Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last day of the old year

Well, here we are at post #365. To those of you who followed us throughout the year, a big thank you! And, we hope that these questions opened some doors for you, and enhanced your thinking and journaling process.

What subject areas on this blog engaged you the most? What question vexed you the most? What do you wish we'd spent on more time on?

See you in 2010!

This week's theme is the year in review.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Theme of the year

What was the theme of the year for you personally? What opportunities and challenges came up over and over? What lessons repeatedly presented themselves?

This week's theme is the year in review.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Plot twists

Try to remember where you were at the beginning of this year, and what you expected 2009 to bring. Which things came out as expected, and which caught you by surprise? How different was the general tone of the year from what you'd anticipated?

This week's theme is the year in review.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Person of the year

Of all the people you met this year, who had the biggest impact on your life?

This week's theme is the year in review.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Top ten: gratitude round up

Looking over the entire year, what ten things are you grateful for? What benefited you the most this year? What factors outside of your control worked in your favor?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The year in review

Did you keep a diary or a journal this year? If so, do you plan on looking through it sometime over the next week, to review the year? Whether you keep a diary or not, do you take time at the end of each year to look back over your accomplishments, trials, and general progress?

Friday, December 25, 2009

The big C-day

Does your family celebrate Christmas? (If not, substitute your preferred major holiday instead.) What is Christmas like with your family? Do you look forward to it, or dread it? Have you ever made up an excuse to miss the big family holiday get-together? Or are you the person planning next year's as soon as this year's is over?

This week's theme is family.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The official party line

Does most of your family subscribe to a similar belief system? Are there members who don't follow the same faith? Are they accepted, merely tolerated, or shunned by the rest?

This week's theme is family.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vanilla, or green-tea-macadamia-pomegranate-chip?

Does your family lean more towards conforming to normal behavior, or do they tend to express their own unique qualities?

This week's theme is family.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Family: the motion picture

If your family were a family in a book, or a movie, how would your character be described (in a few sentences)? Who would play you in the film?

This week's theme is family.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Your family

Who is your family? What does it mean to be a family?

This week's theme is family.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Top Ten: 2009 in review, part 1

Looking back at the year, what were the ten lowest points for you? These are bad things that happened, twists and turns that were unexpected and unwanted, difficulties and obstacles, and just generally unfortunate turns of fate or luck.

(A more cheerful top ten is coming next Sunday!)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rise and shine

Do you rely on an alarm clock to wake you up in the morning? If you didn't use an alarm clock, how much later would your sleep?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Godzilla suit

What is the most outlandish costume or outfit that you have ever worn? What was the occasion or event where you wore it? What kind of response did you get?

This week's theme is extremes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's better to give

What is the most generous thing you've ever done? Or the most expensive gift you've ever given?

This week's theme is extremes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


What is the longest book that you ever read cover to cover?

This week's theme is extremes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

World tour

What is the farthest you've traveled to see a concert? Who was the performer?

This week's theme is extremes.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meal ticket

What is the most expensive meal that you ever paid for?

This week's theme is extremes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Top Ten: clothes make the wo/man

All your clothing reflects your personal style, but what ten pieces of your wardrobe — anything from head to foot! — distill the true essence of your unique look?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A postcard from...

What would be your dream vacation? If the cost and logistics were all handled for you, where would you like to go?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Breathe deep...hold...breathe out

What are you doing to reduce the level of stress in your life?

This week's theme is stress.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What are you worried about?

When we feel stress, it's often at least partly because we care about what happens. For example, wanting to look good, wanting to avoid embarrassment, and wanting things to come out perfectly are all basically positive motivations, but they're likely to make experiences more stressful. What are some of the things that you care about—things that contribute to your stress and anxiety? Who or what generates the most stress in your life?

This week's theme is stress.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How much is too much?

How many days in the past week held too much stress and anxiety for you? How many days this week are you expecting to be stressful? Do you try to schedule stressful events so that they don't fall on successive days?

This week's theme is stress.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

If you can't take the heat...

How does your personality change when you feel under pressure? Do you lose your sense of humor, or do you make jokes to try to break the tension? Do you become more passive, or more determined? Do you tend to lash out at people around you, or do you become quiet and withdrawn?

This week's theme is stress.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Under pressure

When you feel under pressure, what parts of your body are the first to be affected? What physical symptoms help you notice that you are under too much stress?

This week's theme is stress.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Top Ten: regrets and mistakes

What are ten things that you are sorry you did—actions or decisions that you would take back and do differently if you could?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

In the spotlight

Have you ever been on TV? On the radio? In front of a large audience? What was the time in your life when you felt the most publicly visible or the most "on stage"?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Today's new experience

Every day brings new challenges and new experiences. What is something that you did, yesterday or today, for the first time ever?

This week's theme is firsts.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

First minute at home

What is often the first thing you do upon arriving at home (after closing the door, switching on the light, and putting down the things that you're carrying)?

This week's theme is firsts.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First day at work

What was your first money-making job? What was your first full-time job?

This week's theme is firsts.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


What is one thing you did before anyone else — something that no one from your family, or your town, or your school had every done before?

This week's theme is firsts.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The first time

In the first years of life we quickly transform from helpless infants into mobile and capable little people. Along the way, there were many first times — for example, the first step you took, the first time you ate with a fork, the first book you read. For most of us, these early accomplishments are hard to remember. What is one early skill or experience that you can clearly remember doing for the first time?

This week's theme is firsts.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Top Ten: shopping whims

There are things we buy out of necessity or obligation, and there are other things that are not so easy to justify buying. Sometimes these turn out to be our most treasured things, and sometimes they are just a waste of money.

What are ten of the most frivolous purchases you have made?

Giving thanks

What sacrifices have people made for your benefit, so that your life could be better?

Friday, November 27, 2009

In Mom and Dad's day...

Were your parents good role models for taking care of your health? Are you generally in better, worse or the same health as your parents at the same age? If your parents had a particular condition, are you watching out for that condition yourself?

This week's theme is your body, your health.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What, me worry?

What is your biggest realistic concern about your own health? How about your most unfounded fear?

This week's theme is your body, your health.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'll think about that tomorrow

Does thinking about your health upset or agitate you? Do you avoid going to doctors because you don't want to face thinking about your health?

This week's theme is your body, your health.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gym day!

What do you do on a daily basis for your general health? What do you do every week for your health? What do you do every month for your health? What do you do every year for your health?

This week's theme is your body, your health.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Your body, your health

How healthy are you? Are you comfortable with your general level of health? Or are there some aspects of your body's condition that you should change, or that need care and attention?

This week's theme is your body, your health.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Top Ten: staple foods

What are ten foods that are always found in your kitchen, or that you are likely to eat at least once every week?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Who *is* that person??

We all have ideas when we're young about who we're going to be, and what we're going to do with our lives. What aspect of your current life would surprise your younger self?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Time and memory

What time-specific information do you have committed to memory?

For example, do you remember the dates of many historical events? How many birthdays and holidays have you memorized?

Do people turn to you to find out when each TV show is on? Do you know when certain stores and restaurants open and close on different days of the week?

What other dates and times are filed away in your memory?

This week's theme is time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time and place

What tool or method do you use to keep track of your appointments? If you use a calendar, is it paper or electronic? What style is it? Where do you keep it?

How well does your system work? Do you usually remember your appointments and show up on time?

This week's theme is time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On borrowed time

Many of us live our lives as if our current routine will continue forever. Of course, nothing lasts forever; things change, whether predictably or by surprise. What are some parts of your daily life and routine that you know will change on a specific date in the future? What are some things that are likely to change fairly soon, even if you can't predict exactly when?

This week's theme is time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Time slots

How much of your daily life is ruled by time? Does an alarm clock wake you up in the morning? How many of the things you do depend on schedules or appointments that are set up in advance?

This week's theme is time.

Monday, November 16, 2009


How many clocks do you have in your home? How many watches? How many computers, appliances, and other devices at home have a clock built in?

Are all of your clocks set to (approximately) the right time?

This week's theme is time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Top Ten: rules you live by

What are ten simple principles or values that guide your life?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane

Have you ever grudgingly traveled somewhere with low expectations, only to have a really good time anyway?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Turn left at the llama farm

What was the most unusual landmark or distinctive location in your childhood neighborhood?

