkng as I’m capable of doing. And my AIM is to continually improve step-by-step.

Another important lesson I’ve learned is that psychopaths exist . . . intraspecies predators preying on us all. Am I living that lesson? Yes. My ability to discern the use of manipulation tactics, pity-ploys, and other ulterior motives is getting better. Especially when reading the news articles and news analysis on SOTT & other sites or blogs. Helping me to SEE through many more of the masks and subterfuges and nefarious deceptions being used against us.

Other important lessons are that I’m not as smart as I thought I was . . . that I don’t know as much as I thought I knew . . . that I’m not seeing as well or as clearly as I thought I saw . . . that I’m not who or what I thought I was . . . that I’m not one I . . . that my reading instrument is faulty . . . that I make assumptions (and I thought I didn’t do that!) . . . and on and on and on. Am I living those lessons? Not nearly as well as I want to do. The good thing is that I do have this Forum to help me correct all those defects. And I’ve learned that this Network actually does exactly and precisely what it AIMS to do. Help us see our inner and outer world objectively. And by doing that, we’re more able to give back and serve other members better.

On a slightly different tangent, the art of asking the right questions, not only of ourselves but of others too, is something I’m finding very helpful in helping others find answers to their own dilemmas and problems. My tendency was to want to supply them with answers. But I’m seeing that approach is way too STS. It’s more important that they discover their own answers. The tricky part is asking the right questions that trigger their own thought processes towards getting out of their thought loops which end in a stalemate dead zone.

Thanks so much for posting this, Laura. It’s made me think of so many things I’ve been learning since encountering your Work and this School and filling me with an abundance of gratitude for all that y’all do to help us get out of the soup.

Muchos Mahalos! :)
 

Konstantin

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FOTCM Member
Laura said:
What’s the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in life? Am I living that lesson?
The most important lesson is that i`ve learned is that nothing i see, or i perceive is as it looks like, That there are tons of lies that are trying to mask the real face of many things in nature,in ourselves in science and everywhere. Thanks to psychopaths, this reality is a total illusion and ignorance. That if we want to even scratch all this lies we must ask the right questions all the time , to try to be aware as much as we can, and if we want to do that on the right way we must know ourselves, our machines.
I`m trying to live that lesson every day, and its very hard, but also very interesting.
:)
 

nicklebleu

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Konstantin said:
Laura said:
What’s the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in life? Am I living that lesson?
The most important lesson is that i`ve learned is that nothing i see, or i perceive is as it looks like, That there are tons of lies that are trying to mask the real face of many things in nature,in ourselves in science and everywhere. Thanks to psychopaths, this reality is a total illusion and ignorance. That if we want to even scratch all this lies we must ask the right questions all the time , to try to be aware as much as we can, and if we want to do that on the right way we must know ourselves, our machines.
I`m trying to live that lesson every day, and its very hard, but also very interesting.
:)
That's probably one of the most important lessons that I have learned as well. Am I living it? Unfortunately I sometimes still get roped in by 'reality' and often realise only somewhat later that this was the case. But I guess it's a matter of developing the knowledge and discernment to be able to preempt this from happening.

The other thing that comes to mind is: "There's only one person that is responsible for my fate - and that's me! There's no-one else to blame!" I think I have come to pretty much live that (at least most of the time).
 

Nico

Jedi Council Member
The lesson of the moment ?
Complaining is a dead-end, but suppression is a dead-end too. Using the mind and plunge into that 'i' complaining to clear it up is the only thing that gives your power back. Fear and depression "seems" horrible, terrible, insurmountable but the only way to get pass from it is to go through it. In the process there's a lot of dead-ends but with faith and persistence it's maybe possible to get out of the labyrinth... Though I'm not feeling that way in this very moment :/
 

luc

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Nico said:
The lesson of the moment ?
Complaining is a dead-end, but suppression is a dead-end too. Using the mind and plunge into that 'i' complaining to clear it up is the only thing that gives your power back. Fear and depression "seems" horrible, terrible, insurmountable but the only way to get pass from it is to go through it. In the process there's a lot of dead-ends but with faith and persistence it's maybe possible to get out of the labyrinth... Though I'm not feeling that way in this very moment :/
Hi Nico, that sounds quite stressful! I think I know what you mean by this tension between "complaining" and "suppression" - but this tension can also bring forth something different, a new way of seeing things. Paradoxically, if we are "kind" towards our mind, in the sense that we accept the reality of it, we can become more free of its whims - suppressing it or thinking we can change our mind's contents doesn't really help IMO and causes many problems further down the line.

It's not so much about changing that "complainer" in us, but more about finding a new, different place within us that can observe this complainer and the chaos of our minds, so that we can choose if we want to listen to it or act based on its input, or not. Our mind can be like a bunch of spoiled children babbling nonsense and making demands - we can't really change them, but we can walk out of their room, not identifying with them, and let them be. We can take a deep breath in that new space, and decide if and how we react to those guys. The same goes for our horrible feelings of depression - we can feel them, feel them deeply, yet we do have some choice as to how we react to them, whether we give in to this black heaviness, or whether we manage to say: yes, I'm feeling terrible, but I know it will pass, and I rather take it as a challenge, as a motivation to do something useful, no matter how small, despite how bad I feel.

Besides, if you have complains or feel bad, you can always bring it up in the Swamp if you want more specific advice. Hang in there! :flowers:
 

3DStudent

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
What’s the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in life? Am I living that lesson?

Sometimes life lulls us back into complacency and we’re forced to learn a powerful lesson twice. The trouble with this is that it’s just as much of a rude awakening the second time around.
At least one of the most important lessons I've learned is: "When you hurt yourself, you hurt others." Or put other ways, "When you hurt others you hurt yourself.", "When you help yourself you help others.", and, "When you help others you help yourself." Basically it's about the relationship between yourself and the Universe, and vice-versa. And about responsibility.

