Saturday, December 31, 2011

On pause

What's the big unfinished thing that you're reluctant to let go of, even though you don't see a way to move ahead with it?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Problem solved

What long-running issue did you finally resolve this year? Who helped you find a solution?

What old questions did you finally answer? What helped guide you to the answers?

This week's theme is year-end inventory.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Plot twists and transformations

In 2011, who or what went through fundamental changes? What changed its name, changed its form, changed direction? Who changed their role in your life? Who is starting 2012 from a completely different place than their starting point in 2011?

This week's theme is year-end inventory.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


What was new in 2011? What appeared or emerged during the year? What already-existing things crept into your awareness or became part of your life this year?

This week's theme is year-end inventory.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


What faded away or came to an end in 2011? What was part of your world at the beginning of the year and gone by the end of the year?

This week's theme is year-end inventory.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Year-end inventory

Think of the resolutions or goals that you set for 2011. Which of them did you carry to a successful conclusion? And which of them did you fail to complete?

This week's theme is year-end inventory.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tell us a story: holiday menu

What is one food that's part of a specific holiday tradition for you, that you never eat at other times of the year? Tell us a story of going to unusual lengths to make sure you could serve the right traditional foods for Christmas or some other holiday.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Private playlist

What is one song that you sometimes sing when you're all by yourself, or when no one is listening?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Favorite ______ of the Year

Where did you find the most fun this year: in books, movies, TV, music, games, theater, or some other form of entertainment? And within that category, what was your personal favorite this year?

This week's theme is highlights of 2011.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In the history books

Thinking of all of this year's events, inventions, and new developments, which of them, in your opinion, is likely to have the biggest impact on the future?

This week's theme is highlights of 2011.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hero of the Year

In 2011, who saved your life, prevented a disaster, or went above and beyond the call of duty to help you out when you needed it?

This week's theme is highlights of 2011.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gold medal

What was your best accomplishment of 2011 — the one that showed you at the top of your game?

This week's theme is highlights of 2011.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Highlights of 2011

Of all the things that happened to you this year, which do you think will stand out most vividly in your memories, looking back ten years from now?

This week's theme is highlights of 2011.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tell us a story: I forgot to bring one thing

It can be awkward or calamitous to arrive at your destination and find that you forgot to bring the tickets to the event, or your toothbrush, or something else equally indispensable.

Tell us a story about something you accidentally left behind. Did you have to make an extra trip, buy a replacement, or try to manage without it? Or did you completely miss an opportunity because of your mistake?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dream trends

What's the big recurring theme in your recent dreams? What setting or situation has shown up repeatedly?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sounds like home

Which noises help make your home feel like home?

This week's theme is your world's soundtrack.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When all is still

In the quietest moments, what sounds can you still hear?

This week's theme is your world's soundtrack.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Beep beep

Think fast: Besides car horns, what are five sounds in your everyday environment that are intended to get your (or someone's) attention?

This week's theme is your world's soundtrack.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Feelings and sounds

What noises do you find comforting and soothing? What noises make you feel anxious or unsettled?

This week's theme is your world's soundtrack.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Your world's soundtrack

What's an everyday sound that is so familiar that you don't notice it anymore, even though visitors often notice it and remark on it?

This week's theme is your world's soundtrack.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tell us a story: fixed it!

Tell us a story about a repair that you successfully completed by yourself. What did you fix? What obstacles or difficulties did you run into along the way? Did you have to improvise because the ideal tools or materials weren't available?

Were you working under time pressure? If so, did you meet the deadline?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Daily slump

At what time of day do you find your energy at its lowest point?

Friday, December 9, 2011


If you had to pick something -- some person or object in your environment, or some recent experence -- to serve as a symbol of what you want your future to look like, what would you choose?

This week's theme is pointing the way.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Early symptoms

Think of one of the recent problems that erupted in your life and suddenly required a lot of your time and attention. What warning signs could have alerted you to the problem ahead of time, if you had known what to look for?

This week's theme is pointing the way.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Turn left at the baseball stadium

What's the most obvious, can't-miss-it landmark that people pass on their way to your home?

This week's theme is pointing the way.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Looking back on your younger days, what were some early hints of the direction that your life would later take? What childhood events, experiences, and choices foreshadowed the major themes of your adult life?

This week's theme is pointing the way.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pointing the way

Who provided an example to follow, practical advice, or inside connections that helped lead you to one of your first jobs?

This week's theme is pointing the way.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tell us a story: parade

Tell us as story about an experience at a parade. Have you ever marched in a parade or helped someone prepare for a parade? Did you ever have a trip interrupted because the road was closed for a parade? What was something noteworthy or unusual that you once saw or did at a parade?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The winter season

A maple tree abandons its leaves as it pulls energy into its center to survive the cold winter. Is there something that you similarly let go of or set aside with the changing of the seasons?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bright spot

Life is full of trade-offs. For example, you might accept a longer commute if it gives you a better-paying job. This means that most parts in your life, when looked at out of context, will seem less than ideal. But what is one piece of your life, however small it might be, that really does seem ideal — something that's working so well that you can hardly imagine any way to improve it?

This week's theme is ideal circumstances.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The shoe doesn't fit

Well-meaning advice can be useless if it's based on overly rosy assumptions about your situation. For example: "Too busy? Learn to delegate more tasks to your staff!"

What's a less obvious but equally unhelpful piece of advice that you still try to follow, even though it completely doesn't fit your circumstances?

This week's theme is ideal circumstances.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting for better weather

If it's raining, you might postpone your outdoor chores. There's no need to get drenched, because a clear day will come soon enough. Similarly, most of us have things we intend to do but keep putting off, not because of the weather, but because of other external factors that we hope are going to become more favorable. What is one of those things that you've been putting off? And what would be the ideal set of circumstances that would convince you to stop delaying and start taking action?

This week's theme is ideal circumstances.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ideal home town

Based on your impressions of every place you've ever visited, along with what you've heard about every other place in the world, what is the one place where you think you might best fit in with the local population?

This week's theme is ideal circumstances.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ideal circumstances

What long-frustrated goal of yours could be achieved if you only had the ideal setting for working towards that goal? What would that ideal setting look like? What are the key differences between that ideal setting and your current circumstance — the specific things that hold you back?

This week's theme is ideal circumstances.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tell us a story: stubborn

What was one time when you wouldn't accept defeat — when you kept trying again, after any reasonable person would have given up?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Trivia quiz

How many of the following five trivia items do you happen to know or remember? (If you have to ask someone or look up the answer, it doesn't count.)
  • On what day of the week were you born?
  • Did your parent's have anyone specific in mind when they picked your first name? If so, who was it?
  • What was the location of your parents' wedding?
  • What were you paid at your first job?
  • What national story was in the news on your 15th birthday?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Blessed disappointments

Some things that seem disappointing at the time turn out to be blessings, because they put you on a path to something even better. What is one example where you can honestly say you're grateful that you didn't get what you wanted at the time?

This week's theme is gratitude.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The customary gesture of appreciation

In the United States, today is Thanksgiving, a traditional holiday of gratitude. What are some of your personal habits and traditions for expressing gratitude? Are there occasions when you must give a think-you gift or send a card? Are there times when things would feel unfinished if you didn't say the appropriate thank-you to the right person?

This week's theme is gratitude.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks, [insert name here] -- you're the best!

When people thank you for something you've done, it sometimes feels kind of empty, and other times extremely meaningful. What makes the difference that gives some expressions of gratitude more impact than others?

This week's theme is gratitude.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good things

Today, keep your eyes open for the little things that make your day better or easier, things that you could easily take for granted. What are some of the helpful or beautiful things in your life that you sometimes forget to appreciate?

This week's theme is gratitude.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Think of the times when you've expressed your gratitude to someone. What is your most typical way of showing someone that you feel grateful: in spoken words, in written words, in gifts, or in returned favors?

This week's theme is gratitude.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tell us a story: trying to help

Tell us a story about a time when you volunteered to help, but eventually felt that your time and efforts were going to waste.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The written word

How has new technology affected your reading habits? With so much information available online, are you reading fewer books, newspapers, and magazines than you did a few years ago?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Now it's your turn

You don't always recognize a turning point when it happens. What is a recent event that might represent a significant turning point for you, even if it's too soon to know for sure?

This week's theme is turning points.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Health trend

In the last few years, what has been the biggest trend (for better or worse) in your personal health and well-being? If you had to pick a single event to mark that period of change, what would it be?

This week's theme is turning points.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New to old

Think of something that you acquired when it was brand new, something that is now old. Was there a specific point when you stopped thinking of it as new, or started thinking of it as old?

This week's theme is turning points.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turning back around

Think about an important relationship of yours that seemed to be falling apart but that somehow got back onto a solid footing. What was the pivotal moment that seemed to steer things onto a happier course?