This week's theme is long-term memory.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The secret back door

Did you ever bend the rules to get into a place or event where, strictly speaking, you weren’t allowed? What was the place or event, and what was your clever way of getting in?

This week's theme is long-term memory.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Party like it's 1999

Where were you on New Year's Eve, 1999? Who were you with?

This week's theme is long-term memory.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Round of applause

What was one occasion when you personally got a round of applause from a group of people?

This week's theme is long-term memory.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The letter you never sent

This week's questions are meant to spark your memories of events from years ago, things you might not have thought about recently.

Did you ever write an important letter (or e-mail) and then decide not to send it?
Do you still have that letter? If so, why did you keep it?

This week's theme is long-term memory.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Top Ten: things you're not doing

What are ten things that you constantly put off, finding anything else to do to delay having to do them?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Big storm!

Think of the blizzards, ice storms, hurricanes, and soaking rainstorms that you've lived through. What is your most dramatic or most colorful storm story? Did you ever have to evacuate because of a storm? What big plans did you have to cancel or change because the weather interfered?

Friday, November 6, 2009

What's that blue thing doing here?

What's the thing in your refrigerator that you bought, but will probably never eat? What will you eat instead?

This week's theme is what you eat.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I don't usually eat this, but...

Are you defensive about some of the things that you eat? Do you find yourself explaining, excusing, or even apologizing to people who don't even care about what you are eating? What does that say about how you feel about what you are eating?

This week's theme is what you eat.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Your culinary soapbox

Many of us make decisions about food based on health concerns, but sometimes our decisions are purely philosophical ones. If you have a specific food or group of foods that you don't eat for moral, religious, political, or other philosophical reasons, how strict are you in that prohibition? Have you capitulated and eaten it at a family dinner simply to keep the peace, or at a business lunch to keep from having a potentially awkward conversation with a client or your boss?

This week's theme is what you eat.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No, thank you

What don't you eat? Why don't you eat those things?

This week's theme is what you eat.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What you eat

Food is a subject fraught with significance. Our basic behaviors and feelings about food are driven by instinct -- including instincts that we have in common with all other animals. But food and eating are also surrounded by social and cultural patterns that are uniquely human, or even unique to our own country or region. As if that weren't enough, what we eat is also tangled up with health issues, weight, self-esteem, self-control, money, politics, and a host of other issues. It's hard to think of a part of life that doesn't interact in some way with food and eating.

What do you eat? Why do you eat the things that you eat?

This week's theme is what you eat.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Top Ten: worth a hike

Suppose you were temporarily without a car in a place where you had to walk a significant distance to get into town. What are ten things, ordinary items or extraordinary opportunities, that could easily be worth making a walk of a mile or two, if that's what it took?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

In costume

In the United States, today is Halloween, a time when you might put on a costume and transform yourself into something scary, or some fantasy character, or someone very different from your usual self.

If you're celebrating Halloween, what costume are you wearing this year? What character are you playing?

If you're not putting on a costume this year, what Halloween costume might you enjoy wearing? What character or creature would you like to portray? What fantasy character is approximately the opposite of your usual personality?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Brand loyalty

What are your favorite brands, stores, or businesses — companies whose logos you wouldn't mind wearing, whose style or values match up well with your own?

This week's theme is your favorites.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The best day, the worst day

What is your favorite day of the week? What's good about that particular day?
What is your least favorite day of the week? What it is about that day that puts it at the bottom of your list?

This week's theme is your favorites.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Guess what's back in style

What is one thing that you're sorry is out of fashion, because you think it might be fun to wear? Do you sometimes defy fashion trends in order to wear things that you particularly like or that are uniquely your style?

This week's theme is your favorites.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The popular choice

When you find out that something is widely liked, does that make you more inclined to like it yourself? Or is it just the opposite — are you more likely to steer clear of things that "everyone else" is doing, to display a more distinctly individual style?

This week's theme is your favorites.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Your favorites

Think about your favorite music, books, TV shows, movies, clothing styles, restaurants, and other things that are at the top of your lists. How do these things usually come into your life and make it to the top of your list? Are they things you stumble on by accident? Do you have friends who tend to find great things and tell you about them? Are they things that are so heavily advertised that you couldn't avoid finding out about them?

This week's theme is your favorites.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Top Ten: yikes!

What are ten things you're scared of, whether the fear is rational or irrational?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My secret life

What is something interesting about you that none of your coworkers knows about?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The mysterious stranger

What's the most outrageous deception you ever perpetrated? Did you pretend to be an architect in order to attend an architect's ball? Lie at a party and tell an eligible stranger that you were European royalty? Claim that you'd invented the Twinkie to impress co-workers?

Did you ever wish you could be the person you pretended to be? If you can pretend to be it, what's stopping you from actually being it?

This week's theme is being genuine.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Get me out of this party!

What kinds of experiences or events trigger your strongest feelings of being an impostor? What are some events that you avoid because they don't seem to allow you to be yourself?

This week's theme is being genuine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

False friends

Among the people you know, who seems the least genuine?

Which of your friends or family members make the most effort to maintain public identities that don't match their true selves?

How do their efforts affect your relationship with them? Are there things that you have to pretend not to notice, or things you're not allowed to talk about?

This week's theme is being genuine.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Being fake

Do you sometimes feel like a fraud, or an impostor? What roles are you called to play that you're not fully comfortable with?

In what ways are you not living up to the person you believe people think you are?

This week's theme is being genuine.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Being genuine

We all play roles throughout our lives: we're a child, a partner, a spouse, a parent. A student. An employee. A teammate. A cast member. A caretaker. Sometimes these roles come naturally to us, but at other times, we need to put on a mask and do something that feels a little artificial. This week, we'll take a look at being genuine, and the art of pretending.

What roles have you played that feel appropriate for you, comfortable, and truly genuine?

This week's theme is being genuine.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Top Ten: on your hit parade

What are ten songs that hold a lot of meaning for you, that perhaps even make you stop and listen when you hear them playing somewhere? Try to come up with one word or short phrase that encapsulates each song's meaning for you.

Billboard's Hot 100 (click "View Chart Archives" to pick your own date)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy (blank) day!

If you decided you wanted to hold a big celebration — on something other than your birthday, or a recognized holiday — what are a few of the things that you could use as an excuse to celebrate?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pet project

How much attention does your pet need or demand from you? Do you have set times every day, or during the week, for play time? Or do you just play with your pet when they look like they need attention?

This week's theme is you and your pet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stupid (and not-so-stupid) pet tricks

TV's "Lassie" was a pet who famously rescued people left and right (usually Timmy, who was down the well). Have any of your pets ever done anything heroic, surprising, or memorable?

This week's theme is you and your pets.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pet peeves

As cat owners, we are sometimes chagrined to be accosted in pet stores by large, friendly dogs who want to deposit saliva on us: cat owners usually do not bring their pets shopping! What are some of your pet peeves about pet ownership?

This week's theme is you and your pets.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pet pros and cons

Studies show that people with pets live longer. On the other hand, they take effort and expense to care for. What are your biggest pros and cons with regard to pet ownership? Overall, is it worthwhile to have a pet?

This week's theme is you and your pets.

Monday, October 12, 2009

You and your pets

If you have a pet, or have ever had a pet, you know that they are an important part of your life. Providers of entertainment, companionship, and unconditional love, a pet can teach you many things and be there for you when literally no one else is.

Do you have a pet? If so, what kind? What kinds of pets have you had throughout your life? If you've never had pets, what kind do you imagine you might like to have, assuming it were practical?

This week's theme is you and your pets.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Top Ten: first impressions

Maybe you could tell right away that you would be best friends forever. Or maybe you said, "What an arrogant, conceited jerk!"

What are ten occasions when you met someone for the first time, and he or she made a strong, definite impression on you — whether favorable or unfavorable?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Your fall season

What is unique about the autumn season for you?
What are some things that you do only in autumn, and rarely or never during other seasons?
Which of your possessions is only used in autumn?
What emotional states are you most likely to experience in autumn?

Friday, October 9, 2009

No secrets

What would life be like without any privacy at all? How would your life change if all of your secrets were revealed?

