25 Beautifully Illustrated Thought-Provoking Questions

 Thought Questions

A question that makes you think is worth asking…

At the cusp of a new day, week, month, or year, most of us take a little time to reflect on our lives by looking back over the past and ahead into the future.  We ponder the successes, failures and standout events that are slowly scripting our life’s story.  This process of self reflection helps us maintain a conscious awareness of where we’ve been and where we intend to go.  It is pertinent to the organization and preservation of our dreams, goals and desires.

If you would like to maximize the benefits of self reflection, our new sister site, Thought Questions, is for you.  A new illustrated thought question is posted daily.  We recommend that you read and reread these questions regularly when you have some quiet time to think.  After all, reflection is the key to progression.

Remember, these questions have no right or wrong answers.  Because asking the right questions is the answer.

Here’s a sample of 25 recent thought questions posted on the site:


Thought Questions 1


Thought Questions 2


Thought Questions 3


Thought Questions 4


Thought Questions 5 [Read more…]

9 Timeless Nutrition Tips for Any Age

Timeless Nutrition Tips

This guest post was written by Nicole, author of My Years Without Sugar.

Your health is your life.  Make it a priority.

There are a zillion nutrition tips floating around out there.  Here are a few simple ones that have worked well for me over the years.

  1. Limit junk food or don’t eat it at all. – Whatever junk food you have in your kitchen, throw it out and replace it with healthy foods and snacks.  Look into other ways to comfort yourself and think of food as nutrition, not entertainment or emotional fodder.
  2. Go on a healthy food shopping spree. – Don’t look at prices.  Buy items that are healthy and appealing.  Fill your cupboards, pantry and fridge with healthy foods so you will not feel like your kitchen is empty.
  3. Limit eating out. – Most restaurant food has high amounts of sodium, sugar and fat.  There are few exceptions.  Spend more time with family or friends cooking together, or enjoy cooking for yourself.
  4. Visit a farmer’s market. – Because farmers markets make buying healthy food fun and interesting.  Most of the produce will be freshly picked, and taste heavenly compared to the refrigerated and thawed produce we get at grocery stores.  Many farmer’s markets have healthy homemade jams, local honey, hot sauce, or pickled this and that.
  5. Cut out the white stuff.Sugar has zero nutrition.  Cut out high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, too.  Sugar is linked to the growing obesity epidemic in the US and the rising rates of diabetes.  It is also linked to heart disease, which remains the number one killer of people in the US.  Use natural sweeteners in baking like raw honey, date sugar or molasses, which retains high amounts of nutrients.
  6. Exercise.  – No level of nutrition can make up the difference for lack of exercise.  Walking counts, as does taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard’s School of Public Health places exercise at the foundational base of his food pyramid.
  7. Eat at a table. – According to Michael Pollan’s latest book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, “No, a desk is not a table.  If we eat while we’re working, or while watching TV or driving, we eat mindlessly, and as a result eat a lot more than we would if we were eating at a table, paying attention to what we’re doing.  When eating somewhere other than a table, stick to fruits and vegetables.”
  8. Eat smaller portions by buying smaller plates. – I gave my giant-sized dinner plates to the Salvation Army and bought smaller square plates.  And I eat less because of it.  According to Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, in a study focused on size illusions, “People with a large bowl and a three-ounce scoop dished out 57 percent more ice cream than those given a smaller bowl and smaller scoop.”
  9. Cut out ‘beverages’ and drink water. – Water is free, whereas most beverages come with a price – a health price and a financial price.  One popular 12-ounce soda boasts a whopping 150 calories, and it offers no nutrition.  As a treat, drink tea instead of soda.

Remember, it only takes 21 days of doing something to make it a habit.  So pick one of the tips above and start making it a healthy habit today.

Follow Nicole on her blog, My Years Without Sugar, where she shares tips on escaping the sugar addiction.