This week's theme is turning points.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Turning point

Even when change is slow, you can often pick a moment — the turning point — that marks the boundary between the old and the new. Thinking about all the big changes in the course of your life, what is probably your most significant turning point?

This week's theme is turning points.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tell us a story: new you

Tell us about the time you surprised everybody by showing up with a new and different look.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Things are looking up

What recent event or bit of news made you feel more hopeful about the future?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Worth 100 failures

What is one skill that you would definitely set out to learn, if you knew for sure that you would master it after only 100 failed attempts along the way?

This week's theme is trial and error.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Safety net

Some mistakes are too costly. That's why astronauts and surgeons use simulators to practice and perfect their actions before they take on the real thing. What is something that you learned to do in a safe but not-quite-real practice environment?

This week's theme is trial and error.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Better together

Trial-and-error learning can go twice as fast if you do it together with someone else. Who was your partner in exploration as you boldly entered the unknown of something that you both wanted to learn?

This week's theme is trial and error.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


What is one significant skill that you learned on your own, without any formal training?

This week's theme is trial and error.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trial and error

Culinary history is full of stories of a chef ruining the recipe — and accidentally creating something new and better. Similar stories decorate the history of science and engineering and other fields. What was one time that you discovered or accomplished something by accident, while you were trying to do something else?

This week's theme is trial and error.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tell us a story: I love opera

What was one cultural event that you attended reluctantly and only because someone dragged you along, but you found that you enjoyed it anyway?

Saturday, November 5, 2011


What is something that you always enjoy but haven't done for quite a while?

Friday, November 4, 2011


We try to get things under control, but, paradoxically, one thing we can't fully control is our own behavior. What is one area where you repeatedly don't do what you planned to do — or do what you planned not to do?

This week's theme is control.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Working at cross purposes

When you're trying to get things under control, it's easy to come into conflict with someone else who's also trying to get things under control, but in a slightly different way. Where does this kind of conflict come up most often for you: at home, at work, or in some other part of your life?

This week's theme is control.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The control room

Behind the wheel of a car... holding a computer mouse... entering a store with credit card in hand. What is the place in your life where you feel most strongly that you are in control? Where do you have the freedom to choose, the power to take action, and no obstacles in your way?

This week's theme is control.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Your first reaction

Some people seek out advice. Some try to research and analyze the situation. Some complain loudly to whoever seems to be in charge. What is the tactic that you typically turn to first when things slip out of control?

This week's theme is control.

Monday, October 31, 2011


When key things are out of your control, it's easy to feel stressed and unhappy. But being a "control freak," trying to control everything, doesn't work out well either. In your life right now, what is the common thread that runs through most of your stressful, out-of-control situations?

This week's theme is control.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tell us a story: this is not a drill

At first you thought it must be a mistake, a prank, a hoax, or a false alarm. But soon enough it became clear that this was the real thing, and you had to act immediately. Where were you, who were you with, and what happened?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Duct tape and a rubber band

Sometimes problems seem too big to handle, and the best you can do at the moment is a temporary, stopgap solution. But sometimes the temporary fix works out just fine and turns out to be all you needed after all. When did one of your hasty, temporary fixes turn out to be a workable, durable solution?

Friday, October 28, 2011

In the dark

Are you afraid of the dark? Even if you are not, what was one time and place where the darkness seemed darker are more threatening than usual?

This week's theme is common fears.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Squeezed in

Are you afraid of tight spaces? Even if you are not, what was one place where you were uncomfortably packed in with too many people in close quarters?

This week's theme is common fears.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Are you afraid of being left alone? Even if you are not, what was one time when you were especially glad to rejoin the company of other people?

This week's theme is common fears.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

High places

Are you particularly afraid of high places or bridges? Even if you are not, what was one place where you were high up enough that it made you uneasy, or one bridge that made you worry about whether it was solid and safe enough?

This week's theme is common fears.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Common fears

In How the Mind Works, author Steven Pinker explains that most actual phobias point to dangerous situations that our ancestors faced. We instinctively fear eight-legged crawlers, for example, because some spiders have painful or deadly bites. Phobias can become excessive or misplaced, but they make sense. This week we take a look at some of our most common fears.

Are you personally afraid of spiders, snakes, sharks, or some other specific creature? Even if you are not, what was one startling creature encounter that made you jump backwards?

This week's theme is common fears.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tell us a story: slipping out of the time stream

Have you ever lost track of the calendar and mistakenly thought it was a different day? What actions did you take, or what plans did you make, with the wrong day in mind? How long did it take for you to realize your mistake?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pick a team

If you had to sign up for a team, choosing just by the team names, which would you choose: the Rock team, the Paper team, or the Scissors team?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Every slot is already filled

If you start running out of open time slots in your schedule or empty spaces in your home — or if things start "filling up" in any other context — the cost is loss of flexibility. For example, a new problem comes up, and you have very few options for how to deal with it. Or someone gives you a new car, but you don't have a place to park it.

What is one part of your life where you can see this happening — there's no empty space, and things suffer because of your lack of flexibility?

This week's theme is empty space.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The roaring silence

Sometimes space is empty because someone or something has departed (for example, a restaurant closed) or because plans failed (a construction project lost its financing). You look at the empty space and see what should be there instead of what's actually there. Is there a space like this in your life, one that constantly reminds you of what's not there?

This week's theme is empty space.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Time out

One of the benefits of daily meditation is that it opens up a space outside of our usual agendas and our habitual patterns of thought. Do you meditate? Do you have some other activity that sets aside some "empty space" in your day?

This week's theme is empty space.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blank spot on the map

In many areas there are seemingly empty spots on the maps, places that for a variety of reasons remain undeveloped and largely unused. Near my home town, for example, the army set aside a square mile for safely blowing up old munitions. What "empty place" is near you, and what is its story?

This week's theme is empty space.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Empty space

We certainly have mixed feelings about emptiness. We fear the poverty of "empty cupboards" and try to fill every shelf and niche, but we also crave the freedom of "wide open spaces" and like to feel that some pages still remain unwritten. Is there a place in your life where this conflict plays out — for example, a space where you regularly clean out the clutter, only to quickly fill it up again with new stuff?

This week's theme is empty space.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tell us a story: praying outside the lines

Tell us about a time that you attended a ceremony for a religious or spiritual tradition other than your own.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Who gave you advice recently? Was it advice that you welcomed and needed, or did it feel intrusive and unhelpful?

Friday, October 14, 2011

I bet no one else can do this

How long can you hold your breath? How many balls can you juggle? Some skills have few practical uses, but they might be fun for showing off. What is one of your oddball talents?

This week's theme is hidden strengths.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

When the going gets tough

What is one not-so-obvious character trait or personal habit that makes it easier for you to get through difficult times?

This week's theme is hidden strengths.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

...and I also speak Japanese

What is one skill that you learned and mastered in school, but that you rarely get a chance to use?

This week's theme is hidden strengths.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Call for backup

Who is your best person overall to turn to for help when you have something difficult to handle?

This week's theme is hidden strengths.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hidden strengths

What was one emergency or unusual situation when you surprised yourself by handling things that you would normally think were beyond your capabilities?

This week's theme is hidden strengths.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tell us a story: spilling it

What was an uncomfortable secret that you carried for years, until you found that it was okay to let it go and tell the truth? What made the difference that made it okay to drop the secrecy?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Down on the farm

Do you keep any animals that are not pets? What can you tell us about them? Are they chickens, for food? Goats, to keep your lawn trimmed? Mice, for laboratory experiments? A wild animal that comes around because you feed it?

Friday, October 7, 2011

A shining example

Like everyone, you have many personal strengths and virtues; some are easy to see, others more hidden. Of all of these, which would you most like to see other people adopt and imitate? Which of your strong points would do the most good for the world at large?

This week's theme is values.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Next year's theme

If you had to pick one of the following words to serve as the central theme of the next chapter of your life, which would you pick: tranquility, prosperity, triumph, or healing?

This week's theme is values.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Misspeaking and missed speaking

There are two ways by which your speech can be at odds with your values. The first is by saying things that you don't truly believe. The second is by not saying things when circumstances call for you to speak up.

Looking at your own past behavior, which of these two faults is more common for you?

This week's theme is values.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Values: your specialty

Yesterday we mentioned four ways to value things: (1) by speaking of them, (2) by taking action, (3) by spending money on them, (4) by devoting time and attention to them. All four of these areas are important, and different people tend to specialize in different ones. Which is your specialty? When you find something that's important to you, which of these do you tend to do first, or most often, or with the most energy?

This week's theme is values.

Monday, October 3, 2011


There are at least four different ways to measure our values: (1) by our words, (2) by our actions, (3) by how we spend our money, (4) by how we use our time.

Ideally these four measures should be in alignment with each other and in agreement with your real values. In practice, things are never that neat. In your life, which of these four feels most in line with your real values?