This week's theme is your private thoughts and feelings.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


What would it take to make you happy right now?

This week's theme is your private
thoughts and feelings.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stray thoughts

What are you likely to think about in spare moments in between things?

This week's theme is your private
thoughts and feelings.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fears and nightmares

What do you fear? What are your nightmares about?

This week's theme is your private thoughts and feelings.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Your private feelings

Do you have a choice about what you feel? If you don't, then who does?

This week's theme is your private thoughts and feelings.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Top Ten: reasons to feel hopeful

Whether they make the news or not, people near and far are finding ways to make things better. They are curing diseases, finding new solutions to old problems, inventing useful things, and removing hassles and irritations. In your own life, people are constantly busy about things that directly or indirectly benefit you. As Rob Breszny puts it, "the whole world is conspiring to shower you with blessings."

What are ten things, big or small, that are happening already or could reasonably happen in the near future to make your life better?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Showing restraint

What is something you would you go ahead and do, if you found out that it wasn't bad for your health after all?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Who's missing from your team?

Is your team well-staffed? Or is it lacking in certain talents or qualities? If you were going to invent the ideal person to add to your personal team, what would that person be like? What qualities or assets would he or she bring to help round out the team?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

MVP part two

What's your special skill? On someone else's team, for what skill would you be the most valued? What can you do effortlessly, and expertly, that brings you admiration and that could potentially support someone's game plan?

Are you the person who always finds a parking space right in front of the restaurant, even at the most busy times? Can you whip up professional looking party decorations from a few scraps of fabric and wire? Do you make household repairs a professional would envy, using only duct tape and spackle? Can you write a song for any occasion, on any subject, in half an hour?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Most valuable player

In your day-to-day life, who's got your back? Who can you most reliably count on to help you out when you get into difficulties?

This week's theme is your team.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When the going gets tough

Suppose that you and your team will be part of a contest of endurance in a rugged and remote place. Among the people you know, who is the most skilled and resourceful? Who would you want to have with you as you faced a challenging and unfamiliar environment?

This week's theme is your team.

Monday, September 28, 2009

On your team

Suppose you had a chance to compete on a game show where you and your friends must solve complex, unique problems or puzzles. Among all the people you know, who would you most want to have on your team?

This week's theme is your team.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Top Ten: problems you prevented

Heroes who sweep in to handle a crisis get plenty of attention and praise, but it's an often-noted irony that you rarely get credit for preventing a crisis. Nothing happens; it's a non-event; and often no one but you knows what you did to keep things from going off the rails.

What are ten problems (large or small) that you prevented, crises that you averted, or disasters that didn't happen because you were there to stop them?

You might have to dig through your memories to answer this question, but it's worth taking the time to give yourself another silent round of applause. Did your well-timed advice keep a friend from making an expensive mistake? Did you recognize someone's symptoms and help steer them towards getting appropriate medical care? Did you talk someone out of taking rash action in a moment of anger or desperation? Were you at the right place at the right time to hold things together when they otherwise would have fallen apart?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bon voyage!

What is one fictional place from TV, films, or novels that you wish you could actually visit?

Now imagine that your wish has been granted and you are preparing for a trip to that place. What will you pack to take with you? What will you want to do first when you get there? Who will you hope to see during your visit?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Safety net

If you were free to implement any imaginable changes to your life, what would you do to make yourself feel completely secure?

This week's theme is security and insecurity.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Before and after

Was there a milestone in your life when your sense of personal security changed?

This week's theme is security and insecurity.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Your sanctuary

What are the places or settings where you feel most secure?

This week's theme is security and insecurity.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Uneasy places

What are the places or situations where you feel generally less safe or less secure?

This week's theme is security and insecurity.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Security and insecurity

What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself feeling secure in your life? Are there some precautions or safety measures that you recently added to your routine?

This week's theme is security and insecurity.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Top Ten: Ha, who needs that!

What are ten modern conveniences that you're pretty sure you could live without?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It should have been me

Do you sometimes feel jealous when you see other people win awards or receive recognition of their skills and accomplishments? Do you sometimes think, "I've done things that are just as worthy — how come no one's acknowledging me?"

Which situation is most likely to inspire twinges of envy in you: when a family member is praised, a friend, a casual acquaintance, or a public figure?

Morrissey drily sums up this phenomenon in his song We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful (on YouTube).

Friday, September 18, 2009

I can't believe we did that

What friend goaded you to take a crazy risk, a reckless adventure that you would never repeat today?

This week's theme is old friends.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

That's what friends are for

What friend introduced you to new culinary delights, foods that you never had at home?

This week's theme is old friends.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

With friends like these...

Which friend has given you more grief than any other over the years? Overall, has their friendship been worth the trouble?

This week's theme is old friends.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jukebox of memories

Is there a song that, every time you hear it, reminds you of one of your earliest friends? What song is it, and what is the connection between this song and your friend?

This week's theme is old friends.

Monday, September 14, 2009

First friend ever

Who was the first friend you ever had, from early childhood? What are your earliest memories of your friend?

This week's theme is old friends.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Top Ten: new job

Putting aside practical considerations like salary, location, and training, what are ten jobs you think might be fun to try for a month?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Learning + Opportunity = self-discovery gold!

What is today's unique opportunity? How can you apply the lessons you learned yesterday to today's unique opportunity?

Friday, September 11, 2009

A little of everything

Scientists studying nutrition made a surprising discovery: people eat too much at buffets. Faced with a wide range of choices of healthy, delicious food, people on average take far more than they need, eat more than they should, and steadily gain weight. Is this "buffet phenomenon" also responsible for everyone being too busy? Is life simply too full of tantalizing opportunities? If so, could you bring your life into balance by arbitrarily limiting the range of things that you choose from?

If you have to leave some things off your buffet of activities, how do you go about making that choice? Which kinds of activities are essential to who you are, and which could you manage to live without?

This week's theme is being too busy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

All I need is a team of gnomes

Suppose there were magic gnomes who stop by in the middle of the night to help you with your unfinished chores. If you could give the gnomes just one task each night, what is the one thing you would ask them to do for you tonight? What is one difficult or unpleasant task that you'd be happy to let someone else take care of for you?

With a team of gnomes handling one chore a night, would that be enough extra help to bring your schedule into balance? Or would you still find yourself with too much to do?

This week's theme is being too busy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What's missing from this picture?

What would you like to make time for, if you could get through all of the more urgent things that you are doing right now? What are some important things that you would want to take care of if you weren't so busy? What are some fun activities that you would want to fit into your life if you could find the time?

Which things do you resent the most, because they take up time that you'd rather spend doing something else?

This week's theme is being too busy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Busy season

Is this the busiest time in your life? Or can you think of an earlier time when you life was even busier? Was there a time in your life when you actually felt bored because you had too little to do? What happened to make you more or less busy? What kinds of events and circumstances affect how busy you are?

This week's theme is being too busy.

Monday, September 7, 2009

How busy are you?

Which of these best describes your life?
  1. I have plenty of time for everything
  2. I sometimes have too much to do
  3. I always have too much to do and too little time
  4. I only have time for things that are actually on fire
Most people say they are chronically too busy, with a profound mismatch between how much time they have available and their list of things to do. Why does that happen? Why do so many of us try to do more things than we have time for?

This week's theme is being too busy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Top Ten: goals for 2009

New Year's Day isn't the only day when you can make resolutions! Now that we're entering the final third of the year, it's time to get serious (and realistic!) about your goals for this year.

What are ten things that you will make a point of accomplishing, ten goals that you intend to check off before New Year's Eve 2009?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How bright is that light?

Here's a philosophical riddle for you to ponder: If more people see a light, does that make the light brighter? Or is the brightness of the light an objective measurement that's entirely separate from who might be looking at it?

Along the same lines, if more people agree with your side of an argument, does that make you more right? Or is the rightness of a statement an objective fact, entirely separate from what people think about it?

Friday, September 4, 2009

The past ends right now

Every moment gives you an opportunity to start anew and break from the past.

What is one thing you can do today to help complete and release your past, so you can be more free to move forward?

This week's theme is incompleteness.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Amends and apologies

What apologies do you still need to deliver? What harmful actions or mistakes from the past do you still need to correct? Are there debts that you must repay?