It's something that is always being lived, whether conscious or not. I'm still working on helping myself so that I may help others.

Other parts I like were about values, fear, and what's stopping me from doing what I want to do. I think when we fall back into old programs that's when we should ask what our values are. And fear plays a big part of my stagnation, and personality in general. And that's what stops me, because I go into freeze mode, or just become lazy and procrastinate. Thanks, this was interesting to think about!
 

Nico

Jedi Council Member
luc said:
Hi Nico, that sounds quite stressful! I think I know what you mean by this tension between "complaining" and "suppression" - but this tension can also bring forth something different, a new way of seeing things. Paradoxically, if we are "kind" towards our mind, in the sense that we accept the reality of it, we can become more free of its whims - suppressing it or thinking we can change our mind's contents doesn't really help IMO and causes many problems further down the line.

It's not so much about changing that "complainer" in us, but more about finding a new, different place within us that can observe this complainer and the chaos of our minds, so that we can choose if we want to listen to it or act based on its input, or not. Our mind can be like a bunch of spoiled children babbling nonsense and making demands - we can't really change them, but we can walk out of their room, not identifying with them, and let them be. We can take a deep breath in that new space, and decide if and how we react to those guys. The same goes for our horrible feelings of depression - we can feel them, feel them deeply, yet we do have some choice as to how we react to them, whether we give in to this black heaviness, or whether we manage to say: yes, I'm feeling terrible, but I know it will pass, and I rather take it as a challenge, as a motivation to do something useful, no matter how small, despite how bad I feel.

Besides, if you have complains or feel bad, you can always bring it up in the Swamp if you want more specific advice. Hang in there! :flowers:
Thank you Luc, I resonated with what you've said, my life is changing rooms now, noisy to peacefull... But when I get to the relatively peacefull room what get me back to the noisy room is the lack of clear values as 3D student put up.

So you can ask yourself the right questions and come to a resolution that will give you more space and freedom, but it's the persistence that is hard to keep on, I know now if I let myself go for a while, if I want to take a breath in a peace room I can't do it for too long because the noisy persons are used to follow me, and I finish to be in a illusory peace room :/. But it's feasible too :).
 

Mariama

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
One of the most important lessons I've learned so far in life is how little I know. I think I became aware of it about 15 years ago. That is when I became really curious and that hasn't stopped. I love learning, but at the same time I see these big holes in my knowledge. I think this is where these 5 lifetimes that Ark mentioned come in. :D
Also, I wasted a lot of time when I was younger and since I am getting older time is getting more precious, even if it is some kind of illusion. It doesn't mean that I work every minute of the day, because I do need some time off from time to time in order to 'upload' some energy, but I am trying to spend my time wisely.
But maybe the most important lesson of all is that I am learning what love and faith and non-anticipation really mean.
 

MusicMan

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thank you for this thread, Laura. It helps to look into yourself.
"What haven't I taken the time to learn about?" stands out for me.
There is so much knowledge in the Universe to garner, perhaps in the infinity of time I'll learn it all.
I do think it's crazy that I was a technical guy all my working life, working in the electronics field, in some quite cutting edge areas even, and these days I feel inadequate with all the new technology that is springing up around me. For instance I am hopeless with mobile phones. Too ham-fisted perhaps. Anyway that is one problem I am facing, dragging myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century. the thought of not wanting to change, to remain stagnant is always there, and the challenge is to move on.
 

liam1310

Jedi
The biggest lesson Ive learned in life is to take responsibility for my life not to blame others
for the choices Ive made.

Also how I spend my time not to waste it on mundane stuff be wise how I use it and who with.

I think about death a lot lately.
At a young age my grand father passed away I cried that night alone in my room and kept asking
the question why do people die?

I don't want to live like most people automatically going through life.
I think death scares me I don't want to come back here to this planet, but its also a hugh motivator to change myself become a better person
do what I can for others but first I have to take responsibility for myself and my situation, which I am doing.

Doing things around the apartment like washing up after myself hanging up my clothes cleaning etc.
I used to just let things pile up im the ill do it later type of person, this just annoys my partner she likes things to be clean and tidy so Ive learned to take
her into consideration and do what needs to be done not leave it till another time or leave it for my partner to do it which makes for a more peace full environment.

And also not relying on others for my happiness and not caring what others think of me still working on this one but im getting there.

Learning that psychopaths run the world was a hugh one for me.
 
« Ask yourself the right questions, change your life ». Well… simply reading this interesting title raises questions in my mind. Would someone please help me sort out what follows and expand it ?

It is clear that only reasoning of truth can lead to real progress, right questions and of course right actions. I guess that asking yourself the right questions is not the beginning of the chain. Depending on your situation, right questions may not be that obvious. Thinking must precede, and complete acceptation too. Here come my questions :

- Is there a “best way” to accept your situation and analyze it with sincerity/objectivity and humility. I do not want to fall in the trap of changing the question if I do not like the answer.
- How can I know if I’m being true to myself and not reasoning with biases and expectations ? I do not want to be a guy who thinks that he is thinking.
- Taking action should gradually lead to a new situation with a corresponding new set of right questions, and so on. Correct ?

It may be interesting to insert quotes here :

A: Service to others. Notice that the people with the most problems that always talk only about themselves and their troubles, are the ones who do and give the least. They do not have confidence in the universal law of LIFE: Get things moving and you create a vacuum in your life into which energy can flow.
“Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds -- justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can't go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.”
― Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat
I hope I’m being clear and not off the topic. Have a nice weekend all.
 
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