This week's theme is values.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tell us a story: underground

What's one memorable place you've been or one unusual thing you've done below ground level — in a cave, tunnel, subway, or basement?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Making a difference

What is one of the world's big problems that you feel you could help to solve (or at least would make a serious and sincere effort), if you were given the opportunity?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Well-illuminated areas

Self-awareness is one of the goals of this blog. By looking at one new thing every day, we become more aware of our selves and our surroundings. What is one aspect of your life that you're already keenly aware of, much more than most people are? What are the things that life has forced you to learn to pay particularly close attention to?

This week's theme is Milestone 1000.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A few thousand minutes

It took us just a few minutes a day to write 1000 blog posts in 1000 days. What worthwhile goal could you accomplish in a few minutes a day, if you were willing to keep at it for 1000 days?

This week's theme is Milestone 1000.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Your best daily practice

A daily practice is something you do every day for the sake of your health, well-being, or personal development. Ten Thousand Questions is an example of a simple daily practice. In the last few years, what new daily practice has been most successful and worthwhile for you — a habit that definitely repays your time and effort?

Please share your answer on the blog ( or on the Facebook page (

This week's theme is Milestone 1000.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Personally transformed

One of the underlying themes of Ten Thousand Questions is personal transformation. What area of your life is in the midst of transformation, or is something you're actively working on every day, or has gone through a fundamental change since 2009?

If it's something you are comfortable sharing, please post your answer on the blog ( or on the Facebook page (

This week's theme is Milestone 1000.

Monday, September 26, 2011

One thousand blog posts

This weekend, the Ten Thousand Questions blog passed a major milestone, our 1000th blog post. That means that we've asked a question a day for roughly 1000 days! This week, instead of posting questions for you to ponder and answer privately, we hope you will answer publicly, either on the blog ( or on the Facebook page ( (Or both -- why not?)

We know that many of you are bloggers, writers, and authors. What have you written, or what are you in the process of writing? If you don't mind sharing with the Questions community, please tell us what kind of material you're writing, and if possible post a link in the comments to something that you've written.

This week's theme is Milestone 1000.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tell us a story: game one

What's the earliest time that you can remember participating in any form of organized team sports? How old were you, and what sport was it? What's the main thing that you remember about that game?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Time Machine

If you could go back in time and change something that affects you personally, what would you do?

Friday, September 23, 2011


What is one thing that you personally adopted before it became an enormous fad?

This week's theme is timing.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Playing catch-up

It's rarely good to be behind the curve, whether you're arriving late for events, missing out on trends and opportunities, or being the last to hear important news. What is one area where you always seem to be behind everyone else?

This week's theme is timing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting out of sync

The roads here are crowded at 8 a.m., but much less crowded for people willing to drive at 7 a.m. You can pay full price for new clothing today, or wait 8 weeks and perhaps get the exact same items at half price.

In both of these examples, you gain an advantage just by doing things at a different time from most other people. What are some examples from your own life, where you sometimes choose to do things on your own timing, getting yourself out of sync with the crowd?

This week's theme is timing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Time is of the essence

More and more people are recording TV shows in order to watch them later. But this kind of time-shifting isn't as common with sports. It almost feels pointless to watch the game unless you're watching live, while it's being played.

And there are people who routinely shift their birthday party to the nearest weekend, but can't imagine doing the same thing with their New Year celebration. For some things, timing is flexible, but for other things, the exact timing is essential.

What are some examples from your own life, things that you insist on doing at their exact, appointed time?

This week's theme is timing.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Early and late

What are some things that you handle as early as you reasonably can? And what are some things that you tend to put off as long as possible?

This week's theme is timing.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tell us a story: up against Goliath

What was one time when everyone saw you as the underdog, but you won the game or competition anyway?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My little nemesis

For some people, it's headaches. For some, knee pain. Some people have seasonal allergies through most of the year. What's your minor ailment — the one that doesn't sound serious but nonetheless manages to put a crimp in your daily life?

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's there for a reason

There are good reasons for many barriers — or at least good intentions behind them. For example, speed limits make roads safer, not only for drivers but also for passengers, pedestrians, and animals.

Think of one barrier or limit that particularly frustrates you, and see if you can think of any way that it also benefits you. If the barrier were suddenly removed, what new potential problems would that create for you?

This week's theme is barriers and limits.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Someone else's rules

What are some limits imposed on you by an external authority or by a social consensus, limits that seem arbitrary and that you don't agree with?

This week's theme is barriers and limits.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pushing the limits

Great athletes have personal limits, just as everyone else does, but they don't accept their limits as stopping points. They push the edge of their capabilities and find every possible way to be faster, stronger, or more precise. In a similar way, engineers push the limits of materials and machinery to make devices smaller, cheaper, and more capable. Musicians challenge their physical limits in order to play ever more intricate and subtle pieces of music.

What are the limits and barriers that you've challenged and pushed against for years and years? What is one area where you've gone forward long after other people have given up?

This week's theme is barriers and limits.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Frozen in place

What is one thing that limits you because of where you live? Have you considered moving somewhere else in order to be free of this limitation or some other limitation? Or have you in fact already moved to a place that offers more freedom and opportunities than where you lived before?

This week's theme is barriers and limits.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Barriers and limits

Some constraints are fundamental (like the speed of light), while others are subject to your will and whim (like highway speed limits). When you think about barriers, limits, and rules that hold you back or keep you from having fun, what specific limits come to mind? What is one barrier that you seem to run into again and again in the course of your life?

This week's theme is barriers and limits.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tell us a story: legend in your own time

What is one story about you that other people often tell to help explain the kind of person you are?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today's lesson

What is one thing you could do today to make yourself, in some small way, smarter than you were yesterday?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Comfort food

When you're fed up with eating right, or when you just want to give yourself a treat, what is your 'go-to' food? Is it sweet? Greasy? Home-cooked? Junk food? Is it a food from your childhood, or something you discovered as an adult?

This week's theme is your diet.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Social diet

You might eat healthier when other people are around, because their scrutiny helps keep you on your best behavior. Or you might eat worse, because social occasions are times to celebrate and forget your cares. Which pattern is more common in your life? Do you eat better when you're alone, or with other people?

This week's theme is your diet.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Eat and run

It takes time to eat properly, and when we're in a hurry, we tend to eat less healthy food. How often do you end up compromising on eating well because you're too rushed for time? Do you usually eat out if you're in a rush, or do you make the special effort to prepare a meal at home even on your busiest days?

This week's theme is your diet.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eating right

Different people have different nutritional concerns. For example, some people try to minimize calories, some people must avoid sugars, and some people have allergies that force them to be careful about what they eat. When you make an effort to eat healthy, what is the main thing you look for — or look out for — in the food you choose?

This week's theme is your diet.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Your diet

Do you have an effective routine for obtaining and preparing food, or are you always struggling to figure out what to eat?

This week's theme is your diet.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tell us a story: volunteer

What volunteer work turned out to be more fun or more interesting than you expected? What was the best part of it: the people you met, the places you had a chance to see, the satisfaction of using some of your underutilized skills, or the feeling that you were making a contribution?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Adventure awaits!

It often happens in movies, but rarely in real life — but just suppose that, all of a sudden, circumstances asked you to drop everything and head off on a risky and unplanned adventure. What's one adventure you can imagine — however unlikely and unrealistic it might be — that would definitely make it worth dropping everything?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lucky streak

Who is the luckiest person you know?

Is their good luck contagious? That is, do you feel more lucky when you're around that person?

This week's theme is good luck.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Thinking over the whole narrative of your life, what decision point or turning point in your life story depended on unlikely events that just happened to turn in your favor?

Have you ever imagined how your life might have gone differently if you hadn't had the help of that decisive stroke of luck?

This week's theme is good luck.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Luck of the draw

Did you ever win a big lottery or sweepstakes prize, or some other prize determine entirely by chance? How many other people entered that same contest? What were the odds that you would end up the winner?

This weeks theme is good luck.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good luck charm

Have you ever had your own good luck charm, an object that you carried with you because you believed (or at least hoped) that it brought you luck? What was that object, and where did it come from? If you don't have it anymore, what happened to it?

This week's theme is good luck.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Good luck

We say "good luck" to friends to offer our support. It means, "I know there are factors outside your control, but I hope you succeed." But, in everyday conversation, the words "good luck" are often said sarcastically, with a not-so-supportive meaning: "You're wasting your effort. I already know you're going to fail."

When was the last time you said "good luck" to someone? On that occasion, which meaning of the phrase did you intend?

This week's theme is good luck.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tell us a story: evacuation

A few million people are away from home today to stay out of harm's way in the path of Hurricane Irene. Have you ever had to evacuate because of severe weather, flooding, or other dangers? Where did you go, and how long did you have to stay away before you were allowed to return?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nothing but books

If for some reason you were stuck in a library or bookstore all day with nothing to do but read, what is one book you might read first?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vibes good and bad

Do you generally feel nurtured and valued at your workplace, and that you are given the psychological space to do your best work? Or are you at cross purposes with your co-workers at all times, fending off subtle (or not-so-subtle) attacks on your professionalism?

