Life Skills Specific

Asking yourself a few questions… could change your life

One of my friends (and a big thank you to her) pointed a blurp on CNN that referred to an article out to me that was written by Ms. M Beck who also writes for Oprah.  She starts out by saying that if you are like most people, you became obsessed with questions around the age of two or three… and scientists now know that continuing to ask them can help keep your mind nimble however old you eventually become.  My mind should remain nimble forever as I never quit questioning.  So what questions could change your life???  She sent out surveys everywhere and to everybody and culminated them into the following list – starting with an obvious:

  • What questions should I be asking myself? At first this question seemed redundant, but it really isn’t.  Without this question, you wouldn’t ask any others, so it gets top billing.  It creates an alert, thoughtful mind state, ideal for ferreting out the information you most need in every situation.  Ask it frequently.  Really do this… it is a very, very, very good starting point.  Ms. Beck has a very good starting point….
  • Is this what I want to be doing?  This very moment is, always, the only moment in which you can make changes.  Knowing which changes are best for you come, always, from assessing what you feel.  Ask yourself many times every day if you like what you are doing.  If the answer is no, start noticing what you would prefer.  Thus begins the revolution. (Yes, it really can be a revolution….)
  • Why worry? These two words, considered sincerely, can radically reconfigure the landscape of your mind.  Worry rarely leads to positive action; it is just painful, useless fear about hypothetical events, which scuttles happiness rather than ensuring it.  Some psychologists say that by focusing on gratitude, we can shut down the part of the brain that worries. It actually works!
  • Why do I like (cupcakes) more than I like (people)? Feel free to switch out the words in parenthesis.  You may like TV more than exercise or bad boys more than nice guys or burglary more than reading.  Whatever the particulars, every person has something he/she likes more than the something she is supposed to like.  But forcing “virtues”… trying to like people more than cupcakes — drives us to vices that offer false freedom from oppression.  Stop trying to like the things you don’t like and many vices will disappear on their own.    Spend a bit of time on this one…. It is actually pretty fun…
  • How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it? Your existence is already a factor in world history – now, what sort of factor do you want it to be?  I know we have talked about his A LOT…maybe you know you are here to create worldwide prosperity, a beautiful family or one really excellent bagel.  If our impressions are more vague, keep asking this question.  Eventually you will glimpse clearer outlines of your destiny.  Live by design, not by accident.
  • How do I want to be different because I lived in this world? In small ways or large, your life will change the world – and in small ways or large, the world will change you.  What experiences do you want to have during your brief sojourn here?  Make a list.  Make a vision board. Make a promise.  This won’t control your future, but it will shape it.
  • Are (vegans) better people? Again it doesn’t have to be vegans, the parenthesis are for you to fill in.  Substitute the virtue squad that makes you feel worst about yourself, the one you will never have the discipline to join, whether it is ultra-marathoners or mother who never raise their voices.  Whatever group you are asking about, the answer to this question is NO.
  • What is my body telling me….???? As stated many times, my mind is a two-bit whore – by which I mean that my self-justifying brain, like any self-justifying brain, will happily absorb beliefs based on biases, ego gratification, magical thinking or just plain error.  The body knows better.  It is a wise capable creature.  It recoils form what is bad for us and leans into what is good.  Let it help you….  This has been our mantra for many, many years…. (Now just to always follow it, huh?)
  • How much junk could a chic chick chunk if a chic chick could chuck junk? (I loved this question so I copied it verbatim…. )  I believe this question was originally posed by Lao Tzu, who also wrote, “To become learned, each day add something.  To become enlightened, each day drop something. Face it.  You would be better off without some of our relationships, many of your possession and most of your thoughts.  Chuck your chic-chick (or whatever the male equivalent is) junk, chic chick…. Enlightenment awaits.
  • What is so funny? Adults tend to put this question to children in a homicidal-sounding snarl, which is probably why as you grew up, your laughter rate dropped from 400 times a day (for toddlers) to the grown-up daily average of 15.  Regain your youth by laughing at every possible situation.  Then, please, share….. with someone…. Have fun…. Seriously…. Laughing is my favorite exercising…
