Tuesday, November 8, 2011

20 questions

The questions we ask define the lives we lead. Simple, well formed questions can elicit revealing answers. These, in turn, stir up strong emotions that often prompt decisive actions (or inactions), followed by unexpected results. Ask small questions and you’ll get small results. Big questions, on the other hand, can be dangerous. You never know where they’ll take you.

Introspection doesn’t come naturally to people who would rather act and simply get things done. I understand that impulse, and have lived most of life among the ranks of the do-ers. In the time I’ve lived in the slow lane I’ve learned that self-reflection is its own reward. It takes you places you can't get to with frequent flyer miles. Asking questions and then earnestly seeking answers will tell you things about yourself and others that would otherwise remain obscure or merely guessed-at.

I’ve listed below some of my favorite "big questions." Many of them will be familiar, but I’m hoping some will be new to you. These are questions I’ve asked myself and have on occasion asked others. It’s important we do both. We are shaped by what we learn from others, and never so much as when there's a genuine and vigorous exchange of ideas. Never be afraid to ask.

So here goes…

1.     What is the meaning of life?
2.     What is your purpose in life? Why do you exist?
3.     Who are you? What makes you who you are?
4.     Why is there something instead of nothing?
5.     Is there an absolute standard of moral value?
6.     Who or what is God?
7.     What are you most grateful for in life?
8.     What are your values? What do you represent?
9.     Have you achieved in life so far what you’d hoped for?
10.  If you had one year left to live, what would you do?
11.  What would you do today if there was no tomorrow?
12.  What advice would you give to yourself five years ago?
13.  What do you have to live for?
14.  What do you fear most in life?
15.  What is your life about? What is your story?
16.  In what do you find meaning?
17.  Do you believe in unseen powers?
18.  Is there life after death?
19.  Is there such a thing as heaven?
20.  Where do you find the best pizza in town?
I couldn’t resist that last question. In Corvallis, the answer would be American Dream. As for the meaning of life, I’ll only say I haven’t totally figured that one out yet. Let me know if you have any bright ideas.

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