This week's theme is your workplace.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tools of the trade

What is one tool on hand at your workplace that you enjoy having a chance to use?

Do you generally have the right tools at your job for the things that you're asked to do, or do you sometimes have to improvise and struggle with tool that don't quite fit the task?

This week's theme is your workplace.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We don't talk about that here

In most workplaces, there are several subject areas that are out of bounds for normal conversation. What is one of these subjects, one thing that you would like to talk about with your co-workers, given the chance?

This week's theme is your workplace.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Home and work

How far is it from your home to your job? Did you make a point of picking a job close to home — or picking a home close to your job?

Do you work at home? If so, do you make any effort to differentiate your work space from your living space?

This week's theme is your workplace.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Your workplace

Think about your workplace as a place, apart from the work that you do there. Is it a well-lit, comfortable, cheerful place? Does it have a picturesque or historically significant location? What are some advantages that your workplace offers, or some ways that it enriches your life?

This week's theme is your workplace.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tell us a story: master class

What was one time when you had a chance to get advice or instruction from a master in some area of skill? Was this a lesson you'd planned for and sought out, or was it just luck putting you in the right place at the right time? Did the advice or lesson in fact help you develop your skills?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Forget cyan, let's try turquoise

What was one big change you once made that turned out to be more of the same — not much of a change at all?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Only in my dreams

How realistic are your expectations surrounding romantic love? Do you have fantasies that could never be fulfilled by real people? Or are your desires in line with what can realistically be expected?

This week's theme is romantic love.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Love hurts

What's the worst pain you ever caused someone in a romantic relationship? What's the worst pain love ever caused you?

This week's theme is romantic love.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The color of love

When you think about your history of experiences with romantic love, what feeling comes out most strongly with your memories? Do you feel embarrassed at rash things you did, for example, or are you impressed with what you were able to do? Do you feel nostalgia, regret, sorrow, wistfulness?

This week's theme is romantic love.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Under a spell

What are some uncharacteristic things you've done under the influence of romantic love — things that might seem to diverge from your usual personality and style?

This week's theme is romantic love.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Romantic love

About how old were you the first time you felt romantic love for another person? Whether you've been in love more than once or are still with that same first partner, are your more recent feelings qualitatively different than your earlier romantic feelings? Was love more painful when you were young? Was it more fleeting? Did it make you want to do things (make mix tapes, write poetry, etc.) that you no longer feel a need to do?

This week's theme is romantic love.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tell us a story: factory tour

What was one memorable place you visited where raw materials were shaped into finished products? What things did they make there? And what was the most surprising thing you learned during your visit?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pick a day

Suppose you had to get rid of one day of the week — to pre-empt your existing activities with a new, all-day, once-a-week training program. Which day of your week would be the easiest to give up?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Give and give again

How do you feel about repeat gifts? Is it okay to give the same thing to someone year after year (something nice, obviously), or is it important that each gift be a unique surprise?

This week's theme is giving.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


What is the most unusual gift you've ever given someone? Was it also the most costly gift, or was it something that was more about creativity than expense?

This week's theme is giving.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quiet gifts

Some gifts are presented in a brightly wrapped box, while other gifts, though sometimes just as valuable, are much more subtle. You might skip the gift wrap, downplay the gift's value, or even give something anonymously. What is something of value that you gave away in a less "gifty" way?

This week's theme is giving.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Give generously

Do you donate time, money or materials to any charities or organizations? How do you decide to which charities or organizations you're going to give?

This week's theme is giving.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Most of us are good at receiving, but are you good at giving? Can you give of yourself — whether it's time, money, advice, a favor, or something else — freely, without looking for a return on your investment? Or do you never let people forget what you've given them?

This week's theme is giving.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tell us a story: your parents

What stories have you heard about how your parents met? What circumstances, mutual friends, or common interests helped bring them together?

Saturday, August 6, 2011


In the past 24 hours, who made you feel happy?

Friday, August 5, 2011


What's one unusual or noteworthy place where you've cooked (or assisted) outside a home kitchen? Have you fried eggs on a sailing ship, bagged bread in a commercial bakery, served up smoothies at a festival, or demonstrated a recipe in a TV studio?

This week's theme is your kitchen.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A better kitchen

What would make your kitchen a better, more useable, more inspiring space? What's the first thing you would like to do to improve your kitchen?

This week's theme is your kitchen.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What's cooking?

What fits into your kitchen besides food and utensils? And what do you do there besides cooking and eating? Is it a place for hanging out, watching TV, phone conversations, reading, computer work, art projects? Are there poetry magnets on the refrigerator? What's happening in your kitchen?

This week's theme is your kitchen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Home cooking

In a typical week, how many of your meals do you prepare in the kitchen and eat at home?

This week's theme is your kitchen.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Your kitchen

Every home has a kitchen, but there are many different ways to fit a kitchen into a home. In some homes, the kitchen is hidden away out of sight and barely large enough for preparing food. In other homes, the kitchen is the heart of home life, the center of everything.

How does your kitchen fit into your home? And how well does the style of your kitchen fit with your style of cooking, eating, and living?

This week's theme is your kitchen.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tell us a story: too close to the flames

Did you ever burn yourself, burn up something valuable by accident, or have to deal with a fire that got out of control? What was one time that you faced the dangerous and destructive effects of fire?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Early ambitions

When you were a young child, just old enough to think about your future, what was one thing you imagined you might do, or be, or have when you grew up?

Friday, July 29, 2011


Leaders tend to get most of the attention, but none of their successes would happen without followers. What skills or traits make you a follower that a leader would be glad to have? And how do you decide which leaders are the right ones to follow?

This week's theme is leadership.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kinds of leaders

There are many different kinds of leadership. For example, thought leaders gain influence by staying well-informed and in tune with what's going on. Role models lead by setting a good example. Trailblazers try things first so that others can learn from their experiences. What is your usual style of leadership?

This week's theme is leadership.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This glass is too half-empty

When you speak about people in leadership positions, are you more likely to criticize them or compliment them? Which do you do more often: complain about their choices, or praise their contributions?

This week's theme is leadership.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Leadership training

What experience from years ago helped you learn some of the skills that a leader needs?

This week's theme is leadership.

Monday, July 25, 2011


When you have a choice, are you happier being in charge, or are you happier when someone else takes the leadership role?

This week's theme is leadership.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tell us a story: Christmas in July

What was something you once did outside of its usual season, at the "wrong" time of year?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Join Us

The rock band They Might Be Giants named their latest album "Join Us," implying that merely buying the album makes you part of a social movement or an exclusive club. Of course, there are plenty of other, slightly less direct, advertisements that appeal to your desire to belong, to be part of something.

What was something you bought recently that, at least for a moment, helped create that feeling of belonging?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wow, that sure takes me back

Even after years have passed, familiar smells can trigger vivid memories. What is one smell that reminds you of a place or a time from your childhood?

This week's theme is the sense of smell.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It stinks

Are there people you avoid, or places that you don't go to, only because you don't like the way they smell?

This week's theme is the sense of smell.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Skunk and sauerkraut

What are some smells that seem to bother you a lot more than they bother other people? On the other hand, are there some widely-despised smells that you personally don't object to?

This week's theme is the sense of smell.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The blindfolded nose

Cold-related congestion can impair your sense of smell, and so can cigarette smoke. Are there factors in your life or things in your environment that interfere with your sense of smell?

This week's theme is the sense of smell.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The sense of smell

Do you have a keen sense of smell?

Some people can judge the quality of wine by its smell, and some people's noses tell them when the meat on the grill is perfectly cooked. Do you have a specialty, a smell that you are particularly attuned to?

This week's theme is the sense of smell.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tell us a story: between the pages

What was something interesting, unusual, or old that you found between the pages of a book, left behind by a previous reader?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

In sharp contrast

What's an example of something in your life that's clean, organized, in good order, and well cared for? And what's something that's a mess, not quite working, and in desperate need of attention?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Springfield and Shelbyville

What's another place, not very far away, with a noticeably different atmosphere and culture — a difference that clarifies what makes your own hometown culture distinctive?

This week's theme is local culture.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Local music

What specific styles of music are associated with your area? What popular bands or musical artists emerged from your immediate area?

Do you enjoy your area's distinctive musical style? Does it line up with your own personal musical tastes?

This week's theme is local culture.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

42nd Annual Kite-Flying Contest

What festivals, fairs, and community events does your area offer? Which local events do you look forward to every year?

This week's theme is local culture.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Local cuisine

What foods and drinks are characteristic of your area? Are there distinctive recipes or locally made brands that you wouldn't necessarily find somewhere else?

If you moved away, what local foods or drinks would you miss?

