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.