Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers. Because asking the right questions is often the answer.
In a recent email newsletter I wrote: “Quiet your mind. Don’t think outside the box in the year ahead. Think like there is no box.”
To my surprise, over 100 people quoted this line and responded with the same general question: “How?”
I’ve spent the morning thinking about how to answer this question in the most universal way possible, and I’ve decided that the simplest explanation I can give is this: Ask yourself better questions – questions that focus your thoughts and filter out the excess noise that’s been cluttering your mind.
The calming and healing power of a positive imagination is unleashed by constraining your focus. Constraints drive creativity and force mindful thinking. It may sound counterintuitive at first but, in a backwards way, you break out of the box by stepping into the right shackles.
And that’s exactly what the questions below can help you with – shackling the noise in your head by channeling your focus into meaningful thoughts and moments of self-refection. Let these questions shift your perspective and guide you forward.
Please share this post with others who you think will benefit from it, and, as always, share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. If you’re up to it, I’d love to read your response to the very first question: In one sentence, who are you?
(Also note that these photo-illustrated questions were initially created for our sister site, Thought Questions, but since we rarely update that site, we decided to share the questions with you here instead. And many of these questions have also been slightly modified and used in our upcoming guided journal, “The Good Morning Journal”, which is being published by Penguin Random House.)
For photo credits please refer to ThoughtQuestions.com
Bryce Lewis says
What an awesome idea for an article! Asking ourselves thought-provoking questions like these can be very powerful.
#28 reminded me that I’m no longer afraid of failing to live up to other people’s expectations for me. It took me a long time to realize that most of my unhappiness and anxiety came from the fear or letting other people down. Life certainly becomes a lot easier and more enjoyable when you become indifferent to what other people think of you.
Oh, and I saw that note at the bottom of the post about your new Good Morning Journal. I’m going to get myself a copy of that for sure. Looking forward to using it in the year ahead.
Yes, like Bryce said it’s great that you’re putting these questions in a journal, Marc and Angel. These would make such awesome writing prompts. THANKS! Happy early new year too.
Great idea for an article Angel! These questions really are powerful. I think my favorite is: “What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?”
To answer your question: I am a work in progress!
And thank you for these inspiring questions.
Answering your question:
I am an extension of Creative Energy/Mind.
Who am I?
I am complex enchanted simplicity.
A loner who adores people.
I’m quiet courage.
I am strength.
I am eternal spirit – as we all are. We are all One.
Out of ignorance, we forget this and suffer as a result.
I am not my body. It is an instrument for my use.The pursuit of Wisdom, leads me to use the instrument well.
Love (unconditional) and happiness is my natural state. Whenever we experience something else, it is not Self.
I am just me, Agnetha, my own person. Forever authentic.
Gloria Donoghue says
You’ve given us a lot to think about. Some responses are easier than others. The difficult ones I think, are really important to think through, and maybe to learn from.
Thanks very much for these questions. I’m a loner, introvert but not obvious.
Kathy P says
I’m a retired wife, mother and grandmother trying to make happy memories for the rest of my life.
Susan Kelemen says
I loved these questions. I am a person who gets up in the morning with the goal of doing something to help someone else. Sometimes, there is something I need right now, so, I do that, too, as part of my day. If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after helping someone else. Thanks for making us think, always! XO Susan
Is it possible to have a printable version? Thank you
Karen C says
I am me. I don’t pretend to be everyone else. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I will not change who l am just to fit in or please anyone. I am responsible for my own happiness and do not need anyone to complete me. I already feel perfect on my own, and have learned to love myself for who I am – a strong, independent, beautiful, caring, intelligent, sexy and sensual woman. I am comfortable being on my own. However, I still want to be with someone with whom I can share all of my successes, fears, accomplishments, failures, lessons, and setbacks as well as my passion.
Crystal Joy says
Absolutely love this article.
Love all the thought provoking questions and the challenge to think without a “box”
I am all that God created me to be.
Weak in moments of failure yet stronger and courageous afterwards.
I am the total sum of all my mistakes that equals a wonderful discovery that I can overcome and rise above anything with God as my compass.
I am forgiven, redeemed and set free from strongholds that held me captive.
I am created on purpose with purpose for purpose.
I am a blessing and so are you.