One Question You Should Ask Everyone You Meet

One Question You Should Ask Everyone You Meet

by Bernadette Logue

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living, I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.”

–The Invitation by Oriah

I want to know what your story is…

7 Billion Stories in the World

I don’t care what you do or what you own.  I just want to know who you are.  I want to know your uniqueness, the experiences you’ve had and the learnings you’ve gained.  I want to know your story.

What is your story?  Everyone has one.  No two stories are the same.  There are over 7 billion people in this world and none are like you.  You are unique.  Your entire life journey including your upbringing, challenges, your hard learned lessons, your experiences, achievements and gifts, are all a series of footprints that have brought you to this very moment in time as you read these words.

Every person you walk or drive past on the street has their own story.  Every person in front of you in line at the grocery store has their own story.  Every friend and work colleague in your life has their own story.

The old man who lives up the street and wanders past my house each day has his own story.  The girl on the bus sitting opposite me right now who has tears in her eyes, she has her own story.  The boy in the library who never stops laughing, even when his mother constantly asks him to be quiet, he has his own story too.

Think about the millions of moments, the series of events that leads each person to cross your path.  Who are they really underneath that exterior?  Where did they come from?  What do they long for?  What makes them tick?

Will you ask?

Life is a tapestry of people weaving in and out of your life, people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  Everyone has something to offer and share with you.  Imagine treating every person you encounter, no matter how fleeting, as an intriguing story waiting to be told.  But the story can only be told if someone asks to hear it.  Will you ask?  That person you see standing before you, no matter who they are, young or old, rich or poor, angry or kind, is like a blockbuster movie ready to enthral you.  But, first you have to buy a ticket.

Cocktail Conversations

As I stood in a room full of people at a cocktail party once, I realized that every opening conversation was dominated by this question, “What do you do?”

We seek to understand and define people by their ‘doing’ in the world.  For some reason we categorize and rank people’s worth in this world by what they “do.”

Does what you do matter more than who you are?  No.  What you do is only a small part of who you are.

Do we care about each other enough, and are we interested enough in what we can learn from each other, to stop asking “What do you do?” and start asking “Who are you?  What is your story?”

So, I’d love to ask you something, and I’m not asking a rhetorical question.  I really want to know…

What is your story?

  • Where were you born?
  • Where do you live now?
  • What makes you smile?
  • What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
  • What is your deepest fear?
  • What is your greatest dream for your life?
  • Who are you?

Normalizing the Question

There is only one way that we can normalize this “What is your story?” question in our society.  And that is by starting to ask it, and by each of us individually being willing to answer it wholeheartedly, knowing that the person asking it genuinely wants to know.

Superficial chit chat about what we “do” and what we “own” doesn’t have to dominate our interactions with those closest to us or with complete strangers.

I don’t know you at all.  You’re a complete stranger to me.  But I genuinely want to know your answers.

I’ll go first…

Here’s my story.  I invite you to respond with your answers, supporting a movement to normalize caring more about who people are, than what they do and own.

  • I was born in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • I have no fixed abode, as I sold my house and all my possessions in order to live nomadically.  I’m currently staying in Marlborough, New Zealand with family and I’m working on making Bali the next stop on my adventure.
  • My nephews playing and loudly laughing their little hearts out is what makes me smile the most.
  • The best lesson I’ve learned so far is that being exactly who I am is always more than enough, and comparing myself to others only robs the world of my uniqueness.
  • My deepest fear is risking everything to follow my dream and then failing in the process.
  • My greatest dream for my life is to move with an open mind, traveling and meeting as many people as possible, questioning and discovering as much about the world and life as I can, and continuing to write books and blogs to share those learnings.
  • I’m a spark of divinity, here having a life experience, as I believe we all are.

Your turn…

Please leave a comment below and tell me something true about YOU.

What is your story?

Author Bio:  Bernadette Logue blogs at Pinch Me Living, inspiring you to be who you are and do what you love as a recipe for a life filled with “pinch me” moments.  Sign up for free to get the first 4 chapters of her Kindle bestselling book and her 400+ Powerfully Positive Affirmations audio.  Or follow her on Facebook.

