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20 Questions Worth Answering Honestly

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Trying to figure a few things out at the moment, so I wrote this list of 20 questions for myself this morning…

  1. Do you earn enough money? (If you answer ‘no’, ask yourself why you need more money. eg Security? To buy more stuff? To impress others? For self-esteem? If you answer ‘yes’, ask yourself why you don’t work fewer hours. eg Peer pressure work ethic? You enjoy your work? To keep your mum happy? It’s what everyone else does? You enjoy having plenty of money?)
  2. Do you enjoy your job? (If you answer ‘no’, ask yourself why you are doing it.)
  3. Do you prefer Saturday or Monday? (If you answer ‘Saturday’, ask yourself how you can improve the other 71% of your life.)
  4. What would you like to be doing one year from now? Can you make that happen?
  5. What would you like to be doing five years from now? Will you make that happen?
  6. What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire? Is it possible to live a modified version of that life anyway?
  7. How much could you cut your outgoings by? How much time at work does that equate to?
  8. Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy? If not, why not?
  9. What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable? Why don’t you cut that/them out immediately, or pay somebody to do it for you?
  10. What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing? How many times a day do you check your email/Twitter/Facebook? How much TV do you watch?
  11. What would you like to do more of?
  12. What motivates you to do something well?
  13. Who do you envy, and why?
  14. If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
  15. What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
  16. What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
  17. What would you do if you had more talent?
  18. What would you do if you had more guts?
  19. What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
  20. What are you going to do about all this?

UPDATE: I wrote my answers to these questions here and also challenge YOU to be bold enough to answer them publicly…

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Comments

  1. Hi Alastair,

    I’ve just spent the last few minutes honestly going through those questions in my head and have found myself excited that in a month I won’t be sat at my desk anymore, doing a job I don’t dislike but don’t love. I will be en route to South America (via lots of other places) for a big adventure.

    I’ve followed you for a little while and often find myself thinking about things that are important but so often neglected.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Hi Alastair,

    Your questions chime with a work crisis I went through about three years ago. Since then I’ve tried to put myself in a position where I can answer those questions with a little more positivity. It’s slow progress sometimes but at least I’m heading in the right direction.

    I remember years ago someone saying to me to imagine my life as a book and to ask myself another question: would you want to read it?

    Reply
  3. Nice post. Lighting fires under bottoms!

    @ Rob – I’m stealing your ‘life as a book’ expression!

    Reply
  4. Hi Al,

    Would like to see your answers to the questions above? Will you share?

    Reply
  5. 1. Do you earn enough money? Yes, I dont save, I spend what I have (and some times what I dont have)
    2. Do you enjoy your job? My full time job NO! 12 months ago I left a career of international travel with the media to work as a civil servant. Im am now bored, very bored in fact. The good news is that I plan to change it very soon.
    3. Do you prefer Saturday or Monday? Saturday, for some reason I am effected by the days of the week, the weather and the time of year.
    4. What would you like to be doing one year from now? I WILL be self employed
    5. What would you like to be doing five years from now? Im a “grass is always greener” person, I want to be content and happy with what I have and not thinking on what I dont have.
    6. What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire? I dread to think, im easly excitable with a lot of energy, I think I would end up crashing my own helichopter.
    7. How much could you cut your outgoings by? I have recently done this, its supprising how much you can save if you need to.
    8. Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy? Well I do yes but I really enjoy lots of things so striking a balance is sometimes hard
    9. What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable? Driving my car
    10. What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing? It has to be facebook
    11. What would you like to do more of? Running
    12. What motivates you to do something well? Passionate people
    13. Who do you envy, and why? People that can sing. I love music with a passion but I cant sing to save my life
    14. If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived? I think I would yes, I have regrets of course but I have spent 16 years of travelling the world and I have been to some amazing places. I have lots of boxes still to tick tho…..
    15. What makes you proud, satisfied, and content? My daughter
    16. What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled? My current job, that will change soon im glad to say
    17. What would you do if you had more talent? Try to use it best I can
    18. What would you do if you had more guts? I was recently fell running over Blencathara in the lake district and went to cross Sharp Edge, its a pretty iffy ridge and my fear of heights got the better of me so I had to turn round. I would love to try again one day.
    19. What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting? I think id live in a tree hut.
    20. What are you going to do about all this? Im going to do a few things but im not telling you. I have enjoyed the exercie tho, cheers.

