Monday, December 31, 2012

Year ending, year beginning (1)

Whether you're in the public eye or not, what are some "good reviews" that you got this year? What did you do this year that received a warm and positive reaction from your "fans"?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tell us a story: something strange and new

What was something new that mystified you or repelled you at first, but that eventually you came to accept or even like?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The time has come

What changes are you ready to make today?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Highlights of 2012 (5)

What were you most grateful for this year?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Highlights of 2012 (4)

What was the most important thing you learned this year?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Highlights of 2012 (3)

Who is your Person of the Year — the person who had the biggest impact on your life, or who provided the most inspiring example for you?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Highlights of 2012 (2)

What was your biggest question or biggest decision this year?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Highlights of 2012 (1)

What was your biggest challenge this year?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tell us a story: turning point

If you had to pick just one, what is the most pivotal event in your life, the key episode of your life story?

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Yesterday was winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, the time when daylight is shortest and night is longest. In the southern hemisphere, yesterday was summer solstice.  How does the changing amount of daylight affect your daily routine? For example, what is one thing you won't do on a dark evening?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Changes this year (5)

What was the biggest change in your life this year overall?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Changes this year (4)

What was one change this year that you pretty much knew was coming?  What was one change that caught you by surprise?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Changes this year (3)

Who arrived in your life this year? Who stepped out of the background to take on a bigger role in your life? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Changes this year (2)

Are you healthier than you were last year at this time? Do you have any new broken bones or chronic conditions, or have you survived a surgery since last year's end? If you aren't healthier than you were last year, are you making any plans to change your habits next year?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Changes this year (1)

This week we're going to look at what has changed in your life this year.

Are you still in the same job you were in at this time last year? If not, is the new job better or worse than the last one? If you're still in the same job, have your responsibilities changed? Your title? Your co-workers? Your salary? Your boss? Your view?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tell us a story: Not a moment to waste

When did you rush and scramble to try to meet a deadline, only to find out that you had plenty of time because the deadline was later than you thought?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Betrayed by the body

Which part of your body has given you more than its share of problems? 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Healthy holidays (5)

New Year's Day, at the tail end of the holiday season, is a traditional time to resolve to adopt healthier habits. Do you have any health-related resolutions in mind for 2013?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Healthy holidays (4)

What holiday situation — or what specific food — is most likely to lead you to eat more than you should? 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Healthy holidays (3)

What changes have you made to your habits and traditions to make the holidays easier and healthier?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Healthy holidays (2)

What are the predictable events that usually cause extra stress for you during this time of the year?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Healthy holidays (1)

Do you find that you miss more sleep than usual during the holiday season?  Do you have other healthy habits or routines that tend to lapse at this time of year?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tell us a story: super size

What's the biggest thing that you ever helped eat?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Big screen debut

What was the first movie that you ever saw — or the earliest one that you can remember seeing?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Being genuine and faking it (5)

What are some examples where you might be "faking it" more than necessary — where there might be room for more of your genuine self?  Tip: If you can't come up with examples for yourself, think about times when you've noticed other people putting in excessive or unnecessary effort to cover up their real selves.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Being genuine and faking it (4)

Were you ever unfairly accused of cheating or faking your results after you accomplished something extraordinary? 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Being genuine and faking it (3)

Have you ever used a fake ID, claimed fake credentials, or misrepresented who you were, in order to gain access to something?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Being genuine and faking it (2)

Contact lenses hide the fact that your eyes need correction. Does that make them less open and honest than eyeglassses?  What are some similarly hidden forms of assistance that help you function and succeed in life?  Do any of those things stretch ethical boundaries or come close to actual deception? 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Being genuine and faking it (1)

Just as some shoes fit us perfectly and some fit poorly, there are parts of our lives that perfectly suit our temperament and other parts of our lives that don't seem to match who we are.  What's one place where you feel that you fit in perfectly? And what's one place where you don't exactly feel free to be yourself? 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tell us a story: a special holiday

Tell us a story of a memorable or unusual holiday celebration that you took part in. What holiday was it, and what did you do to observe or celebrate it? Who were you with? And what helped make the occasion interesting or memorable?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fire-Breathing Frank

What would you name your newly adopted pet dragon?