This week's theme is local culture.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Local culture

Some places have a definite personality, a strong sense of location, history, and identity. And some places have little to distinguish them: you could just as easily live somewhere else, and you wouldn't notice the difference.

What about where you live? Is there a local culture and sense of identity? Does it mean something when you say, "I'm from _____"?

This week's theme is local culture.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tell us a story: simplified

What is something that used to be ridiculously complicated or difficult for you — until you decided to simplify things? Tell us what you used to have to go through, and what you changed to make things easier. What finally prompted you to change?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A head start

What is one simple thing that you could do today to put yourself in a stronger position for tomorrow?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Toga party!!!

Sometimes we learn about our freedoms by testing their boundaries. Was there ever a time when you tested the boundaries of a freedom to the point of abusing it? For example, did you throw a party as soon as your parents left you in charge of the house while they were on vacation? Or have you ever checked out internet dating sites even though you have a spouse or a significant other, because you know they trust you?

This week's theme is freedom.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Your freedom cup

Even under the same set of rules, some people seem to enjoy more freedom than other people do. Do you see generally see yourself as someone with more freedom, or someone with less freedom? What makes the difference between your situation and other people's?

This week's theme is freedom.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My parents won't let me

During your adolescence, what was one adult-style freedom that you had to wait far too long for — or at least it seemed that way at the time — even though you were old enough and responsible enough to be trusted with it?

This week's theme is freedom.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

9 to 5

How much freedom do you have with your work schedule? Do you have to go to work every day? Or can you work at home sometimes? During the work day, are you constrained by regularly scheduled meetings and tight deadlines, or are you at liberty to do your work in the manner you see fit, in a way and time frame that suits your personal style?

This week's theme is freedom.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Most people have constraints on their behavior, but have gotten so used to them over time that they don't feel particularly limited by them. This week, we will talk about how you are free, and how you are constrained.

Let's say you came home with 12 gallons of paint, all in different colors, and wanted to turn the outside of your home into a multi-colored canvas. Do you live in a place where expressive displays like this are accepted? What's an example of something you might like to do to distinguish your living space, and would it be accepted where you live?

This week's theme is freedom.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tell us a story: star of the hour

What was one time when you did something (whether it was planned or fortuitous) that immediately boosted your popularity, respectability, and social standing? Did it give you just a brief moment of fame, or did your new popularity persist?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Taking your temperature

On the whole, do you think you are too complacent (sticking with what's comfortable and familiar too often), or too unsettled (challenged by too many changes at once)?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fading away

Think back to where you were six months ago, on New Year's Day 2011. What issues, concerns, or problems that seemed big in January have been decisively solved since then, or have simply faded away from your attention?

What is one of your current problems that you would like to imagine fading away in the second half of the year?

This week's theme is halfway through the year.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mid-year status report

Most of us are perennially overoptimistic when making plans. Which of your plans and goals for 2011 have fallen way behind schedule?

On the other hand, what are some of your biggest actual accomplishments for the first half of the year? Were those things in your plans, or were they the result of unexpected opportunities?

This week's theme is halfway through the year.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The year's best

Sure, 2011 is only half over. But if you were asked to make a tentative nomination for the year's best book, best song, or best movie (pick one category), what would you choose? What work of entertainment blew your mind this year?

This week's theme is halfway through the year.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Out of left field

There were plenty of predictions and forecasts for 2011, but some of the year's huge news stories came as total surprises. How about in your personal life? What big changes in the past six months caught you by surprise?

This week's theme is halfway through the year.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Halfway through the year

Can you believe it? 2011 is already at the halfway mark! How are things going for you? Is 2011 working out to be a better year for you than 2010?

What is your highlight of the year so far — your single brightest moment for 2011?

This week's theme is halfway through the year.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tell us a story: so you think you can dance

Tell us about a time when you went ahead and tried something you weren't sure you could do, even at the risk of making a fool of yourself. Where were you? What did you attempt? Who or what convinced you to give it a try? How did it work out?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Change is good

Some music fans are converting their long-playing records into MP3s. Some bakers are adapting their cake recipes so they can get in on the craze for cupcakes. What is one thing of your own that you recently transformed into a new format?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Karaoke night

If your friends dragged you to the microphone at a karaoke party, what song might you pick to sing? Or are you someone who doesn't sing under any circumstances?

This week's theme is your voice.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Finding the right words

Do you tend to be eloquent or tongue-tied? Is it easy for you to find the right words to say what you want to say, or do you sometimes struggle with how to express your thoughts? When you speak to a group of people, do you prefer to have a script in front of you, or do you do better speaking off the cuff, without prepared notes?

This week's theme is your voice.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

At your podium

Do you use your voice professionally, as an actor, singer, DJ, teacher, or public speaker? If not, what are the times and places when your voice makes the biggest difference — the times when it's important for you to speak clearly and powerfully so that you are heard and understood?

This week's theme is your voice.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Listen to yourself

We see ourselves in the mirror every day, but most of us don't have many opportunities to hear ourselves speak. When you hear your recorded voice, do you tend to wince, or do you think you sound pretty good?

What is one thing that you would like to change about the tone of your voice or the way you speak?

This week's theme is your voice.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The sound of your voice

Do you feel that your speaking voice matches your personality? What are some things that people can tell about you just by hearing you speak? What are some things they might incorrectly assume or guess about you, based solely on your speaking voice?

This week's theme is your voice.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tell us a story: disaster prevention

Did you once intervene just in time to stop someone from accidentally setting themselves on fire? Did you happen to catch someone's antique vase before it hit the floor? Did you stop someone from stepping out on stage with a wardrobe malfunction?

When did your alertness and quick action prevent a big mess, an expensive accident, or a major embarrassment?

Disasters and accidents stick in our memories, but it's easy to forget the just-as-important moments when you prevented an accident. These are valuable accomplishments; make sure you give yourself credit!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Salt water

Despite having vast continents to spread out on, most people on earth still live close to the ocean. How far are you from the ocean (or a salt-water bay or inlet)?

What is your favorite thing to do at the beach or out on the open water?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Do you dream in color?

Musicians' dreams have great musical soundtracks. Graphic designers' dreams offer interesting colors, shapes, and lines. What is one dayworld fascination of yours that influences the content and style of your dreams?

This week's theme is your dreamworld.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This must be a dream!

According to one theory, dreams are vivid experiences constructed by your imagination in its best attempt to forge a cohesive narrative from current patterns of neural stimulation. The funny thing is, that same description applies equally well to waking life!

What are some actual differences between your dream experience and your waking life? Do your dreams have more monsters? More final exams? What are some things that happen repeatedly in your dreams, but almost never in waking life — things that should be a clear tipoff that you're having a dream?

This week's theme is your dreamworld.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dream police

In your dreams, what kinds of rules do you break? And what kinds of interactions do you have with enforcers and authority figures?

Are there parallels with the way authority figures show up in your waking life?

This week's theme is your dreamworld.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dream adventures

Does your dreamlife sometimes seem better, more meaningful, or more exciting than your waking life? What are some things in your dreams that outdo your waking life? In your dreams, are you more wealthy or more successful than in waking life? Do you get to go to grander and more interesting places? Do your dream challenges seem more important and more satisfying than your dayworld chores?

In what particular ways would you like your life to be more like your dreamlife?

This week's theme is your dreamworld.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Your dreamworld

All of us have dreams that defy ordinary logic, where places, people, and things have fluid identities, and cause and effect can be hard to untangle. But we don't all have the same dreams; each dreamworld has its unique personality.

What is one unusual situation, place, or thing that has appeared in your dreams more than once, but that — as far as you know — hasn't occurred in anyone else's dreams? What is one thing you've dreamed up that just might be unique to your dreamworld?

This week's theme is your dreamworld.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tell us a story: culture, natural and adopted

Was there one time where you were at a traditional ethnic event and felt a great deal of warmth and acceptance? Was the event part of your own cultural heritage? Or were you playing tourist at someone else's cultural event?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In or out

Do you consider yourself an 'outdoorsy' person? Do you eagerly get outside into the sunshine at every opportunity? Or do you hate the bugs/heat/humidity/wind/etc., and only go outside in order to get somewhere else that's inside?

Friday, June 10, 2011

"I'm going out for a while"

When you were old enough to walk or bicycle away from home by yourself, what was one place that you liked to go?

This week's theme is childhood memories.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pipe dreams

Did someone ever thwart your dreams? What did you want to do, and who thought that you couldn't do it?

This week's theme is childhood memories.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Something special for you

What is one gift, large or small, that especially delighted you as a child?

This week's theme is childhood memories.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book of the year

What is one book that fascinated you as a child, a book that you remember reading again and again?

This week's theme is childhood memories.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Childhood memories

Some memories from your childhood might seem vague and distant, while other might seem clear and immediate. What's one place, activity, person, or pet that provided some of your most vivid childhood memories?