    Reply
  6. Do you earn enough money? – currently no income but somehow can pay next month’s bills so I’m very happy!
    You enjoy your work? My work is raising consciousness and self-realisation so yes, I absolutely do but I procrastinate a lot – filling out this form for instance.
    Do you enjoy your job? Currently I don’t have a conventional job and yes, I love it.
    Do you prefer Saturday or Monday? All days are weekends for me b/c I’m not working in a 9-5 way – YIPPEE!!
    What would you like to be doing one year from now? I’d like to be financially self-sufficient, barefoot and pregnant
    Can you make that happen? YES
    What would you like to be doing five years from now? Raising a family, growing veggies, writing, singing, levitating (why not?), being a happy activist.
    Will you make that happen? YES
    What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire? Set up a foundation to help other people achieve their dreams – in harmony with nature, elevating love-levels and teaching practical ways to attain inner and outer peace. Also I’d have a community healing farm for youth who have come into contact with the criminal justice system, and an animal sanctuary. And I’d take ecocide out of supply chains and transform the military to mobilise for peace and humanitarian protection and, and.. buy up all the remaining rainforest and keep all greedy homo-sapiens out of it but let in the conscious beings. I look at people to help them discover their “Inner Che” so if I had all the money in the world I’d just go ’round the world spreading sunshine and clarity – someone recently told me that this is what I do and I’d like to figure out a way to be more effective in doing it so that I can wake more people up and we can create the magical world of our dreams together.
    Is it possible to live a modified version of that life anyway? YES. I’m doing it now.
    How much could you cut your outgoings by? I only spend on my bills at the moment and food. I barely spend anything. It’s awesome.
    How much time at work does that equate to? None
    Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy? YES, I have all the time in the world, I’m just badly organised, a bit lazy and procrastinate a lot.
    If not, why not? lazy and procrastinate a lot and fall into the odd existential and melancholic hole from time to time.
    What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable? It used to be ironing so I now don’t buy any clothes that need to be ironed.
    Why don’t you cut that/them out immediately, or pay somebody to do it for you? No spare cash at the moment but I’m looking forward to being able to pay someone to do all the handyman jobs that need doing.
    What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing? FB takes up too much time but there’s a lot of activist content on there so…
    How many times a day do you check your email /Twitter /Facebook? On email and FB most of the day, no twitter.
    How much TV do you watch? I don’t have TV but I watch a bit of good quality crap on my laptop, like Breaking Bad and Shameless etc
    What would you like to do more of? hang out in rainforests, go scuba-diving – being in nature (in the Tropics. heh heh)
    What motivates you to do something well? enjoyment and the thought that I’m increasing the peace and raising love levels globally by my excavating my own fundamental darkness and that any minute now we’ll have a fully alive planet where compassion and harmony proliferate.
    Who do you envy, and why? I guess I don’t really envy anyone.. I like me, myself and I a lot and all the people in my head. I’d like a bit more certainty around money, love and my future but that’s fairly normal I suspect and fear-based so I’m creating my future myself with my thoughts, words, actions, energy…
    If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived? Sort of – I need to get my voice “out there” in a robust way and I want a family of my own so I’m not quite there yet..
    What makes you proud, satisfied, and content? Me when I’m in healthy, high life states.
    What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled? Me when I’m in unhealthy, low life-states – but both states are me and both are necessary for my growth and development – by the way I’m also a lawyer so this is why I’m wriggling out of these questions. heh heh.
    What would you do if you had more talent? It’s courage I lack, not talent – so maybe stand-up comedy, sing in a band – just be more OUT THERE visibly and speaking up and shining my light to show others that it is possible to overcome all demons and self-realise.
    What would you do if you had more guts? same as previous question.. talents and guts are the same I think. Courage/Guts is probably more important b/c you can be the most talented person who has ever lived but if you’re too shy to talk to anyone, no one will ever know.
    What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting? No one is – and who cares anyway? “its just a ride” Bill Hicks
    What are you going to do about all this? Find some singing in a band opportunities (terrified!) and stand up (also, terrified).

