Eight questions to ask at the end of the day.
Life will try to teach you something today, but it’s easy to miss the message.
Following are eight questions to ask yourself at the end of the day to help you spot life’s little clues…
- What were you asked?
There’s gold in the questions you get asked by colleagues, customers, friends, and family.
That’s because the questions you’re asked reveal the knowledge, experience, empathy, or assets you have that others most value.
They highlight problems the world thinks you can solve and things you have to offer that others want.
Consider this: What was the underlying value people sought from you in their questions today?
And how might you be able to capitalize on it tomorrow?
- What words did you use?
Every word is a choice.
The words you use in conversation, writing, work, and even to yourself reveal your desires, insecurities, and mindset.
What message did the words you chose today send about yourself and others?
For example, did you use the word “should” in reference to yourself or others?
I’m ashamed to admit I used to say it all the time which is awful because it puts a ton of pressure and guilt on both yourself an others.
That’s why I’ve stopped using it.
Using any word isn’t a requirement — it’s a choice.
You can just as easily tell yourself “I could do this” as you do “I should do this.”
Consider this: What’s the impact of how you described things today?
Did the words you used help you or hurt you?
- How did you spend your time?
Nothing defines your life more than how you choose to use your time.
How did you invest yours today and how did you waste it?
Who did you give it to?
And what did you accomplish with it?
The answers to these questions reveal how protective you were of your time (or not) and are a key indicator of what you get out of it.
If your day didn’t work out as you hoped, it’s likely because of how you chose to spend to your time.
Consider this: What time choices did you make today that you’re proud of and which do you regret?
Use those lessons to influence the choices you make tomorrow.
- Did you trust your instincts?
Your instincts are right — not always, but more often than not.
But it’s easy to allow factors like fear, guilt, worry, or other people’s opinions to influence your decisions and doubt your instincts.
That’s a mistake. Stop listening to people.
Research shows 90% of the time your instincts are correct.
Consider this: When did you trust your instincts today and when did you go against them?
And what will it take for you to trust them more tomorrow?
- Who influenced you?
You were influenced by a lot of other voices today.
The news you watched, the people in your meetings, and the commenters in your Instagram feed all impacted your viewpoint, stress level, and mood.
Think about what you were exposed to and the impact it had on you.
Consider this: Did your inputs make you happy, confident, and smarter or angry, stressed out, and distracted?
You can’t control 100% of what influences you, but you can control more than you realize.
Adjust accordingly tomorrow.
- WTF was that dream about?
A third of your day was spent asleep.
But life doesn’t stop teaching lessons just because you shut your eyes.
That’s where dreams come in.
Dreams help you process deep issues you may overlook while you’re awake.
What were the emotional underpinnings, tone, and issues that surfaced in your dreams last night?
Your dream may seem random, but it wasn’t — there’s a reason for what happened in it.
Consider this: What might have been the root cause of your dream?
What were you trying to tell yourself?
- What did your body tell you?
Your body sends signals about the choices you make.
If you catch a cold, it’s may be because stress weakened your immune system.
Back pain or a headache may be amplified by a difficult situation you face or poor decision you made (See: Those tequila shots the night before).
It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking the choices you made are fine when they’re not — but your body will keep you honest.
Consider this: Did your body try to tell you something today?
If you felt great, why? If you felt awful, why?
- What did you fear and how did you handle it?
Fear is only a problem when you run from it.
Viewed differently, it represents a valuable signal you can use as a compass.
As Seth Godin explains:
“The fearless person is well aware of the fear she faces. The fear, though, becomes a compass, not a barrier. It becomes a way to know what to do next, not an evil demon to be extinguished.
When we deny our fear, we make it stronger.
When we reassure the voice in our head by rationally reminding it of everything that will go right, we actually reinforce it.
Pushing back on fear doesn’t make us brave and it doesn’t make us fearless. Acknowledging fear and moving on is a very different approach, one that permits it to exist without strengthening it.
Life without fear doesn’t last very long — you’ll be run over by a bus (or a boss) before you know it. The fearless person, on the other hand, sees the world as it is (fear included) and then makes smart (and brave) decisions.”
This has been one of the most powerful life lessons I’ve ever learned and the post you’re reading right now is a result of it.
I used to be scared to share advice like this in a blog post. But moving toward that fear has unlocked incredibly opportunities for me and helped me attract a large audience for my writing.
Consider this: What might happen if you ran toward your fear instead of away from it?
A final thought about spotting life lessons…
Don’t worry if you can’t figure out what life tried to teach you today.
The above questions may not unlock a life-changing observation for your every day and that’s OK.
But asking them on a regular basis can help ensure you don’t miss a message when it does come.
And it will.