This week's theme is incompleteness.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shadows and highlights

What periods or events from your life are the most painful for you to remember and relive?

Now, imagine that you are a professional publicist, and your task is to put a positive spin on those period of your life. How could you recast those events so that they seem like positive and necessary elements in your life story?

This week's theme is incompleteness.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I could have been a contender

What is the biggest promise of your life that you have not yet delivered? What great potential do you carry, still unfulfilled?

If you were to die prematurely, what one thing would you most regret leaving undone?

This week's theme is incompleteness.

Monday, August 31, 2009

After all these years

There's nothing wrong with enjoying your rich personal history, but most of us also have some unhealthy ties to the past — things that we won't let go of and that limit us in our lives today. It's good to become aware of these things and do whatever it takes to release them. When you aren't dragging your past with you, you have much more freedom to choose your direction.

What disappointments from long ago do you still carry with you? What old grudges do you carry?

This week's theme is incompleteness.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Top Ten: lucky breaks

What are ten lucky breaks that affected the course of your life? Think of things that were unlikely to happen, things that no one in their right mind would have gambled on — events that defied the odds and happened anyway. What are these lucky occurrences that helped make it possible for you to be where you are today?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

If you could break the rules

Thinking about where you are in your life right now, what are the rules that keep you stuck? And what would become possible if you were willing to break the rules?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Team spirit

What hobbies and activities do you two enjoy doing together? What values do you share? What goals do you have in common?

This week's theme is your partner.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The way we were

What are some dramatic changes or unexpected events — happy or unhappy — that loom large in the history of your relationship? What are some things that used to play a big role in the relationship, but now are largely forgotten?

This week's theme is your partner.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Love story

What obstacles or difficulties complicated the earliest period of your relationship? How did you overcome them?

This week's theme is your partner.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The story of us

Think about the history of your relationship. How long have you two been together? What was your first impression of him/her? Did someone play an important role in bringing you two together?

This week's theme is your partner.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Your partner

Most of us are either in a relationship, or between relationships. Few of us have given up on partnership entirely! Because of the amount of time and space you share with a beloved — whether husband, girlfriend, lover, significant other, friend-with-benefit, spouse, partner — they are bound to be a immense presence in your life. This week, we'll look at a few questions dealing with your partner and your relationship.

Are you in a relationship right now? What word do you use most often when introducing your partner to someone?

This week's theme is your partner.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Top Ten: taken for granted

What are ten things that you take for granted, and rarely think about — things that enrich your life or make your life easier for you? We recommend taking a full day to answer this question. Look around for the things you might otherwise overlook.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh, yeah? Well...shut up!

What is your favorite fallback tactic when you realize that you can't win the argument on logic alone?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Your exclusive club

What is one great thing you already have in your life that everyone else (or almost everyone) is missing out on? Do you count this as a success?

This week's theme is success.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Try, try again

Does each failure move you closer to success, or does it make you want to give up? What can you do to reduce the cost of each failure, so that it's easier to keep trying?

This week's theme is success.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good job

How does your employer measure your success at your job? How do you measure your success at your job? How do your family and friends measure your success?

This week's theme is success.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Your reputation precedes you

What person (real or fictional) comes to mind, for you, as the ultimate picture of success? What are some of the costs of that person's success? What are some of the things, positive and negative, that people say about that person?

This week's theme is success.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Same life, more success

When you think of great success, you might picture a life very different from the one you're leading now. But what if you could just turn up an imaginary "success" dial without making any overt changes in your life? What would it look like if you were extremely successful within the life and circumstances that you have now?

This week's theme is success.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Top Ten: toxic waste cleanup

Think of the people, possessions, attitudes, emotions, habits, vices, etc., that drag down your life or are harmful to you in some way. What are ten things that, if you got rid of them, would improve your life?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

You can't eat just one

What product or activity or experience in your life seems to be temporarily habit-forming — it tends to come not one at a time but in clumps or series?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Grand unifying theory

The reporter is winding up now, and asks you a concluding question to end the interview:

What is the unifying theme of your life story?

This week's theme is telling your life story.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A continuing series

Now the reporter is so fascinated by you, she's suggested turning the article into a series!

How might you outline your life into sections or chapters? Which chapters would be easiest for you to write, and which would be difficult?

This week's theme is telling your life story.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Details to gloss over

That pesky reporter is still there, interviewing you!

What are some things that are an important part of your life, but are just not very interesting from a storytelling perspective?

This week's theme is telling your life story.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The small editor within

You're still being interviewed about your life story.

When telling your story, what events in your life would you be tempted to revise because they reflect badly on you?

This week's theme is telling your life story.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Telling your life story

Imagine that a reporter is coming to interview you for a story summing up your life. You'll need to make an inventory of the aspects of your life that you'll want to focus on, and be ready to talk about yourself in a positive light. You'll also need to be prepared for probing questions that might not be easy to answer. The reporter arrives, you sit down, take a deep breath, and the first question comes:

What admirable human qualities does your life exemplify?

This week's theme is telling your life story.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Top Ten: gainful employment

What are ten things you have done to earn money?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Goodbye, old friend

What is one friendship that you have outgrown? What bonds or interests held that friendship together? What changed to make that friendship no longer work for you?

Friday, August 7, 2009

The family home

What are some common things in your home that would also have been seen in the home of your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents?

What are some things in your home that tie you to your specific past? Do you have a religious emblem — like a doorway mezuzah — that someone handed down to you? A pineapple door-knocker, which is an old symbol of welcome? Perhaps a decorative milk-pail that a great-grandparent actually used for milking cows?

This week's theme is the state of your home.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Home improvement

What would you change about your home if it weren't too difficult or expensive? What would you change about your home if money was no object?

This week's theme is the state of your home.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A room with a view

In what room do you spend most of your time? What rooms in your home do you avoid, or simply don't visit very much? What would make those spaces more inviting to you?

This week's theme is the state of your home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thanks for stopping by!

What do other people see when they first enter your home? Does it accurately reflect the kind of place with which you want to be associated? Or is it out of line with your personal style and philosophy?

This week's theme is the state of your home.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The state of your home

Where we live — and how we live — is very important, because it affects our state of mind. Often, it reflects our state of mind. This week we're going to examine how you deal with your stuff and your surroundings.

When you come to the entrance of your home, what kind of a feeling do you get? Do you think about the mess waiting behind the door and feel helpless about cleaning it up? Are you delighted to be about to enter your own perfect, private sanctuary from the world? Do you look forward to being there, or dread walking through the door? How do you feel about how the entryway actually looks from the outside?

This week's theme is the state of your home.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Top Ten: moonlight memories

Normally we sleep every night, on a more-or-less regular timetable. But sometimes circumstances, obligations, or opportunities interrupt our routines, and we find ourselves awake in the middle of the night, doing something unexpected or unusual: perhaps giving birth, flying across the ocean, escaping a fire, or reading a novel that's too gripping to put down.

What are ten of the most memorable or unusual places you've been or things you've done late at night, at hours when you would normally be asleep?

Saturday, August 1, 2009


How do you handle frustration? Do you let it wash over you and carry you away, making everyone else's day miserable? Or do you bottle it up and wait to express it at the gym, or by pounding some bread dough, or writing an energetically angry poem?

If someone specific is the cause of your frustration, do you tell them what they did to frustrate you? Or let it fester unhealthily until it comes out in a big blast of an argument with them some weeks later?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Arguing on the side of truth

Do you sometimes find yourself in sharp religious/spiritual/philosophical disagreement with someone who is entirely wrong in his/her position? Is this kind of disagreement between people inevitable?

Why do people sometimes actively propound ideas that they know are incomplete, misleading or entirely untrue? What can people gain by deliberately distorting or muddying the truth?

This week's theme is spiritual beliefs.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Learned and unlearned

What are some things religious leaders taught you that you later re-examined and rejected?

This week's theme is spiritual beliefs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Please don't change my mind

Do you hold beliefs that you are simply unwilling to examine, because you wouldn't know what to do if they turned out to be incorrect?
This week's theme is spiritual beliefs.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The possible, and the impossible

What is an example of something in your spirituality or religion that you know for sure? What is something that you know is true, even though you may not be able to prove it to other people?