Photo by: Tom


  1. Jackie says

    I was born on a summery day in Perth, Western Australia. I now live in Bunbury, Western Australia.
    Life makes me smile.
    Learning to let go of the negative and embracing the positive. Doing things and surrounding myself with people who make me happy are important life lessons I have learnt over the last few years.
    My deepest fear is losing someone close to my heart.
    My greatest dream is to be happy.
    I am me. There is no one else like me :)

  2. defemicrown says

    I was born in ijebu ode, a town in Ogun state, Nigeria
    …i presently live in Osun state ( schooling purpose)
    …remembering one way that I have putting smile on other people face makes me smile
    …my definition is not what people say about me but how I see myself
    …losing my love ones
    …my greatest dream is to replace the sorrow of every man that may come into my contact with joy.
    …i am god of myself who only av only one supreme God.

  3. Steph Knepper says

    Oh, I would love to know what you know.
    Born in Germany to ARMY parents–army brat(?)
    Lived in a dozen more places.
    Different religion, color, race, birthplace, at our dinner table, every night.
    Mother born and raised in ROME, ITALY, and impressed upon me, how beautiful the world can be.
    I just had to “open my eyes and heart”!

  4. Karla says

    (First of all , sorry for the mistakes , I don’t speak English).

    Sinop, Mato Grosso , Brazil
    In the place where I was born.
    Love and innocence of a child , an animal , especially my little dogs … a harmonious conversation with my family … my mother to be happy and sensations in nature, how to feel a quiet wind pass while it’s playing music and travel in my thoughts by a road for example.
    That what really counts in life is to enjoy and places we love . It is that peace is much more valuable than anything. That there are many people to be helped and who need us we can help.
    Die without having done something really important and without having taken the life whom I love. My biggest fear , in fact, is the distance from the fear of death of those I love.
    Live rewarding and happy moments that make overflowing smiles of my family and friends , and also people who do not have any of that.
    I’m a learner.

  5. Amy Wallingford says

    Where were you born?
    – I was born in Sayre, Pennsylvania and raised in Bentley Creek, Pennsylvania.

    Where do you live now?
    – I now live in Papillion, Nebraska just south of Omaha though we are currently spending the summer in Timisoara, Romania.

    What makes you smile?
    -Hearing the laughter of my loved ones- especially my husband and boys, and my brother who I rarely see and who is normally so quiet; mountains- they make my heart so light; and water, especially oceans & lakes- they calm my soul.

    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    – That we are ignorant. No matter how much we know and how much we learn there is so much that we cannot even begin to understand it all, but that does not mean we should not try.

    What is your deepest fear?
    -That I will fail my children or disappoint my husband. That I will not succeed in teaching my boys to be strong, caring, giving people. That I will fail to be the best person I can be and, in so doing, not be the best wife, mother, and friend I can be.

    What is your greatest dream for life?
    -To travel the world making a positive difference, whether it be through sharing experiences, knowledge, skills, or just a smile and happiness.

    Who are you?
    -A strong, independent, giving woman; a loving, adoring and incredibly lucky wife; a proud, nurturing mother; a daughter, friend, neighbor, co-worker and so much more.

  6. Augustus says

    I was born in a small town in upstate NY, to a woman who had lost five children. She would later lose two more. I grew up in abject poverty. Over time, after learning to not be angry at everyone else and internalizing this anger, I learned to be compassionate and caring. I was bullied as a child and learned to help the weak. I am smart, strong, and try to be humble. I will let others lead yet take the lead when needed. I keep to myself and try to take care of my planet. I garden, ride a bike, and live simply. That is what I am and it has taken me more than fifty years to get to this point. I am looking forward to many more to come.

  7. Tracey says

    I was born in the beginning of Spring, during the new moon in Fanwood, NJ. My family moved around a little bit while I was growing up and I’ve also lived in Michigan, California and a couple locations in Pennsylvania. I currently reside just north of the Philadelphia area in PA.
    I love being around happy people. Laughter is good medicine. Nature, music, babies and children and those I love can always bring a smile to my face.
    I’ve learned a lot of lessons so far in this life – and I am definitely still learning. One of the most important is the one I still struggle with and that is to fully love and accept myself. It is a day to day process!!
    My deepest fear is to be dead while I am alive, getting too caught up in the mundane and missing the beauty and miracles of life.
    My dreams are to travel the world, take lots of photographs, meet lots of people and see all different cultures and landscapes.
    Who am I? I am a truth seeker, an explorer of everywhere, and a student of life. I am a work in progress!

