Because the answers to these ten questions will help you discover the very best in yourself…
1. What would make you proud of yourself?
When you follow your heart and intuition, people won’t always agree with you. When you find something that makes you happy, not everyone will be happy for you. When you show unwavering kindness to others, some people will question your motives. When you are honest to the core, some folks will attempt to use your honesty against you. When you look for the best in everyone you meet, a few of them will take advantage of it.
Don’t let any of these people stop you from doing these things. These people don’t matter. In the end, what does matter is how you feel about yourself and the life you have led. You will ask yourself one question: “Am I proud of how I lived?” Make the answer: “Yes!” Read 1,000 Little Things.
2. How can you make a positive difference?
Even when it seems like a hopeless effort, do the right thing. Always live firmly by the forces of love and truth. The bullies and cheats who seem unstoppable in the short term always fall from power in the end. Love and truth always rise to the top.
Keep injecting your goodness into the world, one small act at a time. It’s these small acts of goodness stacked together that eventually change the world. You may never see the full result of your positive actions, but they will be accounted for and realized in time. If you do nothing, there will be no result – no positive change ever.
3. What are you trying to accomplish and why?
Know the answer to this simple question and remind yourself of it every single day. You must identify, without any doubt, the specific reason you do the work you do. Success can only occur when there is a target and a reason to hit it.
When you have a reason to do something, you have a legitimate purpose behind your efforts. When you connect this reason to a desired result, you’re able to summon the discipline and persistence necessary to get the job done. Give yourself a good reason and you will find a way to succeed. Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
4. What are the roadblocks standing in your way?
A roadblock is only a roadblock if you don’t know about it. If you know about it, it’s just a challenge. Look around and evaluate the challenges you face; within them lie the opportunities to make lasting progress. You are in the best position to make the most of these opportunities, because you know exactly where you are, where you want to go, and what resources you have at your disposal.
Remember that the roughest roads often lead to the top, and the best way to get over a roadblock is to go through it. Thus, you must run toward your challenges with all your might, because the easiest way through them is to trample them beneath your feet. You have what it takes right now. You know what you must do and you know why. Step confidently into your challenges until you reach the road on the other side.
5. What’s the next step?
Remember, you will never make a bigger mistake than sitting back and doing nothing simply because you can only do a little. So go head and start small. Take a small step, and if you can’t take a small step, take a tiny one. Do what you can with the resources you have right now. Get yourself moving in a positive, productive direction.
The best thing about big success is that it comes one step at a time. A flash of success, no matter how small, creates the momentum necessary to create even more success. Every positive step forward puts you in position to take the next one.
6. What are your flaws and faults?
You will never be flawless. You will never be faultless. Acknowledge your flaws and faults and accept them. Let the difference between your flaws and the flaws of others be that you have accepted their existence and moved past them, while others are hopelessly trying to hide them. Let the difference between your faults and the faults of others be that you have addressed them and learned from them, while others are still living in denial.
Don’t fall victim to fabricated illusions. Don’t hide from reality. Face your deficiencies and use them to bask in the glory of your personal growth. Read The Untethered Soul.
7. What issues do you need to resolve with yourself?
When you feel lonely you look around for someone to fill the void in your life. You assume that your loneliness stems exclusively from being alone. But once you find company, it doesn’t take long before you realize that there’s still a void in your life. You still feel lonely and unfulfilled, so you blame it on your company and you move on to someone else… and then someone else. This cycle perpetuates for months, or even years, until you are eventually ready to face the truth.
The truth is, a partner, or even just a friend, can add lots of beauty to your life, but they can’t fill a void that exists within you. You alone are responsible for you own fulfillment. If you feel desperately lonely when you’re alone, it means you’re in bad company. It means you need to work on your relationship with yourself first. To believe otherwise is to delude your mind and perpetuate your loneliness as you hop from one failed relationship to the next.
8. How are you burdening yourself?
If you feel like your back is breaking from the weight your mind is carrying, perhaps it’s time to lighten the load you carry. There are many burdens you can easily let go of if you’re willing.
Start by leaving your worries behind you; worries only fill your mind with negativity. Instead take constructive action – get involved in something worthwhile that takes your mind off of things. Next, drop your grudges. Grudges and resentments simply suck energy and time away from you without any positive return. Once you’ve gotten this far, it’s time to stop pretending like you know everything. Rather than attempting to prove yourself, open your mind, eyes and ears to new and real possibilities. And before you wrap things up, let go of your impatience. Two of the most vital virtues of your personal growth will be your patience to wait for the right moment and your courage to make the best of it.
As you can see, dropping burdensome negativity from your life is fairly easy once you realize how much of it you’re carrying around with you. Do yourself a favor today and lighten your load.
