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Questions to Ponder

By Charlie Badenhop

Here is a quote from Benjamin and Rosamund Zander: “In the measurement world, you set a goal and strive for it. In the universe of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold.”

I believe this way of thinking is helpful in regard to managing stress. Most people have lots of goals that they are striving to achieve, and in their desire to be more successful, they try and push through life, rather than allowing life to unfold.

What I am suggesting is that you learn how to relax, and let life come to you. That you set a context, create the environment, the set of circumstances, that will give you the best chance of feeling at ease and in control of your life.

And when I say that it helps to feel at ease, and in control of your life, I am not suggesting that you can be in control of everything that goes on around you. What I am saying is that you can be in control of how you react to what goes on around you, and the plans you make. As you calm yourself, and come to understand what you truly want in life, then you will become better able to let life unfold, and make course corrections as necessary.

In life, it is easy to be reactive to the challenges that are right in front of you. And when you are reactive you tend to not fully think through a situation, and instead act impulsively. The key to right action is to be calm, have a good measure of self confidence, and learn how to take in the big picture, so that you can ask the right questions.

And to ask the right questions, you need a good understanding of the situation you are facing. And sometimes asking the right question can help to clarify what is truly important. So I suggest to you now, that asking the right questions is more important than having the right answers. And certainly The right question is more important than the right answer to the wrong question!

I ask you to consider the following questions, because I think by pondering over what is asked, you will become better able to set a healthy context for your life, and then let your life unfold, as you continue to make the course corrections that will lead you to feel calm and in control of your emotions.

The task at hand is to give your primary attention to your breathing, and just let the questions float past you.

No need to answer all of these questions now. What is important is to find the questions that are most important to you. These will be your “right questions” and it will likely seem that certain questions stick out much more than others. Once you have a sense of what the most important questions are for you, little by little you can work on coming up with the answers that will help you to live the life you truly desire.

  • Which is worse, failing, or never having given an all out effort?
  • Since we can learn valuable lessons from our mistakes, why are we usually so afraid to make mistakes?
  • Is it really possible to live a life without mistakes?
  • What criteria do you use to determine whether or not you are living the life you truly desire?
  • Are these the criteria you want to base your life on?
  • Why do we tend to do so many things we don't like, and like so many things we don't do?
  • Are you responsible for the consequences of your choices? Being responsible for one's thoughts and actions, is very different than looking to assign blame.
  • Do you realize that you can show keen judgment without the need to be judgmental?
  • Do you appreciate yourself for who you are, or judge yourself for who you are not?
  • Are you caught in a job or career that you don't really care for? If so, are you making a detailed plan that can help you to do the kind of work that you really want to be doing?
  • Have you figured out yet, that not getting everything you want is an essential part of happiness?
  • Are you doing what you believe in, or are you simply doing whatever is in front of you at the moment?
  • Realizing that you only have a limited time to live, do you feel like you are spending your time wisely?
  • If you could give a young child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  • If you would give yourself just one piece of advice, what would it be?
  • What will you do differently after receiving this advice?
  • Are you holding onto people or circumstances from your past, that you might be better off letting go of?
  • Rather than saying that you feel the way you do because of your current circumstances, how can you change the way you feel and what you believe in, as first steps in changing your circumstances?
  • Do you have a dream that you are actively engaged in making a reality, or are you just living day by day?
  • What will you need to do differently if you are to live the life you truly desire?
  • What is it that makes you, you?
  • If someone asked a friend to describe the kind of person you are, what would your friend be most likely to say?
  • If you had the chance to describe yourself, what would you say?
  • How is it you would like to be remembered?
  • Are you working towards building a legacy?
  • Are you the kind of friend you would want as a friend?
  • What are you most grateful for?
  • And what else?
  • And what else?
  • At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? What will you need to do to feel that way more often?
  • What is your definition of success?
  • What do you love?
  • Who do you love?
  • What is your definition of what it means to love another person?
  • Do you realize that appreciating others is the best way to receive appreciation from others?
  • Have you realized yet that change is inevitable, but suffering is optional?
  • If not now, then when?

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