This week's theme is childhood memories.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tell us a story: a funny thing happened at the wedding

Once, while hurrying to a friend's wedding, we suddenly had to turn back. The road ahead — the main road to the wedding location — was swallowed up by floodwaters. What's your own story about something unplanned and unexpected that made a wedding day — your own or someone else's — even more memorable?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I planted a seed

Did you plant a sapling several years ago that has grown into a full-size tree? Did you form a club or start a tradition that still carries on today without any effort from you? What is something you helped set in motion a long time ago that, years later, still has a visible impact?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Your global web

Think of your connections to faraway places: your ancestors' homelands, the birthplaces of friends and colleagues, and your friends who have moved to distant lands. How far and wide do your connections reach? Can you find links to all six inhabited continents?

This week's theme is connections.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A friend on the inside

Who provides your most direct connection to the glamorous inside world of Hollywood, or pop music, or professional sports, or whatever it is that you count as glamorous? Are you well-connected enough to sometimes get leftover swag, or free tickets, or gossip from behind the scenes?

This week's theme is connections.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Returning the favor

Yesterday we asked about times when connections paid off for you in a big way. What about the reverse? When were you in the right place to help out someone you were connected to, in a way that made a big difference for them?

This week's theme is connections.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I know someone who can help you with that

When did your connections pay off in a big way? Did a friend help you find a good job? Did a friend of a friend help get you out of a jam? Do you have relatives who can give you a free place to stay when traveling? What are some truly valuable things gotten through being connected?

This week's theme is connections.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Everything is connected to everything else, even if the ties are invisible or indirect. And you are connected to every other person on earth by no more than six degrees of separation. Today, let's look at your first-degree connections, your family members, roommates, friends, acquaintances, all the people you know by name in your neighborhood or at work, and all the people who are listed as your friends on online networks. Don't forget people from years past whom you would count as friends if you happened to end up at the same party or on the same bus. Approximately how many people can you count as first-degree connections?

This week's theme is connections.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tell us a story: up before dawn

What was the longest time you willingly waited in line, or the earliest you got up in the morning, just to make sure that you could be there for some very special event?

What was the event? And did your extra effort pay off?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Your musical axe

What musical instrument do you play? Or what instrument did you play many years ago? If you play more than one instrument, which do you play most often?

And if you've never played any musical instrument, what's one that appeals to you — one that you think you would enjoy playing, if you could?

Friday, May 27, 2011


If your life were an epic costume drama, what type would it be? Are your parties like something out of the Roman Empire? Are you living a shadowy life, suitable for a gangster trilogy? Do you shun excesses in a way that is positively Victorian?

This week's theme is your life as a movie.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Science fiction double feature

Have you ever felt so different from a group you were part of that you might as well have been an alien? How did you cope with it? Did you keep apart from the others, reveling in your strangeness, or did you make an effort to fit in, to blend with the native population?

This week's theme is your life as a movie.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

True romance

There is a film trope called the "meet-cute," which is defined as "the contrived encounter of two potential romantic partners in unusual or comic circumstances." Did you have a "meet cute" in any of your past or current relationships? Was it a good indication of how the relationship was ultimately going to proceed?

TVTropes explains the "Meet Cute"

This week's theme is your life as a movie.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Action hero!

If your life were an action movie, what kind of hero would you be: the glamorous spy, the
reluctant leader called to shine under extraordinary circumstances, the scientific genius-hacker-inventor, the unpopular kid turned martial arts champion -- or some other species of big-screen hero?

This week's theme is your life as a movie.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Your life as a movie

This week, we're going to imagine our own lives as if we lived them in the context of classic movie tropes. First up, the buddy film!

If your life were a classic buddy film, who would be your co-star? Do you have a best friend who's been through it all with you? A sibling who's closer than a friend? Do you spend every evening chatting amiably with an older relative, or a neighbor, or have a niece or nephew who's always by your side?

This week's theme is your life as a movie.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tell us a story: just doin' my job

What was one time at work when you felt like a real hero?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

For best results...

What are the things that no one can do better than you?

Friday, May 20, 2011

All new, and better than ever

Sometimes it takes a complete breakdown of the old order before people can conceive of doing things differently. What is something in your life, or in your community, that had to start over from scratch after the old way fell apart, and that turned out better than before?

This week's theme is beginning again.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New identity

When you start a new job, or a new school, or move, do you try to recreate what worked last time? Try on a whole new persona, with a new personal style and new ways of behaving? Or do you just be yourself?

This week's theme is beginning again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Half past quitting time

When you're right in the middle of a mess, it can be hard to decide when to muddle through and hope things work out, and when to give up and start over from scratch. Which is more your style: doggedly persisting when it's long past time to give up, or impulsive quitting too quickly without giving things a fair chance to hit their stride?

This week's theme is beginning again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Falling in love with falling in love

Looking back on your history of romantic relationships, can you find any negatives in common? Did you learn from those relationship mistakes and make changes in later ones?

This week's theme is beginning again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beginning again

It can be tough to be a beginner, clumsily learning basic skills. It can be challenging to be the new arrival, finding your way around in a new place. It can also be exciting to start fresh, because any new situation is full of potential.

What was one recent circumstance that put you back into the beginner role? What was the most challenging part of the experience for you?

This week's theme is beginning again.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tell us a story: just like me

It's said that our pets begin to resemble us after a time, or perhaps we begin to resemble them. Have you ever had a pet that matched you in personality in some way? Or, have you known someone who uncannily resembled or acted like one of their pets?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

One thing I still don't get

What unanswered questions have you been carrying with you for a long time?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dead and buried

Have you actually planned for the disposal of your earthly remains, or are you expecting someone else will take care of that for you?

This week's theme is mortality.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

You can't take it with you

If you were to die unexpectedly, what is the biggest unfinished job you would leave behind, or the biggest mess that someone else would have to clean up?

This week's theme is mortality.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What you left behind

What would you like people to remember about you after you've died? What do you hope they will forget?

This week's theme is mortality.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated

Have you ever imagined your own death? How elaborately have you constructed that fantasy? Have you imagined a funeral? Reactions of loved ones?

This week's theme is mortality.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Are you okay about confronting your own mortality? Or do thoughts of it — whether it's issues of your health, making plans for your old age, or caring for a terminally ill friend or loved one — make you want to put your fingers in your ears and say "la la la la la!!!"?

This week's theme is mortality.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tell us a story: you only hurt the ones you love

When did you hurt someone — someone who trusted you — very badly?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Super beings

In honor of the movie "Thor" opening in the US last night, we're thinking about super powers! If you could have one super power, what would it be? What would you use your powers for?

Friday, May 6, 2011

I can't believe I did that

What's the craziest or most extreme thing desire has ever driven you to do?

This week's theme is desires.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"...and of course a million dollars and world peace"

What is one thing that you think you're supposed to want, or that people expect you to want, but which you truthfully don't have any real passion for?

This week's theme is desire.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The wind in their sails

What was one time when you went to some trouble to help out someone else, just because were touched by their sincere desire and effort to reach a particular goal?

This week's theme is desire.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'd do anything

What is one thing that you want so badly, you would be willing to do something outrageous — travel a long distance on foot, pay an exorbitant amount of money, embarrass yourself on national television, etc. — to get it?

This week's theme is desires.

Monday, May 2, 2011


What are a few things — material and intangible — you wish the world would give you more of?

This week's theme is desires.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tell us a story: home improvement

What's the thing you've done for your living space that you're most proud of as an accomplishment?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Your endorsements

What logos and emblems can be seen on the clothing you are wearing today?

Friday, April 29, 2011

If I ever get a job at a zoo, I'll need this

There are many things we hesitate to part with because it seems like they might be useful to someone, someday, somehow. What is one admittedly far-fetched future scenario that you've used to justify holding on to something that you haven't used in years?

This week's theme is clutter.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

92 throw pillows

A friend realized he had enough mugs to serve hot cocoa to fifty people, but that not that many people could fit in his house. What is one thing that you are similarly oversupplied with, that you have in far greater quantity than you could conceivably use?

This week's theme is clutter.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Aunt Millie's tapestry

What's the thing in your home that you would love to get rid of, but that you have to keep because of who gave it to you?

This week's theme is clutter.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's the wrong color

What is something that you bought and never used, but you won't get rid of, because then you'd have to admit you wasted your money?

This week's theme is clutter.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Things cost less than ever, and time seems scarcer than ever. For many of us, the result is homes crowded with stuff that we don't really want but don't have time to sort out.

Which part of your home is the most likely to be cluttered with random stuff?

This week's theme is clutter.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tell us a story: all grown up

What was one event that helped you realize that you had grown up and gained adult responsibilities?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

What's one thing you could do that would help you to feel better about yourself?

Friday, April 22, 2011


If you could pick one fear to banish forever (or drastically diminish), what fear would you choose to get rid of?