What is one spiritual or religious theory that you know is wrong, even though you never studied it in detail? What is one possibility that you know is impossible?

This week's theme is spiritual beliefs.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Spiritual beliefs

Whether or not you identify with any specific religion, you probably believe something about the world and your place in it. You might place your faith in a pantheon of deities, the small voice of inner wisdom that advises you when you most need it, or your own personal strength and will. This week, we'll look at your spiritual beliefs as first taught to you in childhood, and how they've developed as you've walked the path to your grown-up life.

What are your beliefs? What are they based on?

This week's theme is spiritual beliefs.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Top Ten: household chores

What are ten things that seem to constantly need doing in your home, the ten chores that never end?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

National Propose-a-Holiday Day

If you had a chance to propose one new national holiday, what would it be called, and what would you want people to do to commemorate your new holiday? A whimsical answer is okay, but it might be interesting to seriously think about the set of existing holidays and come up with something or someone that you believe ought to be honored or celebrated.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Feel the burn!

When you can't seem to do something well, what keeps you going when you would otherwise give up? What leads you to try again when you have failed at something? Are you motivated by the encouragement of other people who want to see you succeed? Are you motivated by the example of people who have already accomplished what you are trying to do? Or do you have an internal, competitive drive — the determination to do as well as, or better than someone else?

This week's theme is skills and strengths.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I remember when we used to...

What skills did you practice in childhood, but gave up by the time you became an adult? What skills or talents do you wish you had, but never took the time to develop? What are some skills you have that are no longer needed because they are tied to obsolete technology or are otherwise dated?

What long-abandoned skill or talent would you like to take up again? What's stopping you?

This week's theme is skills and strengths.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

When you need a ________, call me!

Which of your skills are the most practical? Which is the most esoteric? What is one skill you're just as happy not to have to put to use?

This week's theme is skills and strengths.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

If I could just do this one thing

What is your persistent weak point? What could you do to turn your weakness into a strength?

This week's theme is skills and strengths.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Skills and strengths

When you think about who you are, beyond your age, race, and ethnicity, probably the next things that come to mind are your strengths and skills. We identify so strongly with the things we can do well, sometimes we forgot that we're made up of more than that. This week, we're going to take a look at the things you do well...but also the things you don't do so well. It's the things we do well, that other people don't do so well, that we often take for granted. On the other hand, the things we don't do so well are often our worst enemies, keeping us from trying new things or revisiting old ones.

Think of all of the areas where you have at least a moderate level of skill. How many skills can you list in sixty seconds?

This week's theme is skills and strengths.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Top Ten: recurring dreams

Do dreams carry hidden messages? If they do, the dreams that we have again and again just might have the most important messages for us. Recurring dreams can be pleasant -- stories of great achievement or exciting places -- but more often, these dreams are frustrating, frightening, or dissonant in some way.

What are ten stories or themes that repeatedly turn up in your dreams?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The place of success

Place names are often spoken metaphorically, for example as symbols of power (Red Square), centers of particular industries (Hollywood, Detroit, Wall Street), or icons of chaos (Bedlam) or security (Fort Knox). Generic places are used metaphorically too: mountaintop, watering hole, crossroads.

What place is a metaphor for success for you? When you think of a place that stands for great success, what place comes to mind first?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Face the music

Drifting is muddling through life, guided by inertia, while postponing or avoiding difficult decisions. What makes those big decisions so hard to face? If you decided you were ready to face some of your difficult decisions, who or what might be available to give you moral support?

What would it mean if you had to take full responsibility for your direction in life? What would you have to give up? And what might you ultimately gain?

This week's theme is drift.

Update 7/22: Do you feel like you're drifting through life? Just how serious is your drift problem? Now you can take the "Are You Drifting?" quiz at The Happiness Project blog.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A new life

Imagine you somehow had a chance to rebuild your life circumstances from scratch, to "rewrite" your life and freely choose your focus and direction. What would your newly created life look like? What would your biggest goals be? Where would you direct most of your energy?

What elements of your current life would you want to make sure to retain while building your all-new life? And which elements of your life are accidents of circumstance that you would be just as happy to leave behind?

This week's theme is drift.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You may already be a winner

Do you have fantasies about someone or something coming along to rescue you from your current circumstances? Do you spend much time thinking about winning the lottery, getting an unlikely "big break," or being beset by a large-scale disaster that changes your circumstances without your having to take any action? If so, you might be experiencing drift, which is characterized by a lack of responsibility for your circumstances and direction.

What is your favorite (or most frequent) fantasy about being rescued by external forces?
How likely is that to occur? If it did occur, what big, difficult decisions would you be able to avoid?

This week's theme is drift.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Warning signs

When Gretchen Rubin wrote about drift, she listed several warning signs. How many of these apply to you?

Do you complain about a situation without taking action to change things?
Do you feel passively carried along by circumstances that are being guided by other people or processes?
Do you say to yourself "This can't go on" -- but it does go on anyway?
Do you secretly hope that some external force will come along to "blow up" a situation and stop the course of events?

This week's theme is drift.

Monday, July 13, 2009


At The Happiness Project blog, Gretchen Rubin describes a phenomenon she calls Drift. Drift might be defined as proceeding through life without consciously choosing a direction and without taking responsibility for your decisions.

Gretchen emphasizes that drift doesn't always mean taking the easy route. You can work very hard and experience great hardships while drifting. "Once unleashed, drift is a powerful, often almost unstoppable, force."

Are you drifting in some parts of your life? What aspects of your life seem to be controlled by forces outside of your control? Are you moving forward on a path that you don't remember choosing for yourself?

This week's theme is drift.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Top Ten: places

Think of the places you've been to, away from home, whether on vacation, on business trips, or traveling for any other reason. What are ten of the most memorable places you have visited?

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Are you always excited to plan a vacation away from home, or does it sometimes feel like just another thing you have to do?

At the end of a vacation, do you feel rested and refreshed? Or do you need another vacation to recover from your vacation?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Eating on the run

When you're extremely busy or stressed, how do your eating habits change? Are there things that you eat only when you're under pressure?

What are some healthy habits that you manage to maintain even in the most hectic of times?

This week's theme is food and eating.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Eating better

Do you eat in a healthier way than you did a few years ago? What are some healthy eating habits that you've established? What are some of your successful strategies for eating well?

This week's theme is food and eating.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Menus from long ago

What is one food that you associate with celebrations?
What is one food that you associate with romantic dates?
What is one food that you associate with hardship or difficult times?

When you think of memorable occasions from your past, how clearly can you remember what food was on the table?

This week's theme is food and eating.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What's for dinner

How much choice do you have about what you eat? Do you sometimes eat things that you don't particularly like, or that you know are unhealthy, because you have a limited range of choices (or no choice at all)?

Are you a picky eater? Or are you okay with almost any kind of food? What are some things that you refuse to eat?

This week's theme is food and eating.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dinner bell

What are typical mealtimes like for you? What are some of the sights and sounds that you associate with mealtimes?

Do you eat by yourself, or with other people? Who do you eat with most often? Do you often work or watch TV while eating? What are some of the things you might do while you eat?

This week's theme is food and eating.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Top Ten: leaders

Who are the top ten authority figures in your life? This can be a teacher who made a difference, a politician who actually changed the way your world worked, a coach or a parent who inspired, or anyone else who was a leader to you in some way.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

Are you free to express your political beliefs where you live? What legal constraints limit your political freedom? If there are no legal constraints, what societal constraints limit them? Do you fear prejudice and discrimination — or other social sanctions — based on your politics?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Parents just don't understand

What are some seemingly pointless things you did as a teen, simply because your parents demanded it? What were some times when it seemed your parents were keeping you on a short leash, unreasonably limiting your options?

When did your parents criticize and belittle your ideas and opinions? Do they still do it now?

This week's theme is adolescence.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Baptism by fire

What major embarrassments did you live through in adolescence? What other events in your teen years shook your self-confidence and your feeling of self-worth?

What event in adolescence boosted your confidence the most?

This week's theme is adolescence.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It was the worst day of my life!

What personal stresses and challenges had an impact on your teen years? Was your family affected by unemployment or difficult economic circumstances? Were you a target of discrimination because of race, religion, ethnicity, appearance, or other differences?