9. How have you celebrated your progress lately?
Focus on the progress you’ve made, on the next positive step, on the silver lining between where you once were, where you are now, and where you’re headed. Do not think of yesterday’s failures, but of the success that is possible today.
Be proud of yourself. The fact that you’re trying is immensely impressive. You have conquered complacency. You are crushing your fears with every new effort you put forth. You aren’t where you want to be yet, but you’re making progress. Step by step will get you there. Even if you feel like you’re running in place, you aren’t. No effort that you make to attain something worthwhile is ever lost. It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t give up. Read The Success Principles.
10. What do you love about your life?
Life is a series of highs and lows. There will be times when bad things happen. When these times strike, it’s important to keep things in perspective. How you respond to life’s inevitable difficulties defines the strength and growth of your character, as well as the quality of your life. The idea that you are a victim of any particular circumstance is simply inaccurate.
The fleeting ups and downs that occur on a daily basis are tiny threads in the overall fabric of your life. Each one adds to your personal growth. The quality of your life is ultimately your choice. You can choose to be immobilized by the gravity of your disappointments, or you can choose to rise from the suffering and treasure the most precious gift you have – life itself.
Photo by: Hartwig HKD
Such and inspiring post! I appreciate you both so much.
Bonnie Dee says
All of these questions (and insights) just made me think; I really didn’t have an answer to some of them, but they were still helpful. Surprisingly, many of them made me realize that I am much happier and better off than I often consciously realize. So thanks for that.
Katie Demory says
These questions should be reviewed once a month! I truly enjoy the inspirational words of wisdom… I needed every bit of it.
Great Post! I love these type of spiritual, self-improvement questions.
This is such an awesome site. Cheers from Australia.
Saroj Paudel says
Good questions and advice. Thanks Marc and Angel for continuing to provide such useful ideas.
Saroj Paudel says
Great article. Useful and inspiring…
RM Odom says
As a fan of stoic philosophy I realize more and more every day that the most helpful thing for me is the harsh truths gleaned from questions such as these and the courage to use the answers correctly.
Does anyone have any further suggestions for point number 7? It really resonated with me, as I often find myself seemingly alone and unfulfilled, and wish I knew how to start bettering myself. I need to start working on my relationship with myself, but I’m not sure where to start. If anybody has any suggested readings or tips, I would appreciate it greatly.
Wow!! Spot on, I truly needed to read this!!
Marc & Angel, for the last year your posts have gotten me through events that are worthy of a book [coming out at year’s end]. The thoughts that you offer every week are Divinely inspired, and we need them. You make it all so rational, and I thank you for it.
Eugene, do you love yourself? If you look in the mirror can you tell yourself that you love yourself? It seems that the journey could begin here. If the answer is no, why is that the case? Look at yourself, forgive yourself, and your relationship with yourself will start to improve. Blessings to you….
This is some food for thought and that resonated with me in a big way. I know I’m not the only one who feels you always seems to send a post at just the right time. I can hear the music from the ‘Twilight Zone’ playing in my head, this is not a coincidence. 🙂
I really needed this post today for where I am in my life journey. Thank you!
Marc and Angel
You are my heroes. Since I have started reading your blog my thoughts are much better an clearer than before. Thank you so much.
john hackleman says
Why are you guys so good….??? Your stuff is always so insightful and uplifting. How do you do it?
Accepting personal flaws… a good reminder for me today.
Very nice! Very moving! Thanks for posting! Seems life has more questions than answers, but the ones you do find are worth a fortune regardless of size.
This is a life-long process, and I’ve worked on this for about 30 years.
Several things have been helpful to me. A friend struggling with alcoholism gave me a copy of AA’s “Big Book” many years ago. I was surprised to find much wisdom there for everyday living. Specifically, getting honest with oneself, changing the things you can and letting go of those you cannot. In fact, I keep the serenity prayer on my fridge to remind me that I can change MYSELF, and my REACTION to others but I cannot change others, nor can I control the world (even as much as I think I’m MOST capable, haha). At the same time, you have to learn to go easy on yourself; there is no such thing as perfect. Laughing at myself and forgiving myself has brought me inner peace.
Another piece (essay) that I love is Harry Browne’s “Gift for My Daughter” which reminds me that nobody owes me anything, and that to expect to be loved, I must endeavor to make myself lovable.
I have found unbelievably incredible self-satisfaction in hobbies in which I “work with my hands” to create/grow/build something that often, no one else even sees. For me, it’s carpentry, gardening or sewing. Sometimes I get so immersed in this work, the hours fly by. I think we often seek external approval to feel like we’re worthy. But when you make something yourself, you can congratulate yourself for a job well done.
