When you're having people over — say for a party, or a houseguest — and you need to clean up but are short on time, what do you feel is the most important thing you can do to make your space welcoming?
Think of all the things that are new in the world — inventions, people, organization, TV shows, commercial products, or traditions that have existed for less than one year. What is one newly-arrived thing that plays an important role in your life?
Tell us about one time when your day was disrupted by a fire drill, a false alarm, or some other anticlimactic emergency. When did you experience a big interruption by something that turned out to be a big "never mind"?
What's one time that you lied — or stretched the truth — in order to gain a tangible benefit (such as a job, a higher salary, free food, entry into an event, etc.)? Was the benefit worth the lie, or did you agonize over it for a long time afterward?
Tell us a story about why and how your mother came to have some trait or characteristic you associate with her. You may know this information from stories you heard (or read) secondhand, but don't worry too much whether your answer is fact or conjecture. What do you think happened in her younger years that helped shape her personality or world view?
When you have something unexciting to do — say, balancing your checkbook or cleaning the cat litter — do you waste time to avoid getting to the tedious task? What kinds of ways do you waste time to avoid things like that?
Do you allot yourself specific time for wasting each day, or each week? For example, do you read in bed for a half an hour each night before turning out the light, or play Sudoku online during your lunch hour on Wednesdays? Or is your wasted time more spontaneous, happening only when you feel like you have some breathing room?
Think back to when you were half your current age. What were your main concerns, issues and problems then? Which of those have been completely resolved in the intervening years? Which ones are still a part of your life all these years later?
Your house could get hit by a meteorite. It's extremely unlikely, but not entirely impossible. You probably don't spend much time worrying about this possible calamity -- but what is another extremely unlikely risk that you do sometimes worry about?
There are many kinds of risk, for example, physical danger, health risks, financial risks, and risk of public embarrassment. What are some categories of risk (or specific examples of risks) that you are comfortable with and don't mind taking?
What are some risks that make you uneasy, risks that you go to some effort to avoid?
What form or genre of entertainment do you resolutely steer clear of? Was there ever a time that someone convinced you to partake in it anyway? How did they persuade you to go against your usual preferences?
What do you do for a living? How close is it to what you imagined, as a child, you would do when you grew up? How close is it to what you imagined when you were in high school and either choosing a college or preparing to go out into the world and work? How close it is to what you studied for in college?
Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? Most of us aren't celebrity lookalikes, but perhaps you were waiting somewhere in a suit and were mistaken for an important executive, or a doctor, or someone in charge of something. Or maybe you appeared particularly competent in a shop and someone asked for your help in finding an item in their size. When you were mistaken for someone — or something — that you weren't, did you have a moment where you wished you were that other person?
What if someone interviewed you over a period of thousands of hours, asking you every question you could imagine and many you couldn't? Through the course of the interview process, you would gain a keen understanding of yourself. You would end up with a comprehensive portrait of not only your surface thoughts, but also your deeper inner wisdom and insights. You would learn your whole story.
With a question a day, this blog is your interviewer.
We'll ask one new question here every day. Whether you're already on a journey of self-inquiry and transformation, or just starting, or simply want to begin a journal about yourself and your thoughts, your own answers to these questions will help you write the story of you.
There are ten thousand questions, and any one of them could turn your life in a new direction.