Photo by: Craig

It’s Important That We See Things Differently

We See Things Differently

The Same Experience

Last night, my buddy Anthony and I went out to a local bar for some drinks. Once inside, Anthony immediately saw a girl he was interested in. “Watch this,” he said.

He sat down at the bar next to her, smiled, and quickly introduced himself.  But before he could say another word, she asked, “What happened to your eye?”

“Oh, this,” Anthony said as he pointed to his black eye.  “It’s just a small battle wound from a triumphant, athletic victory.”

“Oh,” she replied. “In what sports game?”

“It’s not a game, it’s a battle,” he said with a smirk on his face. “I put my life on the line out there.”

“Oh,” she replied again.  And although Anthony’s extravagant self-proclamations of being a backyard football champ have worked before, they didn’t work at all on this particular girl.  So she turned toward me. “And what do you do for fun?” she asked.

“The same thing, I guess,” I said.

“You battle?”

“Well, I think of football more as a philosophical engagement.  I mean… when I’m competing against others, I try to deduce a series of logical next steps and then take action based on my calculations of weight, technique, past experience, and my gut instincts about how my opponents are engaging in the game.”

She laughed. “With all that extra time spent thinking, you must get clobbered out there.”

“Actually, he’s one of the most athletic players I know,” Anthony interjected, halfheartedly.

“So, how can one of you battle while the other philosophizes?” she asked. “Those are two completely different things.”

“Actually, they’re not,” I said. “Just different interpretations of the same experience.”

“Yeah… Marc has had one too many adult beverages,” Anthony quickly intervened. “Sorry about that.”

Then he directed me away from the girl and toward the other end of the bar. “I know you’re married, but I’m trying to make progress with the ladies tonight.  Don’t ever spew that philosophy crap again,” he said. “All it does is scare them away.”

I looked back at the girl from the opposite end of the bar.  We made eye contact and she smiled and winked.

All of Our Lives

In our daily lives, we share common experiences with friends, coworkers, lovers, and complete strangers we cross on the street.  But these experiences are rarely as similar as we expect them to be.

A man and a woman may share a moment.  To her, it’s a gesture of romantic interest, but to him it’s just a friendly, intelligent conversation.  A mother may discipline her teenage son.  To the mother, it’s good parenting, but to her son, it’s oppression.  Two Web 2.0 startup founders may work tirelessly to design a new social networking platform.  To one, the project is about helping people communicate more effectively. To the other, it’s about breaking new technological ground.

We all have different needs, different perspectives, and thus different means for understanding and describing our experiences.  This is why we rarely have the same exact interpretation of a shared experience.

These differences are often cited as the reason relationships don’t work. “We just weren’t meant to be together,” a woman might say.  “My mom doesn’t understand,” a teenager might say.  “Our vision doesn’t seem to be compatible,” one startup founder might say about the other.

But that’s just an easy out. And it’s oftentimes dead wrong.  Such differences can be precisely the reason relationships do work.

If that woman wasn’t initially disappointed by that man, they probably wouldn’t be business partners and good friends today.  If that teenager wasn’t disciplined and nurtured by his mother, he may have decided to get into the car with his drunken friends the night they wrapped it around a telephone pole.  If one startup founder didn’t focus on technology and the other didn’t focus on people, their vision and their work would be far more limited.

It’s important that we see things differently.  Because when our different visions eventually mesh together…

Positive change transpires in all of our lives.

Photo by: Carlo Nicora

Why Our Search for Perfection Fails Us

The Search for Perfect Fails Us

Tonight, over a couple of cocktails, one of my good friends spilled her guts to me about all of her failed attempts to find the perfect lover.  Although her story was about her unique personal experiences, I couldn’t help but feel like I had heard the same story told by others in completely different circumstances a hundred times before.

It’s a story about the endless quest for perfection.  And I think it carries a valuable life lesson, so I’d like to retell it to you in my own words.