Finally, the self-rewards of giving of oneself are mind boggling really. You don’t have to have a lot of money to make someone’s day or to make a small difference in your sphere. Give your time or a kind word. Think small. Examples: compliment a clerk who provides good customer service and take the time to tell the manager; clean up the trash in your neighborhood; pay a visit to and really listen to a lonely elderly person; clean your friend’s house while they’re out of town; volunteer to tutor an underprivileged child in reading.
It’s a funny thing too. I think the more self-love and confidence your build, the less you’ll find yourself alone.
Hope this helps some. Wishing you much peace.
Another inspirational post. Thank you!
If I were a hiring manager, I’ll throw a couple of questions from the above list. They may be off-the-hook questions (not related at all to a job posted) but may reveal a bit of one’s personality or perspective to life. It would be inspiring to hear from someone who could ace the answers to these questions.
“The false idea that you are a victim of any particular circumstance is simply inaccurate.” It probably should have read “The idea (you are a victim). . . is … inaccurate.” Not the “false idea” because that would imply you ARE a victim….
Thank you, so beautifully written… every word.
I’m finding happiness based on what you do 🙂 and I get a little happier when I read your posts. Thank You.
Just what I needed to read today. I love your site; I read something every day to inspire me 🙂 Thank you.
I love this post. Asking yourself these questions and knowing the answers keeps you moving toward your dreams and goals and reminds you of the reason you started the journey to begin with.
Thank you so much for this post!
I’ve been not so good lately, but after reading your post I realized that I know the answers to ALL questions, I have EVERYTHING to be who I want to be!
It was really awesome, useful and very productive tips and it was really helped me to achieve more success in my life and I have also shared the same via FB with my friends. Thank you very much for such a informative post.
Imam – Afghanistan
David Rapp says
Eugene: No one struggles more with self-love than me. So getting to loving yourself so that you can be loved seems accurate. I have an alternate route. Get out your contact list and tell everyone you love that you love them. you have 30 days. Call them, email them or send a card. No Facebook or Twitter. Put in a little effort. I am on 47 of 60 in February. I made 4 connections with friends back on the 8th, and its yielded tremendous results.
Love is a curious substance, the more you give it away to those around you, the more you get back.
[email protected] says
I love the “flaws and faults” piece of the equation. We have to be open and honest with ourselves as to the parts we need to work on. Denial is a powerful thing. If we can eat humble pie, look in the mirror, know what needs to get better, then go about starting to do it….we win. Thanks for this!
Wow, I can’t put words to how influential Marc and Angel have been in my life. I’m currently a student and over this past winter break I had some really, really bad times. They were so bad that feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hate overwhelmed my entire thought process that had been so happy and optimistic a few months prior. I can honestly say that Marc and Angel’s blog was the backbone support I needed to bring myself back up again. Not only that, but the blog has helped bring to light many small issues in my life that could have easily been taken care of before. I cannot thank you two enough for the inspiring messages that appear on your blog every few days. Please never stop doing what your blog does!
@RM: I think you hit the nail on the head: “courage to use the answers correctly.” The questions are only helpful if you do indeed answer the questions honestly and truthfully. Great observation. Thank you.
@Julia: Thanks. Congratulations on your book, we would love to give it a read when it comes out. =)
@Eugene: Check out @dvngardener’s response, it’s a great starting point. I also think you’ll enjoy this article: https://www.marcandangel.com/2012/04/09/11-ways-to-become-the-person-you-love/
@liberty4ev: Insightful and inspiring. Thank you for responding. It’s extremely helpful to hear a similar message from multiple people. =)
@MJ: An interesting idea. I would be curious to see if anyone could ‘ace’ these questions in such a setting. I suppose the key is honesty.
@Mary: Thank you for catching the error; we updated it.
@Bette: You’re welcome. Sometimes we need that reminder.
@David Rapp: That is an awesome idea!
@Tony: Well stated sir.
@Eric: Glad we could provide some inspiration and support. Thanks for the kind words.
@All: As always, your comments and insights make us smile. Thank you for continuing the conversation and providing useful feedback and encouragement.
Enlightenment City says
Wow, I am completely blown away with the level of spiritual and emotional maturity in these posts. How did I not come across this Blog sooner? I’m really just loving the honest approach to make people want to become more genuine people. There is no hard-sell, no gimmicks, just some simple truths about how to progress our lives forward.
No. 8 is awesome. I think people are so fixated with limiting belief systems that they end up burdening their entire lives with psychological backplay. To shine light on that which is clouding our judgement and keeping us from being all we could be, is to achieve something very few people have the privilege of feeling; clarity and personal freedom.
Jorge Blanco says
I think this list and David’s suggestion would be a great habit to get into every once in a while, like a monthly checkup, so that you’ll know how you’re doing. It also keeps your head in the game. Keeps you focused and reminds you of your goals in life.
Thank you, thank you so much… words cannot express enough how much I appreciate this post.