  8. Betty says

    Where were you born?
    -I was born in the rurals of Kenya,Africa,to an awesome family…and pretty much lived there upto 2013 and got a chance to move to the capital, Nairobi where I now reside.
    What makes you smile?
    -I love reading a good book, inspirational pieces…my family is the love of my life,they have always been there for me.,they make me happy.I love hanging out with positive people,socializing., and I love my friends.Good food makes me smile too :-) and most of all,new adventures make me.
    What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
    -I have learnt that I cannot always put other people first.,and that I should never stay at a place am not happy .
    What is your deepest fear?
    My deepest fear is not to live my life to the fullest.
    .What is your greatest dream for your life?
    Traveling to other countries and having a successful business of my own
    Who are you?
    -I am a strong unconventional lady, passionate,loving and friendly.

  9. Bean says

    I was born in Oldham, England and I lived there until the age of 10, after which I moved to New Zealand with my family. I now live in rural Auckland, I don’t like the city much. Creating art and having people genuinely enjoy my creations makes me smile. The most important life lesson I have learned is that no matter how much you think you know, what you know is only an opinion held by you. My deepest fear is that depression will eventually get the best of me and leave me broken or dead. My greatest dream is to find a way to support myself without working jobs I hate with people I despise. I want to be happy in my life and work, not miserable making others rich. I am another face on the street whom is lost in the world, searching for answers and trying to bring as much joy and love as I can into the lives of those I care for.

  10. Nurul says

    – I was born in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
    – I live in Bandung but I used to live in Jakarta for 10 years. I spent my childhood there and moved to Bandung when I was 12
    – Me and my mom always tease each other playfully everyday and it always make me smile and laugh. No day without laughing for me and my mom! :)
    – Actually my deepest fear is death, but if it doesn’t count then my deepest fear is making mistake in front of others. Maybe because my dad always laugh at me and criticize me everytime I make mistake. My dad is pretty judgemental. But I like to try new things as long as I’m sure no one will judge me
    – My dream is travelling around the world, especially to Europe and North America
    – I’m an accepting, non judgemental girl yet shy and afraid of people’s judgement of me.

  11. Angela says

    • Where were you born? Tulsa, Oklahoma
    • Where do you live now? Close to the Red River in Texas, not where I want to stay but we’re ok for now.
    • What makes you smile? Acts of kindness, a show of trust, nature, my husband when he’s having a ‘good’ day…. My son even though he’d never believe it. An email from a friend who’s not a sheep. A dish served best cold… took one 10 years to come along…….. ex-landlord/jerk drove up into the driveway where I was standing next to a truck filled with moving boxes. His wife recognized me. I had to tell him how I knew his name…. He said he’d just come by to welcome the new owners but could see they weren’t there. He asked if I knew when they’d be there and before I could reply he asked if I worked for the movers? I said no and he rudely demanded to know what I was doing there and what business I had being there when the owner’s weren’t there. I swear he was looking at the truck that was loaded down with boxes and then at me as if he’d just caught me in the middle of robbing the place. His wife had already figured it out and was grinning from ear to ear (I always liked her) and as I leaned back against the truck I crossed my arms, looked around slowly then looked him straight in the eyes and with a smile said sweetly…We own it. The mortgage huge, the look on his face……..PRICELESS!
    • What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? That when you say ‘for better or worse’ you better be darn sure you mean it because sometimes…. worse is thru no fault of you or your spouse’s own doing, and you can’t just walk away.
    • What is your deepest fear? Now…… not being able to protect my husband from ‘life’. He’s a moderate/severe TBI survivor.
    • What is your greatest dream for your life? That by some miracle I win the lottery or something so that I can make sure loved ones will always be taken care of and be able to help those less fortunate than I in our area learn to use computers and cell phones so they can feel less dependent on others.
    • Who are you? No one special. Just someone who has a love of animals and wishes people would stop telling her to stop pretending to be someone she isn’t an be who they know she REALLY is.

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