Five Powerful Questions You Must Ask Yourself
October 24, 2021
More than the answers, it is always the question that enlightens us more. The right question at the right time can totally change your perspective and the choices you make in life.
I enjoy reading Stoic philosophy. Asking yourself questions is one of the essential Stoic practices that will help you think the right way.
Here are five powerful questions that one of my favorite modern-day Stoic Philosophers, Ryan Holiday, says we should ask ourselves to help us lead high-quality lives.
Who Am I Spending Time With?
In his Book Maxims and Reflections, Johann Goethe said, “Tell me with whom you consort, and I will tell you who you are; if I know how you spend your time, then I know what might become of you.”
Spend time with people who make you a better person. It could be a person or a book. Consciously choose how you wish to spend your time and with whom. You are the average of the five people you spend time with. Are the people you spend time with averaging you higher or lower? The choice is yours to make.
What Does My Ideal Day Look Like?
The Stoic Philosopher Seneca says, “A life is made of days.” How we spend our day is how we spend our lives. If you look at each day as a compressed version of what you want your life to be, how would you choose to spend your time? What you decide to do every day will determine if you move towards the life you want to lead.
Is It In My Control?
“Differentiate between the things up to you and not up to you.” These are the words of another Greek Stoic Epictetus. We spend too much time ruminating about things not in control. If you are stuck in traffic or if your holiday is rained out, it’s not something you can control. All that is in your control is your thinking and your actions. So don’t waste your time, energy, and focus chasing things you don’t control.
Does This Actually Matter?
Is something essential? Often, there are so many trivial things that we hold on to, taking combative positions driven by our ego. When you ask yourself this question, it will help give you a perspective on whether the issue you are grappling with matters at all or not. If it matters, you will figure out a way to deal with it. If it doesn’t matter, just let go.
Is This Who I Want To Be?
How we do anything is how we do everything. Our daily actions define our character. Do you want to be the person who gives excuses, or do you want to be the person everyone relies on during challenging times? You are the sum of your actions. Asking this question will help you take actions congruent with the image of the person you want to be. You will resist the urge to let your baser instincts take over. You will not take shortcuts.
Develop the habit of asking yourself powerful questions because the will help you get powerful answers.