This week's theme is fears and worries.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Phobias are strong, irrational fears, but the most common phobias do have some sense behind them. High places, enclosed spaces, spiders, snakes, monsters (large predators), and being lost and alone were all potentially deadly perils that our ancestors faced. What's one common phobia that you sometimes experience?

This week's theme is fears and worries.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You'll catch your death

What was one of your mother's favorite, frequently expressed worries?

This week's theme is fears and worries.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lightning and sharks

What is one danger you worry about regularly, even though you'll admit it's rather unlikely to affect you?

This week's theme is fears and worries.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fears and worries

What's your most common strategy: do you tend to ignore and hide your fears and worries, or do you tend to talk to other people about them?

This week's theme is fears and worries.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tell us a story: role model

Who is one of your heroes? Tell us a story about something he or she did or said that particularly inspired your admiration. Which of your hero's positive qualities would you most like to emulate?

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Think about your not-so-proud moments — arguments, misunderstandings, hurtful actions, and false accusations. Who, more than anyone, deserves an apology from you?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Z, Y, X, W, V, U, T...

Did you ever play a musical recording backwards, just to hear the strange-yet-familiar sounds of the reversed music? Have you started at the end a museum exhibit and walked through it in reverse order? Did you ever try playing the holes of a golf course in reverse?

What is something that you deliberately tried doing backwards, just to see what would happen if you reversed the customary order of things?

This week's theme is moving backwards.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I know I had it when I left home!

When were you forced to painstakingly retrace your steps, because you had lost something important along the way? What did you lose? Were you able to find it again?

This week's theme is moving backwards.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Snow sculpture and mud baths

What is something that you enjoyed in your younger years, then abandoned along the way, and eventually rediscovered (perhaps in a "more mature" form) many years later?

This week's theme is moving backwards.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


"As you sow, so shall you reap," says one adage, and the law of karma reminds us that we must face the consequences of our actions, whether immediately or years later.

Did you ever get soaked with your own water balloon? Did your small courtesy turn out to bring a big reward? What is one example of a time when your actions were aimed at someone or something outside yourself, but ended up impacting yourself more than anyone else?

This week's theme is moving backwards.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Moving backwards

A few times a year, the planet Mercury appears to reverse its course for a few weeks and move backwards across the night sky. The backwards motion is an illusion; Mercury in fact continues steadily forward in its orbit around the sun.

In the same way, our life stories move steadily ahead, but sometimes it feels as though we're moving backwards.

What was one time when you turned around and went back to where you started? Did you move from place A to place B, only to move back to A shortly afterwards? Did you leave company C for a job at company D, only to have C buy D a year later? Did you make a big change in the way you do things, only to find that the first way was better after all?

This week's theme is moving backwards.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tell us a story: under a beautiful sky

What is your single happiest memory of being outdoors?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Extra goodness

What's something good that you recently got more of than you expected? Did you pay for a grande at Starbucks and get a venti? Did your bonus come in for more than your boss told you it would? Did you get a birthday card from someone you haven't heard from in years?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Plot twist

Do you enjoy a movie more if the story contains a lot of surprises?

What about your own life? Is it better when it holds more surprises for you?

This week's theme is surprises.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

And now for something completely different

Is your style, schedule, and behavior too repetitive and predictable? If so, what are some things you could do to shake things up, things that no one would expect from someone like you?

This week's theme is surprises.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Breaking the mold

Who surprised you recently by doing something or revealing something that didn't fit with what you expected from them? What did they do that seemed so out of character?

This week's theme is surprises.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Caught you off guard

Surprise is often a tactic used by someone who wants to win by defeating someone else—for example, in battle, in sports, and in sales. What are some people or situations in your own life that prompt you to be wary against possible surprises?

This week's theme is surprises.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Out of the blue

Last month's earthquake and tsunami in Japan is a reminder that major life-changing events sometimes come with no warning at all. These unexpected changes can be good or bad, but we tend to remember the bad ones more vividly.

What was one surprising event from the last few years that directly affected your life?

This week's theme is surprises.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tell us a story: seasonal

What's something you do in the spring that you cannot do in the winter? Do you have different chores, a modified exercise plan, friends you only see in the warmer weather?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

From the studio that brought you "Your Life"...

What would be the title of the movie about your life? Who is the ideal actor to play the role of "you"?

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's a joke

In the United States, today is April Fool's Day, and the tradition is to see if you can momentarily trick someone into believing a made-up piece of news. The more outlandish the fake news, the better the joke if someone believes it.

Did you ever mistakenly take seriously a website or news story that was meant purely as a joke or parody?

This week's theme is mistakes.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


What is one category of mistake that you take extra pains to avoid, even though friends say you are overdoing it and shouldn't worry so much?

This week's theme is mistakes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On second thought

What is one big mistake that you, luckily, were able to catch and correct before it was too late?

This week's theme is mistakes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Accidentally perfect

Did you ever forget an ingredient and accidentally invent an interesting new dish? Did you show up on the wrong day and end up at a better event than the one you had planned to attend? What is one mistake you made that turned out surprisingly well?

This week's theme is mistakes.

Monday, March 28, 2011


"To err is human" — that is, it's normal for people to make mistakes.

What's one small mistake you made in the last day or two — or if your last few days were flawless, what's the most recent mistake you can remember?

This week's theme is mistakes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tell us a story: unstoppable force

What is a contest you won, a goal you reached, or an obstacle you defeated by sheer will, relentless persistence, or overwhelming force?

Did you buy up every available raffle ticket, sit up all night to be first in line, or painstakingly memorize every possible test answer? What was your successful strategy, and what was the prize you won?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Page 1

What is the earliest event in your life that you can remember? Where did it take place? Is it a happy or unhappy memory?

Friday, March 25, 2011


Natural systems have ways of keeping themselves in balance. For example, your body sweats or shivers when necessary to keep a stable temperature. What are some things that you do almost as automatically — without having to think about it or make a decision — to help pull your life into balance when something has gotten out of balance?

This week's theme is balance.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Opposites attract -- or repel

According to some theories of personality, if you meet someone whose personality is exactly opposite your own, you're likely to feel strongly about them — you'll either love them or hate them. Among the people you know, who seems to be closest to the opposite of you? And how do you feel about that person?

This week's theme is balance.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Out of proportion

What one thing in your life is conspicuously out of balance, in that it takes far more than its appropriate share of your time, money, or attention?

This week's theme is balance.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You gotta pick one or the other

Sometimes people (and commercials) incorrectly present things as opposing forces that require compromise, when they aren't really opposites at all. For example: "You have to balance style with savings" falsely implies that personal style is mainly a matter of spending money.

What are two things in your life that you used to believe were opposites, but which you now find you can reconcile without short-changing either one?

This week's theme is balance.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Yesterday's spring equinox (or fall equinox in the southern hemisphere) is the time when the sun shines straight down at the equator, leaning neither to the north nor the south. What is something in your life that went from one extreme to the opposite extreme, and is now (at least momentarily) in a place of balance?

This week's theme is balance.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tell us a story: news of the day

On soap operas, there is a character called a "talk-to," used when a main character needs to recap what has been happening with them. Who is your "talk-to"? Who do you generally tell the details of your day to?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Conflicting priorities

Are many of your goals "top priority"? Is everything on your to-do list "extremely urgent"? When multiple things demand your time and attention, how do you decide what to do first?

Friday, March 18, 2011

My body, my temple

How is your access to healthy food? Do you make a special effort to buy foods that are good for you, without a lot of preservatives, low in fat and salt, organic, etc.? Do you filter your water? What other ways do you monitor or control what you take into your body?

This week's theme is your health.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

These used to fit...!

What are any major differences in your health from ten years ago? Twenty?

This week's theme is your health.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guilt or great

When you think about your health, do you have generally positive feelings ("I really treat my body as a temple, yay, me!") or are you wracked with negativity ("Augh, I feel so guilty for every pint of Ben & Jerry's I've ever eaten!")?

This week's theme is your health.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hitting the gym

Do you get any exercise on a regular basis? Is it a required part of your routine (say, walking to the subway from your apartment, or riding a bike to work because you don't have a car), or do you have to deliberately seek it out (going to a track to run, or visiting a gym)?

This week's theme is your health.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Your health

How is your general health? Do you pay a lot of attention to your health, or very little attention to it? Or somewhere in between?

This week's theme is your health.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tell us a story: man's best friend

What was your first pet? Was it a family pet, or an animal for which you were solely responsible? Did having a pet make your life richer? Do you have a pet now?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The gift of words

When does writing flow quickly and naturally for you? What kinds of things can you express easily and comfortably?

What kinds of things are hard to write? When does writing feel labored and awkward?

Friday, March 11, 2011

In the mirror

What are some questions you think you should be asking yourself — questions you might be avoiding?

This week's theme is the questions you want to ask.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Elephant in the corner

What is one of the big, obvious questions that seemingly no one wants to talk about? What important topic has been effectively pushed out of the conversation?