This week's theme is adolescence.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When that big thing happened

What was going on in your family life during the time of your adolescence? Were there any milestone events in your life in those years? That is, did someone die, or get married, or leave home, or change jobs?

This week's theme is adolescence.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Think of adolescence as the shore, where you must leave the land of childhood for the sea of adulthood. Adolescence, a transitional period, is a tumultuous time, probably the time most fraught with anxiety and change for most people. In those years, you had to define your identity and try to find your place in the world. You're starting to look and feel like an adult, but most adults are still treating you like a child. You are Figuring Things Out, but as soon as you figure something out about changes. These often-challenging years can be the source of great riches in the realm of personal insight.

When you think of your adolescence, what images come to mind first? What might be the first thing you exclaim when asked to recall your teen years? Are your first thoughts rosy and nostalgic? Or blue and regretful?

What would your family's first reaction be if asked what you were like as a teen?

This week's theme is adolescence.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Top Ten: death

What ten deaths — whether people you knew personally or public figures — have affected you the most over the course of your life?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ten Thousand Questions bloggers on the radio tonight!

We're excited to announce that we'll be on the radio tonight!

An hour-long interview, recorded last month, is airing tonight (Saturday, June 27, 2009) on ACB Radio online at 9:00 PM, and then every two hours thereafter for the next 24 hours. Their stream can be accessed here:
(At this page, you'll get a choice of what kind of stream you want to listen to.)

This is our first interview promoting our blog and forthcoming book, "Ten Thousand Questions." Bonnie Blose, the host, talked to us about a great many things, and the interview ended up being a wide-ranging conversation about creativity and the collaborative process, as well as specifics about our book, "Ten Thousand Questions."

Please check out the interview tonight at ACB Radio (!

Super-sized problems

What is the one factor that, more than any other, adds extra complications to your life?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Climbing a mountain, one step at a time

What is the biggest, most impressive change that you've made in your life by taking small actions over a long period of time?

This week's theme is gradual change.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Slipping through my fingers

What are some good things about yourself or your life that are beginning to atrophy or fade away, because you haven't been devoting any time or attention to them for a while?

This week's theme is gradual change.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The test of time

Which relationships of yours have grown steadily stronger, with hardly any conflict, worry, or drama along the way?

This week's theme is gradual change.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Things we used to do

What are some things that used to play a prominent part in your life, but that gradually disappeared -- even though you never made a specific decision to leave them behind?

This week's theme is gradual change.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Getting better all the time

Sometimes change comes suddenly and decisively. When you look back, you can name the event, the date, sometimes even the exact time when things changed.

But there also are changes that sneak in when you're not looking. There is no specific day when it happened, but somehow that sapling turned into a full-grown tree. A new car turned into an old car. You turned from a tentative newcomer into a seasoned professional. Because there are no events to mark these changes, sometimes you don't notice them until you pause to reflect.

What are some things in your life that have gradually gotten better, without any organized plan or action on your part?

This week's theme is gradual change.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Top Ten: nearest and dearest

Who are the ten people who know you best? Who knows the most about your secrets, habits, likes and dislikes, dreams, and fears? Is it a mixed collection? Or mostly friends? Or mostly family?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fire Alarm

If your house was on fire, what would you grab first (assuming all human residents could get themselves out)? Which precious possession would you feel compelled to save before anything else?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Declaration of principles

Have you ever attended a rally for a cause in which you believe? Or a rally against something you believe to be intolerable? Do you wear campaign buttons or t-shirts in election season?

How important is it to stand publicly for what you believe in?

This week's theme is Values.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

You've got to know when to hold 'em...

Would you gamble your home and/or your life savings if you knew there was an 80% chance of doubling your money?

What are some things that you would never gamble with?

How do you decide which risks are worth taking?

This week's theme is Values.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Do you know someone who professes one set of values but actually lives by a different set of values? How can you tell what someone's real values are? Have you ever tried to disguise your own real values in any situation?

This week's theme is Values.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


What are some principles that you know are important to some people, but that you have decided are less important for you? Do these things make you feel out of step with mainstream society?

This week's theme is Values.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Values are something we first encounter as children. Even if we end up becoming completely different people than our parents (or whoever raised us), we all probably retain something of the values and ethics we learned from them in our formative years. This week, we'll examine what we believe, and how we live by those beliefs; relics from the deepest recesses of the past.

What are the principles that you live by?

Which of those are more important?

Which are less important?

Which are just things you say, maybe out of a lifetime of habit, but don't really believe or subscribe to any longer?

This week's theme is Values.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Top Ten: novel inspiration

What are ten books that inspired you the most, the kind of inspiration that led you to take action or change your life in some way?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dormant potential

What seeds have you planted that haven’t yet sprouted?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Heard it through the grapevine

Are you a good secret-keeper?  Are you the one to whom everyone turns when they are bursting to tell something or set up a surprise party?  Or are you the last to know, because telling you is like publishing it in the National Enquirer?  When you find out someone's juicy secret, who is the first person you tell?

This week's theme is Secrets and Secrecy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

White lies

What are some trivial secrets that you keep?  Are there some guilty pleasures you enjoy in secret because you know your friends would make fun of you?  Do you sometimes join your friends in making fun of things that you secretly enjoy?

This week's theme is Secrets and Secrecy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

They would be shocked to know that...

Do you have a Big, Guilty Secret?  What does it cost you to maintain it?  What would be the consequences if you just told it to everybody?

This week's theme is Secrets and Secrecy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The secrets that you keep

Have you had past relationships fail because either you or the other party kept too many secrets?

This week's theme is Secrets and Secrecy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Secrets and Secrecy

We all have secrets.  Some people share their secrets (which seems to defeat the purpose of it being a secret); others keep their private information close to the vest.  Are you a person who thrives on intrigue?  Do you harbor private shames?  Or does the world know everything that's going on with you, via phone calls, Christmas letters, and your blog?

Your overall collection of secrets says something about you, but it also says something about the world you live in, and the people with whom you surround yourself.

This week's theme is Secrets and Secrecy.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Top Ten: hidden talents

What are ten skills you rarely get a chance to use?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Casting your ballot

Every four years, we vote for President here in the United States.  We generally choose between one of two people, even though by law we can vote for anyone at all — by writing in a name that's not on the ballot.  If you could choose any living person to govern the place where you live, who would you choose, and why?

What would you expect that person to be able to do as leader?  Are you able to do any of those same things, even on a small scale or on a local level?  What's stopping you?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Real happiness

What do you have in your life that makes you happy? After you've listed about five items, see whether they have anything in common.

This week's theme is happiness.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wishing well

What if you could wish for anything you needed to make you happy? What would that look like?

Are any of the things on your list obtainable by means other than magic or wishing?

This week's theme is happiness.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy hearth and home

Were you happy as a child? Did you live in a happy home, or did you persevere despite unhappiness all around you?

How about your current home life -- is it happy?

This week's theme is happiness.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Whistle a happy tune

Is there any specific song, that can make you happy just by hearing it? Does it make you happy because of the content of the lyrics? Or because it evokes a certain happy time in your life?

This week's theme is happiness.

Monday, June 1, 2009


What is the difference between "happy" and "satisfied"? Which of those words better describes you today?

If you had to sum up the your current state of mind in just one word, what word would you use?

Recommended blog: The Happiness Project

This week's theme is happiness.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Top ten: green things

What are ten living plants you see every day?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Grownup school

If you won an educational grant to study whatever you wanted for an entire year, what would you choose to learn about?

Friday, May 29, 2009

A long time ago

Does your family have stories about you that you've heard for so many years that they seem like a memory, but you don't actually recall the events firsthand?

This week's theme is memories.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

That's entertainment!

What is one extended line from a movie (or entire scene) that you could repeat from memory?

What is the longest or most impressive thing that you ever memorized?

What is one song that you can sing, start to finish, from memory?

This week's theme is memories.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where were you on the night of...?

Can you easily remember your own activities of the last several days?

What were you doing last Tuesday evening, just after sunset?

What did you eat for lunch three days ago?

This week's theme is memories.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Slices of your life

If someone asked you to briefly tell ten stories of things that happened to you in your life, could you do it at a moment’s notice, or would you have to sit down, and think about it for a while, and write things down?