    x Nina x

    Reply
  7. Tony Forster Posted

    Do you earn enough money? Yes & no. Yes in that I am reasonably well paid compared to many others and I can afford to live in comparative comfort in a nice house with a nice VW camper van to drive around in, however as has already been mentioned before, we all would like more money to indulge in our ‘hobbies’.
    Do you enjoy your work? Again yes and no. I am a police officer and get great satisfaction from looking after nice people and prosecuting the bad people. However in our current times of public austerity we are being squeezed so hard to give as much as we can that the enjoyable times are becoming less and less.
    Do you prefer Saturday or Monday? Irrelevant as I work a shift pattern so there is no set start to my working week. I do look forward to my rest days though.
    What would you like to be doing one year from now? I will be retired and hopefully following a new career path with more time to travel.
    Can you make that happen? Definitely, I have already started laying down plans for a new career and I have also started preparations for increased travel, my wife and I are booked on a trip to Nepal next Easter, taking my wife completely out of her comfort zone. Can’t wait.
    What would you like to be doing five years from now? Ideally my wife and I would be in a position to stop working full time and we could put our efforts into more adventurous travel.
    Will you make that happen? Maybe, depends on whether we want to stop working. I envisage that we will both be working in roles we enjoy and we may not want to slow down.
    What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire? That’s a very hard question to answer. I suspect we would struggle to cope to an extent with the knowledge that we didn’t have any money issues at all. I would like to think that after making sure our children were financially secure and our friends were we’ll looked after we would be able to travel to those destinations normal people only dream of. A bit like Al I would buy myself several new bikes and a couple of sea kayaks, I already have the camper van so would maybe ship it and ourselves across the pond to the USA and spend a couple of years travelling.
    Is it possible to live a modified version of that life anyway? It will be next year once I have retired. I know that we are going to be financially secure as long as we don’t go wild, but anything we earn above my pension money could be used to indulge in my passions, climbing, camping, cycling and travelling with my wife and children. (Both kids are adults but they still enjoy travelling with us.)
    How much could you cut your outgoings by? I don’t spend much money anyway, when I do it tends to be linked to travel or climbing or food. If anything I need to learn to be a little more comfortable in spending money in local businesses to help those brave enough to forge their own way.
    Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy? I waste far too much of my spare time worrying about being selfish enjoying myself whilst my wife works. Working shifts gives you time off during the week but there always jobs to be done and putting them off for play seems wrong. I have managed to save a lot of days off to take during my last year in work and I have set myself a bucket list of things to do this year.
    If not, why not? I think I have sorted this one.
    What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable? Cleaning and maintaining our home. Problem is both my wife and I are maddeningly OCD and I fear that to pay people to clean and tidy our home would be a waste of money as we would then go round after them cleaning to our standard. Being from Yorkshire also means that I hate paying for someone to do a job I could do myself for less.
    Why don’t you cut that/them out immediately, or pay somebody to do it for you? As above I don’t like to pay for someone to do a job I could do myself.
    What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing? Using the Internet.
    How many times a day do you check your email /Twitter /Facebook? Daily unless I am busy doing some activities.
    How much TV do you watch? Very little.
    What would you like to do more of? Travel. Either in the camper or on the bike. I have a plan to buy a couple of Bromptons for my wife and I so we can make use of bike/bus/train travel.
    What motivates you to do something well? Self pride. As mentioned above having OCD tendencies means that I need to make sure everything I do is the best I possibly can, wish I could learn to chillax a bit about this though.
    Who do you envy, and why? I don’t really envy anyone. We never know enough about a person to understand what their life entails to generate envy. Whist we see adventurous people, Al included, living the dream, but we don’t see the downsides to that life and if we did would we want them more than our own?
    If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived? As I am only at the half way mark and have a lot more life to live I cannot fully answer this. Due to many issues while I was growing up, I cannot say I enjoyed my early years up until I met my wife, we have also been through some pretty hard times, but those hard times make you stronger, I would like to think that the next 50 years will be more about enjoyment. So hopefully when I look back I will be happy.
    What makes you proud, satisfied, and content? My two daughters. They have both grown into beautiful, clever, articulate, kind and sensitive human beings and I feel immense pride in knowing that I helped in that.
    What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled? Not having the courage to live life more adventurously. It’s easy to take to safe and ‘boring’ option but I regret it bitterly.
    What would you do if you had more guts? Do all those things I keep putting off for reasons to lame to remember.
    What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting? Be far more adventurous and far less worried about hurting people’s feelings. Whilst my wife and I do many Things together I think I would be inclined to really go wild if I had no restraints.
    What are you going to do about all this? Tempering my plans to allow my wife join me. I have always wanted to trek in Nepal but I know my wife would hate the idea of camping and living rough, we have now booked a place on a trip which has comfortable lodge accomodation which means that we can both enjoy the experience. Also when I retire I won’t be working shift so will be home far more than I used to be. This will give me the opportunity to have more time away without feeling guilty being away from my wife.