This week's theme is the questions you want to ask.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Think of someone who turned you down for something: an employer, a prospective date, a director, etc. Looking back from the present to that specific moment of denial, what would you like to ask them now about why they turned you down then?

This week's theme is the questions you want to ask.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hard feelings

Now think of people you no longer see specifically because of some ill will between you. Is there anyone in that group of whom you'd really like to ask a question? What would you ask them?

This week's theme is the questions you want to ask.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Questions you want to ask

Think of someone you no longer see, not because of any ill will or big breakup. Someone who moved, or someone who died, or someone you just lost track of. Is there anyone in that group of whom you'd really like to ask a question? What would you ask them?

This week's theme is questions you want to ask.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tell us a story: a thousand words

What is your favorite picture of yourself, and why? What does the picture reveal about you?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

In place of

What is something in your life that's really just a substitute for something else that you want but can't have?

Friday, March 4, 2011


Has anyone ever actively thwarted your creativity? Who is this spoilsport, and is he or she still in your life? Did you listen to their negative commentary and take it to heart, or did you go ahead with your novel/audition/self-portrait in oils anyway?

This week's theme is creativity.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mountain climbing, tree climbing

Which kind of inspiration is more likely to draw you in: grand, impressive, risky ideas that might take a long time to bring to completion; or quick hits, things that you know you can complete immediately and successfully?

This week's theme is creativity.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Who, when, and where

In your daily life, where do your creative impulses turn up? Which people encourage you? What places make you feel creative? What times of day or days of the week are most likely to find you in a creative mood?

This week's theme is creativity.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Big fan

Is there a creative work you love so much that it inspires you to want to paint, sing, write, play the violin, or express yourself in some other way? What work is it?

This week's theme is creativity.

Monday, February 28, 2011


What is the most significant or large creative work — for example a book, a symphony, a song, a film — you've ever finished? What's the most significant or large creative work that you didn't finish?

This week's theme is creativity.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tell us a story: and the band played on

What's the most memorable concert or show you ever attended?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

May I help you?

In your wildest fantasies, if you could own any kind of a store, what kind of a store would it be?

Friday, February 25, 2011

My first lesson in ethics

What was an experience at an early age that helped you formulate your understanding of ethics?

This week's theme is ethics.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A whopper

When is the last time you told a significant lie — something more meaty than, for example, "Yes, your new haircut looks great!"? What were the consequences (or benefits)?

This week's theme is ethics.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Five-fingered discount

Have you ever stolen anything? If so, was it something you needed, or something you wanted?

This week's theme is ethics.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thicker than thieves

Have you ever seen (or heard about) a friend crossing a serious ethical line? Were you asked to keep the transgression to yourself, and if so, did you? Or did you rat out your friend to the appropriate authority?

This week's theme is ethics.

Monday, February 21, 2011


How firmly defined are your personal ethics? Do you have specific lines that you won't cross? Have you ever had to assert those boundaries in the face of a challenge?

This week's theme is ethics.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tell us a story: Come as you aren't

What was one time when you had to wear something that was completely out of character for you, something at odds with your normal style?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Those kids know everything

What is one thing that you learned from someone much younger than you?

Did you have to swallow your pride to accept the lesson, or are you happy to gain knowledge from any source?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Around the dinner table

When you were growing up, were meals the center of family life?

This week's theme is food.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Home cooking

Is there a food that you eat proudly, or with fond nostalgia, because it reminds you of your hometown, or your family or cultural traditions?

This week's theme is food.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Comfort on a plate

When you've had a really bad day, or are unhappy or sad or mad, what foods do you look to for comfort?

This week's theme is food.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A meal to remember

When it's time for a special occasion meal, what kind of cuisine do you usually choose?

This week's theme is food.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Are there any foods that you flat-out will not eat? Why don't you eat them? Is it because of allergies, religious restrictions, medical issues, or just because you don't like them? How has your life been affected by these "do not eat" foods?

This week's theme is food.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tell us a story: romance gone wrong

What's the most colorful story you have about a date, or a romantic evening, that turned out badly?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Three more minutes

What is one simple thing you would be able to do if you had three extra minutes per day?

Friday, February 11, 2011

The cover of your life

If you were going to publish your life story as a memoir, what would be a good title for the book?

This week's theme is your life story.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Off camera

To reduce your life to a story — even if it's a lengthy book — you'd have to simplify things and leave out most of the details. What period of your life might you skip over quickly when telling your life story? What years were like a detour, outside the main narrative of your life?

This week's theme is your life story.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Your nemesis

In most stories, the hero struggles against someone (for example, a villain or rival) or something (for example, a handicap, an addiction, or a shameful secret). The hero's struggle provides shape and drama to the story. Who is the villain in your life story? Or what lifelong struggle provides the drama in your story?

This week's theme is your life story.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Turning points

Thinking over the entire narrative of your life, what are the one or two biggest turning points that sent your story onto a different path?

This week's theme is your life story.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Your life story

If you were going to tell the story of your life, which of these three themes would be closest to the center of the story: the events you experienced and witnessed; the people you knew; or the goals you pursued and achieved?

This week's theme is your life story.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tell us a story: team spirit

Not counting your family, friends and employer, are you fiercely loyal to anyone or anything (for example, a sports team, a tv show, or a musician)? What's the craziest thing your loyalty inspired you to do?

Saturday, February 5, 2011


How many different e-mail addresses do you use to receive e-mail?

Do you have separate e-mail addresses for work, home, online shopping, and that book club you belong to? Or do you use the same inbox for everything?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Going postal

What kind of stress does your work cause for you? Are you stressed out by the things you have to do there, or by the people you work with? Or unexpected crises that cause extra work? Is your work stress the kind of stress you can leave at the office, or do you bring it home with you?

This week's theme is stressful situations.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dude, where's the rest of the band?

What was one occasion when something you counted on suddenly wasn't there? What happened? Were you able to improvise and get through it, or did your plans fall apart in the face of the unexpected challenge?

This week's theme is stressful situations.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's all up to you now

In today's Groundhog Day ritual, the groundhog is prompted to emerge from its hole, supposedly to determine the fate of the weather for everyone in the region. When do you feel as though you have too much riding on your shoulders, when for something this important you really should have more preparation, training and backup?

This week's theme is stressful situations.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Whoever invented this...

Technology is meant to make our lives easier, but it also introduces new kinds of stress. Which piece of equipment or machinery causes the most unpredictable trouble in your life?

This week's theme is stressful situations.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Stressful situations

Are you under a lot of stress when you visit with family members? Is it only one particular family member, or several of them? Is the stress related to ongoing patterns from childhood, or is it new issues that put a strain on this (or these) relationship(s)?

This week's theme is stressful situations.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tell us a story: lost and found

Did you ever lose something, and while searching for it, find something else — something interesting and unexpected?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I appreciate that

This week, who or what made you feel grateful?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wardrobe malfunction

What's the most expensive, extravagant, or unusual thing you bought but have never (or rarely) worn? Under what circumstances did you buy it? Was it a whim, or did you think long and hard before purchasing? Why haven't you worn it (or worn it much)?

This week's theme is clothing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Comfort wear

What's your "security blanket" clothing? Do you have something that you wear when you're not feeling well, or are depressed or unhappy, or when you just don't have the energy to care about your appearance?

This week's theme is clothing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Special occasion

Some items of clothing are meant for particular purposes and occasions. You might have special clothing for different kinds of formal events; or perhaps clothing that you only wear for swimming, basketball, or rock climbing. What is one of your most unusual and interesting pieces of special-purpose clothing, and what activity or occasion is it for?

This week's theme is clothing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dress code

Do you have a chance to express yourself with the clothes you wear every day? Or do you wear a uniform, or clothes so conventional that they might as well be a uniform?

This week's theme is clothing.

Monday, January 24, 2011


How much clothing do you have? Too much? Not enough? Just the right amount? When and why do you buy new clothing?

This week's theme is clothing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tell us a story: the job not taken

What was a business that you made tentative plans to launch, or a career that you started preparing for, or a job offer that you seriously considered, before deciding to go in a different direction instead? What ultimately helped you make your decision?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A book that made a difference

Think of the books you've read recently that inspired you, helped you understand or learn something, or helped you solve a problem. What is one book that stands out, that you would definitely recommend to others?

Friday, January 21, 2011


Did you ever receive a life-changing insight while in an altered state of consciousness?

Conversely, did you ever come to a profound realization while in an altered state, only to find that your new idea seemed nonsensical in your ordinary state of consciousness?

This week's theme is under the influence.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Check my I.D.

When you were old enough to buy alcohol legally, where and when did you buy your first drink or bottle? Who was with you? What were the circumstances? And, what drink did you get?

This week's theme is under the influence.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More you

Do your characteristic personality traits become exacerbated when you're under the influence? Or do drinking and drugs cause you to act diametrically opposite from your normal personality?

This week's theme is under the influence.