50 vital questions

From Occupy Ottawa’s Facebook page, here are some questions for you. They might be easy to answer if you feel strongly, but some of them will be tough, and more will make you think very hard. Perfect Sunday musing.

These 50 questions have no right or wrong answers because sometimes, asking the right questions is the answer.

1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

take what you can use and let the rest go by

take what you can use and let the rest go by (Photo credit: harold.lloyd)

4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
22. Why are you, you?
23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
25. What are you most grateful for?
26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
32. If not now, then when?
33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?
50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
How did you do? Have any of these questions prompted you to make even a small change today?
What questions would you ask your family, your friends… and the people you dislike or who make you angry?

6 comments on “50 vital questions

  1. I liked your post so much, I answered these questions on my blog.
    Sharing the link in case you are interested.
    This was a very thought provoking post. Nice!

  2. All those would make great posts! As far as depression goes, I think holding onto things you can’t do anything about is a good one. It’s so important to let bad feelings and events go, but sometimes it’s really hard. I’ve noticed it’s really hard for other people too.

  3. Cate says:

    I’m still mulling over a response to another of your posts, so I’m going right for the one that made the most measurable change in my life today and also allows the most direct response.

    I read those 50 questions before going off to Sunday Mass, and had a few minutes before the service to step into a chapel and think over the questions posed above. In particular I thought about, “Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?” and of relationships that have endured for decades and those that have foundered — some regrets, but much to be happy about there, including some connections that have been renewed and strengthened in recent years.

    But I would take the challenge a step further and ask myself, “Have you been the kind of sister/cousin/employee you would want?” And I have to remember again the admonition I heard from a rabbi on a radio program on belief who reduced the life mission to the following: Find your spirituality, fight for justice, and work on your relationships.

    But a sense of obligation doesn’t always translate into good works. I come from a family where guilt always had a place at the table and yet that didn’t make us any more likely to make the call or visit, or send the letter, let alone bury the hatchet.

    Yet I would like to live without regret, and often have to remind myself to take the steps that keep a relationship going. Some of those steps are joyful, some are awkward, some are inconclusive…

    • Arabella says:

      Hmmm… more to think about, Cate. In the last few years I’ve been a rubbish friend because I’ve needed to be a hermit. So my family and friends have, by and large, seen little of me and when I do see them I’m about as much use as an ice-cream fireguard. I agree – I don’t understand why the drummed-in sense of duty doesn’t translate into doing what we know we should (and sometimes want to) do. What amazes me is how forgiving and loyal true friends are, and how much more they understand than I realise.

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