    Reply
  8. Zack Thompson Posted

    Do you earn enough money?
    Yes, because money is freedom!

    Do you enjoy your job?
    Hell no! But I’m doing it because getting another job is hard and I make decent money now that is more garunteed.

    Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
    Saturday! The other 71% would be improved by a job I like.

    What would you like to be doing one year from now? Can you make that happen?
    I’d like to be in a city I can stand with a job in my degree field making enough I need to properly live off of, not too much and not too little! Middle class is fine with me! I can try to make that happen but I can’t make someone hire me!

    What would you like to be doing five years from now? Will you make that happen?
    Same answer as before!

    What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire? Is it possible to live a modified version of that life anyway?
    I’d go back to school and get a degree in another field I’d like way more! Or become a professional student and figure out what I’d want to make a career out of. I could alert it to live off of the billion dollars by simply living within my means and maybe just get a minor job to still have that steady source of income anyway.

    How much could you cut your outgoings by? How much time at work does that equate to?
    I barely go out as it is! I never have the time! My life is a lonely mess!

    Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy? If not, why not?
    No! By the time I get home I only have 5 hours to myself. The why is because I work full time!

    What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable? Why don’t you cut that/them out immediately, or pay somebody to do it for you?
    My job! And I can’t cut it out because it’s called a source of income.

    What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing?
    Video games! The only relief I have from the world around me where I can live a much more interesting life.

    What would you like to do more of?
    Living the short life I have on this planet with friends and a loved one(s) and simply enjoying myself!

    What motivates you to do something well?
    Nothing… Over the years I’ve simply lost any motivation I once had.

    Who do you envy, and why?
    Everyone! They all have better lives than I, enjoy what they are doing, and have a social life and love life.

    If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
    Oh Gawd! I have to live to 100? I can think of no greater pain than a long life.

    What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
    Nothing makes me proud, I’m satisfied with the money I make, and video games are the only thing that make my life content enough to keep going.

    What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
    Everything! Especially my job!

    What would you do if you had more talent?
    If I even had A talent I’d abuse the hell out of it to have a much more fulfilling career.

    What would you do if you had more guts?
    Tell off my bosses and everyone else around me!

    What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
    I’d be my true self without the fear of negative social stigma!

    What are you going to do about all this?
    Cry! … Cry and pray this won’t go on forever!

    Reply
  9. I have a complicated, English view of things. I don’t earn enough money but I have a mortgaged house which while a debt tends to make me a future idea of security – which may or may not be important. It lets me live with an idea of using the asset I have been developing to live the kind of life I would like to lead – sustainable, self sufficient. Do I like my job? Yes. Its quite badly paid and the sort of work I do is generally quite well paid but I work three days a week for a company that lets me direct my own work within the confines of what generally needs doing. I think these are good questions but the answers should be tempered with reality. Not all of us are the same and for a lot of people getting by in the old fashioned way is enough and enough of a challenge peppered with small personal victories. I’m as close as I ever have been to having my life the way I want it – I just need about £10000 because I have no buffer bar my house and I have debts to service every month – mostly related to trying to upkeep on the aforementioned house buffer! We English like to sit in our houses and ponder how far we have come from ever being homeless and destitute. Well I do anyway, because i dont imagine its much fun!

    Reply
  10. It’s six years later now, but I’m still going to fill in the answers.

    Do you earn enough money?
    Yes, for me, I do. There’s food in the fridge and all the bills are paid for. I have everything I could ever need, and some left over for treating myself and my family with. However. A little bit more wouldn’t go amiss, just so that my partner wouldn’t have to work as much as he does, and we could spend more time together as a family. When I go back to work, it’s going to be hard not having enough time as a three.