This week's theme is memories.

Monday, May 25, 2009


How clear are your memories? Some people remember many instances from different periods in their life, while others only have a few stories from their past that they can remember in great detail. Are your memories vivid, or do you only still have the barest outlines of events that have occurred to you?

What is your earliest memory?

This week's theme is memories.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Top ten: advice

What are the ten most valuable bits of advice you could give to a young person who seems ready to follow in your footsteps?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The wild side

What happens when you let your wildness come out? Is it fun? Is it scary? Is it dangerous? How do other people react?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Resume review

Of all the jobs you've had, which did you enjoy the most? What about that job made it enjoyable? What was the worst job that you ever had? Which of your jobs taught you important things about how the world works?

This week's theme is your job.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Working 9 to 5

What is one thing you would change about your job if you could? What could you do to make your workplace feel more inspiring?

This week's theme is your job.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I can't believe they pay me to do this!

Does your job give you an opportunity to be creative? When you started your job, what was the most appealing aspect of it? What has changed about the job since then?

This week's theme is your job.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

You and your cow-orkers

Who are the people you work with every day? Do you feel like you fit in at work, or do you feel different from everyone else?

This week's theme is your job.

Monday, May 18, 2009

An honest day's living

Work. Everybody has to do it, except maybe Paris Hilton. It takes up a disproportionate part of our waking life, yet most of us don't want to talk about it, or even think about it, once we've left the workplace. This week, we're going to ask you to break that social contract and think about work, and how it fits into your life.

Does your job give you a feeling of satisfaction? Do you feel like you're making a difference by doing your job? What is your job's (or your company's) primary contribution to the world?

This week's theme is your job.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Top Ten: nostalgia foods

What are ten foods that immediately evoke your childhood for you?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Blame it on the rain

What is a good way to spend a rainy Saturday?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Silly love songs

What stories, movies, novels, and songs had a lasting effect on your beliefs about love relationships?

This week's theme is love.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Unconditional lover

What strengths do you bring to your love relationships?

What relationship skills would you most like to improve?

This week's theme is love.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Laundry list of love

Think about the main love relationships in your life so far. What have they been like, overall?

Are your love relationships happy most of the time? Or are they often weighed down by fears, tensions, and conflicts?

This week's theme is love.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

And they called it "puppy love"

What sweet memories do you have of early love relationships?

What are some painful experiences in your love life that you prefer not to remember?

What awkward or embarrassing moments stand out in your memory of early loves?

This week's theme is love.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Love is a loaded topic, but it's something we all need. Whether you're gay or straight, single or partnered, young or old, everyone needs love in order to thrive. But as natural as it is to look for love, most of us don't want to look at love too closely. This week, that's just what we're going to do.

How many times have you been in love?

Who was the first to break your heart?

Whose heart have you broken?

This week's theme is love.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Top Ten: Serendipity

What are ten great things you've done that happened without being planned? These memorable events just sort of fell into place, as though Fate were on your payroll.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"Snakes! Why'd it have to be snakes?"

What kind of adventure would be perfect for you right now?

Just for fun: Choose Your Own Adventure interactive online stories

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thinking outside the box

We're still dealing with that same, pesky problem! Sometimes your way of thinking is in a rut, and you need to expand your list of options. Try thinking about the problem in completely uncharacteristic ways:

What's the solution so obvious that you completely overlooked it?

What's the crazy solution that no one has ever dared to try?

What's the radical, innovative solution that no one has ever thought of before?

What's the solution that's so easy it can't possibly work?

What's the solution that's so difficult that you can't possibly do it?

Is your life full of difficult decisions like these?

What's the underlying issue that you have been avoiding?

This week's theme is problem solving.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Looking inward

Continuing on from yesterday, you might already know deep inside what the answer to your problem is. In The Wizard of Oz, the characters made a long journey to find out that what they were seeking, they already had within them. Maybe you do, too!

What does your heart say?

What is your gut feeling?

What if you just flipped a coin?

If you completely trusted yourself, what would you choose?

This week's theme is problem solving.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our panel of experts says...

Think of a specific problem in your life, or a decision you have to make. Some people might suggest that you seek advice from trusted sources. What sources of wisdom and advice are available to you?

If you prefer to keep the matter to yourself, you can still have the benefit of others' advice. In many cases, you can probably reliably guess what some people would advise you. Thinking of your current dilemma:

What would your mother say?

What would your father say?

What do experts advise?

What's the common-sense approach?

Is this truly your own decision to make, or do you have to reach a consensus with someone else?

This week's theme is problem solving.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

None of the above

Yesterday, we asked you to consider a specific, straightforward problem or decision that you're facing. When we asked you to come up with some alternative solutions, was "taking no action" on your list? Are you someone who tends to choose "no action" as a way of not making a choice?

This week's theme is problem solving.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Problem solving

Making decisions and solving problems: these are two areas where it definitely pays to think clearly and effectively, to make the best use of our knowledge, to consider our values, to exercise our imagination. Has your usual approach to decision making and problem solving been working as well as it should? If not, you might want to ask yourself some different questions.

If you’re faced with a fairly straightforward problem or decision, and you’re having trouble sorting through your options and coming up with a course of action, try asking yourself some of this week's questions, which let you look at the problem from many different angles.

What are the obvious alternatives available to you?

If you were forced to make a snap decision in the next five seconds, which of those would you pick?

With each alternative, what's the worst thing that could happen?

This week's theme is problem solving.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Top Ten: Be kind, rewind

What are ten movies you've seen more than once?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My ficus, myself

What plants do you see every day as part of your routine? What indoor plants decorate your home and workspace?

Do you take care of houseplants? Do you look at houseplants as a burden, or do you enjoy cultivating them? Are you able to keep a houseplant alive?

This week's theme is your relationship with nature.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What's on your plate?

What are some animals that you eat?

Is it okay for people to raise animals and kill them for food? Is it okay for people to kill wild animals for food?

Is it okay for people to kill wild animals for sport? Is it okay for people to kill domesticated animals for sport?

Do you sometimes eat less meat as a way of reducing your contribution to the suffering of animals? Do you sometimes eat less meat for the sake of your own health?

This week's theme is your relationship with nature.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reduce, reuse, recycle

How much waste do you personally send to landfills every year? Do you know specifically where your garbage is taken? Have you taken steps to reduce the amount of waste that you send to landfills?

What are some things that you recycle? What are some things that you reuse? What are some things that you buy with less packaging than before?

Do you compost your kitchen scraps? Do you compost your leaves and grass clippings?

Are you hoping for new technological developments to solve the climate/environment crisis?

This week's theme is your relationship with nature.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Imagine that in the future, it was decided to let much of the planet revert to its natural state, and cities would be relocated to a number of strategically placed, completely sealed, fully independent biodomes. Your choice is living outside the dome...or inside.

How would your life change if parts of the area where you live were restored to their natural state? Could you comfortably coexist with the natural world? Or would you prefer to live in a climate-controlled dome city? Would you miss the variations of natural weather?

This week's theme is your relationship with nature.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Perfect balance

Some say that human beings’ explosive success has thrown nature out of balance, causing many problems. Do you agree with the idea that there is a state of natural balance that should be maintained or restored wherever possible? Do you try to keep your diet and lifestyle in balance for the sake of your health?

This week's theme is your relationship with nature.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Your relationship with nature

In most cases, we can choose our relationships, whether it's with friends, certain family members, a job, what books or magazines we read, even what car we choose to drive. But we can't avoid having a relationship with nature, because we have to go outside sometimes, and we have to eat food, drink water, and breathe air. Depending on your lifestyle and where you live, it might be easier or harder for you to avoid thinking about your relationship with nature. But this week we're going to focus on that relationship, and try to formulate the parameters for it more definitively.

Do you consider yourself a resident of planet Earth, or a resident of your country/state/city/town? Do you mostly think of yourself as being a part of nature, or as being separate from nature? In what ways are you a part of nature? In what ways are you separate from nature?

Calculate your Global Footprint

This week's theme is your relationship with nature.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Top Ten: things to do someday

What are the ten most important things that you plan to do “someday,” although you don’t have time to do them now?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ten Thousand Questions workshop

We're planning a free Ten Thousand Questions workshop on Sunday, May 31! This workshop explores the art of questioning and how you can use questions to accelerate your personal transformation process.