The Perfect Woman

Once upon a time, an intelligent, attractive, self-sufficient woman in her late twenties decided that she wanted to settle down and find a husband.  So she journeyed out into the world to search for the perfect man.

She met him in New York City at a bar in fancy hotel lobby.  He was handsome and well spoken.  In fact, she had a hard time keeping her eyes off of him.  He intrigued her.  It was the curves of his cheek bones, the confidence in his voice, and the comfort of his warm, steady hands.  But after only a short time, she broke things off.  “We just didn’t share the same religious views,” she said.  So she continued on her journey.

She met him again in Austin a few months later.  This time, he was an entrepreneur who owned a small, successful record label that assisted local musicians with booking gigs and promoting their music.  And she learned, during an unforgettable night, that not only did they share the same religious views, he could also make her laugh for hours on end.  “But I just wasn’t emotionally attracted to him,” she said.  So she continued on her journey.

She met him again in Miami at a beachside café.  He was a sports medicine doctor for the Miami Dolphins, but he easily could have been an underwear model for Calvin Klein.  For a little while, she was certain that he was the one.  And all of her friends loved him.  “He’s the perfect catch,” they told her.  “But we didn’t hang in the same social circle, and his high profile job consumed too much of his time,” she said.  So she cut things off and continued on her journey.

Finally, at a corporate business conference in San Diego, she met the perfect man.  He possessed every quality she had been searching for.  Intelligent, handsome, spiritual, similar social circles, and a strong emotional connection – perfect.  She was ready to spend the rest of her life with him.  “But unfortunately, he was looking for the perfect woman,” she said.

The Story of Our Lives

As human beings, we often chase hypothetical, static states of perfection.  We do so when we are searching for the perfect house, job, friend, or lover.

The problem, of course, is that perfection doesn’t exist in a static state.  Because life is a continual journey, constantly evolving and changing.  What is here today is not exactly the same tomorrow.

That perfect house, job, friend, or lover will eventually fade to a state of imperfection.  Thus, the closest we can get to perfection is the experience itself – the snapshot of a single moment held forever in our minds – never evolving, never growing.

So rather than chasing an imaginary perfection, let’s  start chasing life by flipping past the imperfections found on the cover of every entity we encounter and into the blank pages of possibility waiting beneath the cover that will eventually tell the story of our lives.

With a little patience and an open mind, over time, I bet that imperfect house evolves into a comfortable home.  That imperfect job evolves into a rewarding career.  That imperfect friend evolves into a steady shoulder to lean on.  And that imperfect lover evolves into a reliable lifelong companion.

Photo by: Farfie

8 Simple Steps for Achieving Anything

8 Basic Steps for Achieving Anything

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.
– JW von Goethe

Yes, your goals are within reach.  In fact, achieving them is a simple process.  It just requires commitment and action on your behalf.

  1. Set your sights on a clear goal – What is it specifically that you want to achieve?  Write it down if you have to.
  2. Focus on one thing at a time and pick the next logical task – Ask yourself, “What can I do right now that will bring me one step closer to my desired goal?”
  3. Educate yourself – What knowledge and skills are required to complete the task you chose in step #2?  Keep it simple.  Everything else can be learned along the way.
  4. Start now – Why haven’t you started?  START!!!
  5. Say “NO” to distractions – Is the phone ringing?  Door knocking?  Dog barking?  Unless the house is burning to the ground, IGNORE IT ALL!!!
  6. Review and adjust – Are you making progress?  If yes, see the next step.  If not, why not?  Are there any small adjustments you need to make?
  7. Press on until the task is complete – Revisit steps #5 and #6 as required.
  8. Repeat – Once the task you chose in step #2 is complete, it’s time to repeat all the steps for the next logical task.  Revisit your goal in step #1 so it’s fresh in your mind, choose the next logical task, educate yourself as necessary, etc.

Note:  For complex, long-term goals, I tackle one simple task every day.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Also, I highly recommend these best selling productivity books:

Photo by: Zach Ancell