    Do you enjoy your job?
    Yes, I love it. I work in retail, so not the most vital career choice, but then someone has to do it. I like the fast-paced nature and I’m good at working in customer services. I love my co-workers to bits, they make me laugh everyday. It helps that I work with my partner, too.

    Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
    Saturday, but I still work Saturdays. Sundays are my day off with my partner (although I’m on maternity leave right now). Sundays are a day for lie ins and cups of tea in bed in the morning. And Saturday comes before that, whereas by Monday it’s already over.

    What would you like to be doing one year from now? Can you make that happen?
    I would like to be back in work, which I will be, and saving towards holidays and a deposit for a house. I’d like to get rid of debts that we have.

    What would you like to be doing five years from now? Will you make that happen?
    In five years my baby daughter will be ready for starting school. I’ll be watching her grow up and learn new things every day. I hope we are a long way towards affording a deposit on a house. I’d like to be driving by then, as well. And hopefully, my partner and I are planning our wedding, if not be actually married by then.

    What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire? Is it possible to live a modified version of that life anyway?
    I would buy and own a boarding kennel for dogs, or even just make it a rescue centre for neglected/abandoned animals. Maybe one day I could get a business loan to own a boarding kennels without being a billionaire, but I don’t think being a non-profit rescue centre will be viable. I’d also go on lots of holidays and buy a boat for my partner. I’d like to live somewhere by the sea.

    How much could you cut your outgoings by?
    A fair bit, but not much. I don’t feel like I overspend at all really. I buy the odd book here and there and toys for my baby, but other than that… I’m not going out and buying expensive jewellery or clothes, put it that way.

    Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy? If not, why not?
    Yes, plenty. Even when I was still working, I had time to come home and relax, or go out for a couple of drinks or a meal after work. The best spent time off for me is with my partner outside of the work setting. I have time to go on walks and have a hot bubble bath and read plenty, or do my word searches. I am a creature of simple pleasures. Now that I’m a mum on maternity leave, I’ve got plenty of spare time to spend with my baby girl.

    What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable? Why don’t you cut that/them out immediately, or pay somebody to do it for you?
    Honestly nothing. That probably sounds like a lie but I reckon I have quite a healthy balance with my life. I don’t mind cleaning or tidying up, I enjoy shopping. I don’t tend to do things I don’t enjoy.

    What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing?
    I watch a fair bit of TV, but then why not? I enjoy being a bit of a couch potato at times. Not everything has to have a point to it, sometimes it’s nice to just chill out I think. My guilty pleasure is reality TV, mind-numbing but I love a bit of drama. Not in real life though, I don’t like gossipy people.

    What would you like to do more of?
    Spend time with my partner. Maybe more walking. I read plenty. More sleep would be nice! New mum and all that.

    What motivates you to do something well?
    My enjoyment level. If I don’t enjoy something, I’m not going to make a good job of it.

    Who do you envy, and why? People who own homes. I’ll get there one day, but right now it seems a long way off. People who have bought their own homes and can make it exactly how they want it.

    If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
    Definitely. A good life is one filled with experiences and happy memories.

    What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
    My daughter is an answer to all three of those, as is my partner. A cup of tea and a hot bath make me feel content. And finishing a good book makes me feel satisfied. I’m a huge foodie as well so food always makes me happy.

    What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
    My father frustrates me. Sports bore me, football especially. Unfulfilled… if I feel I haven’t spent enough quality time with my family.

    What would you do if you had more talent?
    Write books. I’m okay at creative writing, I just struggle with writing at length. I always loved English at school though, and was good at it.

    What would you do if you had more guts?
    Tell my father everything that I have an issue with. It’s mainly that I don’t like that he has an issue with my relationship. I’m with someone 27 years older than me, so although I appreciate his concerns, I don’t appreciate his horrible comments and complete refusal to accept it. At all.

    What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
    Exactly what I’m doing now. I’m happy with my life, there’s just a few goals I’m working towards like marriage and a house of my own. I also really want dogs again, but I can’t do that until I own my own home.

    What are you going to do about all this?
    I’m not entirely sure what can be done…

    Reply

 
 

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