  • Where am I wrong?  This might well be the most powerful question on our list – as Socrates believed, we gain our first measure of intelligence when we first admit our own ignorance.  Your ego wants you to avoid noticing where you may have bad information or unworkable ideas.  But you will gain far more capability and respect by asking where you are wrong than by insisting you are right.
  • What potential memories am I bartering and is the profit worth the price?  I once read a story about a world where people sold memories the way we can sell plasma.  The protagonist was an addict who had pawned many memories for drugs but had sworn never to sell his memory of falling in love.  His addiction won.  Afterward he was unaware of his loss, lacking the memory he had “sold”. But for the reader, the trade-off was ghastly to contemplate.  Every time you choose social acceptance over your heart’s desires or financial gain over ethics or your comfort zone over the adventure you were born to experience, you are making a similar deal….  Hmmmmm… don’t!!!!
  • Am I the only one struggling not to (fart) during (yoga)?
  • I felt profoundly liberated when this issue was raised on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update”. Not everyone does yoga, but SNL reminded me that everyone dreads committing some sort of gaffe.  Substitute your greatest shame-fear; crying at work, belching in church, throwing up on the president, etc.  Then know you aren’t stone.  Everyone worries about such faux pas and many have committed them.  Accepting this is a bold step toward mental health and a just society.
  • What do I love to practice? Some psychologists believe that no one is born with any particular talent and that all skill is gained through practice. Studies have shown that masters are simply people who have practiced a skill intensely for 10,000 hours or more.  That requires loving – not liking – what you do.  If you really want to excel, go where you are passionate enough to practice.  I am finally learning to take photographs without using a PHD (push here dummy) automatic focus….  No matter how much I read and study… just taking photos… more and more and more photos is what has taught me how to do it….. so I really “get “ this one…
  • Where could I work less and achieve more? To maximize time spent practicing your passions, minimize everything else.  These days you can find machines or human helps to assist with almost anything.  Get creative with available resources to find more time in your life and life in your time.
  • How can I keep myself absolutely safe?  Ask this question just to remind yourself of the answer.  You can’t.  Life is inherently uncertain.  The way to cope with that reality is not to control and avoid your way into a rigid little demi- life, but to develop courage.  Doing what you long to do, despite fear, will accomplish this….  And, as we say – do the gold light exercise… then – go for it… live life!!!
  • Where should I break the rules?  If everyone kept all the rules, we would still be practicing cherished traditions like child marriage, slavery and public hanging.  The way humans become humane is by assessing from the heart, rather than the rule book, where the justice of a situation lies.  Sometimes you have to break the rules around you to keep the rules within you.
  • So say, I lived in that fabulous house in Tuscany with untold wealth, a gorgeous, adoring mate and a full staff of servants, then what???  We can get so obsessed with acquiring fabulous lives that we forget to live.  When folks ask themselves this question, they almost always discover that their “perfect life” dreams are already available.  Sharing joy with loved ones, spending time in nature, finding inner peace, writing your novel, plotting revenge…. You can do all these things right now… so BEGIN!!!
  • Are my thoughts hurting or healing me?  Your situation may endanger your life and limbs, but only your thoughts can endanger your happiness. Telling yourself a miserable mental story about your circumstances creates suffering.  Telling yourself a more positive and grateful story, studies show, increases happiness.  Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, choose thoughts that knit your hear together, rather than tear it apart.
  • Really truly: Is this what I want to be doing?  It has been several seconds since you asked this of yourself.  Ask it again.  Not to make yourself petulant or frustrated, just to see if it is possible to choose anything and I mean any little thing that would make your present experience more delightful.  Thus continues the revolution…..  Go for it….  what do you want?????

A huge thank you to one of my friends that suggested this topic…. I am going to spend some time pondering these, and perhaps having some action pieces…. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, coffee first….

2 thoughts on “Asking yourself a few questions… could change your life”

  1. Wow Diane, a lot to think about. Hope you are healing quickly. Have a fabulous day!

  2. Busy, busy week … and again I’m happy I’m going back to read the week’s entries, Diane!

    This one is great, and I may need to come back & read it again next week. Lots of GREAT questions, and yup reading & writing this is exactly what I want to be doing now. Thanks!

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