If you live in the Philadelphia area and are interested in joining us, drop us an e-mail at, and give us your name, phone number, and e-mail address. We'll send you more information including time, directions and other details.

Please note that space is limited, but if you miss this one, we'll be doing the workshop again in the summer.

Past you vs. current you

What is one part of your style, personality, or daily routine that used to work for you but doesn’t seem to fit anymore? What has changed so that this aspect of your life now seems out of place? Is it time to let go of it, or should you try to re-integrate it into your life?

If it’s time to let go, what actual steps do you have to take in order to be finished with it?

If you decide to keep it, what has to change so that it gracefully fits into your life again?

What about your current personal style is unrecognizable from the you of ten years ago? What about twenty years ago?

This week's theme is your personal style.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Veni, vidi, voci

What can people immediately guess about you as soon as they hear you speak?

Do your vocal tone and your accent reveal where you grew up?

What does your voice reveal about your personality?

What are your stock phrases, the things you say so often that they have become clich├ęs?

This week's theme is your personal style.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This stuff is mine

Have you personalized the wallpaper on your work computer's desktop? What picture do you have there? Do you have a quote or slogan in your e-mail signature line? What is it? Do you have a vanity license plate? What is it? What does it represent?

This week's theme is your personal style.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If it feels good, do it

What is one thing that you find disgusting, even though some other people seem to feel it’s okay?

What is one thing you enjoy, but you realize that there are people who will turn up their nose at it?

What are some contexts or situations where your opinion really doesn’t matter?

In what situations do you sometimes have to pretend to have an opinion that isn't really yours?

Where have you had to set your own style aside, because someone else is making the decisions?

This week's theme is your personal style.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tattoo you

Do you have any tattoos? If so, what are they? How long have you had them? What prompted you to get a tattoo? If not, how do you feel about tattoos?

Do you see tattoos and piercings as a ritual of initiation? A form of rebellion? Simply a type of bodily enhancement, no different than getting a perm or piercing your ears?

If you were going to get a tattoo (or get another tattoo, if you already have one), what kind of picture or design would suit you?

This week's theme is your personal style.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Your personal style

Your personal style: it's what makes you unique. It's not one single thing, it's everything about you: the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you move, your habits, your likes and dislikes. Ask anyone you know, and they'll agree: you have your own distinctive style. All put together, there is no one else exactly like you

How would you describe your own personal style? Old fashioned, or contemporary? Quirky and eclectic, or traditional? What are some of the first things that other people might notice about your personal style? If you had to sum up your personal style in a slogan-like sound byte, how would you encapsulate it?

Are you part of a recognized (and named) fashion trend or cultural movement (such as goth, geek, soccer mom, hippie)? If you're not part of a recognized fashion or cultural trend, how would you classify your style?

This week's theme is your personal style.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Top Ten: positive changes

What are the ten best positive changes that you've made in your life? Think of changes you've made that have become permanently established in your life, including:
  • the worst unhealthy habits you broke
  • the best healthy habits you established
  • bad situations that you left behind
  • strategic life decisions that worked out brilliantly
After you've made your list, consider where your life would be now without the benefit of these positive changes. Have you given yourself enough credit for steering your life in the right direction?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weaving into your life

Notice the clothing you're wearing right now. Do you happen to know where it was made?

Friday, April 17, 2009

The same dream again

What is your most persistent recurring dream? Does this dream unfold in exactly the same way each time, or do the details vary each time?

What message or lesson might this dream hold for you?

This week's theme is dreams.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dream guidance

Did a dream ever help your solve a waking-life problem? Did a dream ever help you make a decision, resolve a conflict, or understand something that had puzzled you?

What was the dream, and what ideas or images did it bring to shed light on your situation? Was its message direct or indirect, obvious or hidden?

This week's theme is dreams.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dream conflicts

What kind of conflicts occur most often in your dreams?

In these conflicts, what role or roles does your dreamself typically play: victim, attacker, defender, mediator, bystander, witness?

Is there any similarity between your dream conflicts and your dayworld conflicts? Or do the two seem to be entirely unrelated?

This week's theme is dreams.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dream come true

What was one dream that came true for you — that is, some person, thing, or situation that turned up in a dream before it occurred in your waking life?

If that's never happened to you, what dream have you had that you wished could come true?

This week's theme is dreams.

Monday, April 13, 2009

You and your dreams

According to researchers, everyone dreams every night, yet this universal experience remains shrouded in mystery. What are dreams?
How often do you remember your dreams?
What are some of the things you have done to engage with your dreamlife?
Do you keep a dream journal?
Do you discuss your dreams with your friends?
Do you try to interpret the meaning of your dreams?

This week's theme is dreams.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Top Ten: guilty pleasures

What ten foods would you eat if you didn't have to worry about your health, your weight, your finances, or anyone else's opinion?

Candy you ate as a kid.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Laugh track

What made you laugh today?

Laughter is good for your health. And if you make a point of looking for the humor in daily life, you're more likely to find it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Finishing unfinished business

Sometimes all it takes to complete something is to declare it finished: “I’m done with that.” “I’m not going to waste any more time waiting for that person.” “I admit that this is something I will probably never do.”

What are some people and things that you’re going to stop worrying about or waiting for?

What are some projects that you might soon strike off your list and admit that you’re never going to do them?

What is it that keeps you holding onto so many more things than you can handle?

Why is it hard to let go of things?

What are some of the things in your life that you might soon be ready to let go of?

This week's theme is unfinished business.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

People are waiting

Who is waiting for a decision from you before they can go ahead and take action?
How many promises to get together with friends and acquaintances remain unfulfilled?
To whom do you own a thank-you for they help they provided?
To whom do you owe a compliment for the skillful way they handled something?

Are your bits of unfinished business more likely to be things that affect only you, or things that involve other people? Are you good at getting your own stuff done, less so when someone has asked you to do something? Or, are you the reverse, taking care of anything the moment someone else asks you, but never finding the time for your own personal stuff?

This week's theme is unfinished business.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How clean is your house?

What messes are you reluctant to clean up?

What would you find if you opened up your closets?

What is hiding at the back of your drawers?

Would you be surprised by what is buried in your car's glove compartment?

How many books have you started reading that you intend to finish — eventually, when you have time?

When is the last time you vacuumed?

How many repair or home improvement tasks are waiting half-finished?

For deeper insights into the meaning of clutter, along with powerful strategies for cleaning up your life, read Rick Aster's book Fear of Nothing.

This week's theme is unfinished business.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My million-dollar idea

What was one great idea that you didn’t follow through to completion? What happened to get in the way?

How would your life be different now if you had successfully executed that idea? Will you have a chance to do it again, or is it that particular opportunity forever lost?

As you go through today's questions, notice if you had many examples to choose from. How often do you let brilliant ideas simply dissipate, and why? What would you have to risk if you were to attempt to follow through on them?

In 1992, when we were planning our wedding, we had a great idea for a software organization package that would help people through the rigors of getting a wedding off the ground. Wedding planner software, which was entirely unknown at the time! We were too busy to follow through — we got stuck in the process of writing a business plan — and by the following year, wedding planner software started popping up everywhere. The train had left the station, and we were left scratching our heads on the platform!

What's your great story of lost opportunity?

This week's theme is unfinished business.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Unfinished business

What is unfinished in your life?

Today begins a new feature: theme-of-the-week. We'd like to take a closer look at certain subjects, delving more deeply into them over five days than we can do in a single question. Since this is something we've wanted to do for awhile but had trouble getting to, it seemed only natural for the first theme-of-the-week to be...unfinished business.

Everyone has a list of things they mean to do, but haven't yet done. Whether it's written down and accuses you from a white board every time you enter your kitchen, or just a few things you keep tucked in the back of your mind, let's spend a few days thinking about those dangling projects and ideas.

In addition to "to-do" items, there are also unresolved conflicts, messy interpersonal relationships, things that shouldn't be in your house (or your life) anymore, and all those things that you meant to do Someday but have never gotten around to.

What are some incomplete or unfinished pieces of business in your life? How many can you easily list before you have to start digging around in your mental inventory? What's the most glaring thing in your life that is unfinished?