Friday, November 30, 2012

People and animals (5)

Animal opinion time! Answer quickly, without stopping to think: (1) What's your favorite animal? (2) What animal has qualities or strengths that you particularly admire? (3) What animal represents qualities in yourself that you dislike and are trying to overcome? (4) What animal looks great in photos? (5) What animal scares you the most?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

People and animals (4)

When you were a young child, who gave you a chance to meet an out-of-the-ordinary animal? What was the animal? What was your initial impression of it?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

People and animals (3)

Do physical allergies affect any of your relationships to people and animals?  Are there animals you have to avoid because of allergies?  Are there people in your life who are allergic to your pets?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

People and animals (2)

What real-world animals have turned up in your dreams?

Monday, November 26, 2012

People and animals (1)

Did you ever feel wary of someone or decide to avoid them specifically because you didn't like the pets they kept?  Or, conversely, did you ever warm up to someone specifically because of their adorable pets? 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tell us a story: an unexpected gift

What memorable gift caught you by surprise because it didn't come on any of the usual gift-giving occasions?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sleeping in

How much later than usual do you sleep on your days off?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Family album (5)

What is your earliest memory of being with members of your extended family?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Family album (4)

What legendary crisis did your family weather before you arrived?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Family album (3)

Who is the black sheep of your family — or the one most likely to do things that other family members disapprove of?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Family album (2)

Who is someone you never had a chance to meet in person, but know about through the stories that your family tells? 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Family album (1)

What is a story your family likes to tell about you, even though the details of the story are not exactly true? Does their fact-stretching tend to flatter you (put you in a more positive light) or embarrass you (make you look worse than necessary)? 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tell us a story: lucky timing

Tell us about a case of highly unlikely perfect timing -- a time when something or someone came along with just what you needed at that moment to reach a goal, overcome an obstacle, or get out of trouble. What was the situation, and who or what showed up at just the right time?

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Suppose there were a chance to tinker with your life story, to change your attitude or choices for one short period of your life in hopes of creating a better life story overall. What point in your life would be the best place to intercede to make the biggest difference?  And what hypothetical change would you make during that time period to nudge your life in a more positive direction?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Memories and associations (5)

In your memories, what song is inextricably tied to a particular group of people or an activity that you participated in years ago? 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Memories and associations (4)

What is one place you make a habit of avoiding because it reminds you of unpleasant experiences from the past?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Memories and associations (3)

Is there a phrase or saying that, whenever you hear it or say it yourself, always reminds you of a particular person -- someone who said that same phrase all the time?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Memories and associations (2)

What is one household chore or work task that reminds you of a particular person from your past?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Memories and associations (1)

What person from your past do you tend to remember mainly when you're in a particular place? What is the place that calls up that person's memory for you?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tell us a story: "Wrap that up for me"

What is the most elaborate or most extravagant gift that you've ever bought for yourself?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My life on TV

Which TV show is the best reflection of the social world that you live in? Which show makes you say, "Yes, I know people just like that" or "Things like that happen in my own life"?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thoughts and feelings (5)

What is one thing that you tend to steer away from because you find it emotionally uncomfortable?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thoughts and feelings (4)

When your mind gets overloaded with too much information or stimulation, what do you do to regain your balance?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thoughts and feelings (3)

Do you keep a journal? Do you talk to a confidante? What is your way of dealing with your personal thoughts and worries that you don't want to air publicly?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thoughts and feelings (2)

In spare moments, when nothing in particular is going on, what do you think about?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thoughts and feelings (1)

What is one thing that you worry about more than most people do?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tell us a story: wishing in vain

What was something that you wished and hoped for, that turned out to be a disappointment when it finally arrived?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Peace plan

What would it take for you to feel fully at peace right now?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Allies (5)

What is the payoff for your friends and supporters? What do you do to show your appreciation? What benefit do they gain from sticking with you? 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Allies (4)

In a pinch, who's got your back?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Allies (3)

Who is someone you're sure in on your side, even though you've never met that person or directly interacted with them?  And who have you labeled as your enemy, even though you've never had any interactions with them? 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Allies (2)

How important is it to you that a friend remains loyal? Do you easily forgive friends for sometimes being on the wrong side of a conflict, or do you tend to get rid of friends who don't stick with you? 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Allies (1)

Think of the most recent time you were introduced to someone. In your first impression of that person, did you privately lean towards thinking of him or her as a (potential) ally, or as a (potential) rival?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tell us a story: out of character

In the United States, this Wednesday is Halloween, a day when children dress up as their favorite fictional characters. Tell us a story about a time when you enjoyed pretending to be someone other than yourself.  Who did you pretend to be?  And what were you able to do differently in your alternate persona?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sleeping in

How regular or irregular is your sleep schedule?  How much later do you sleep on weekends or on days when there is no strong reason to get up early? 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Out of the comfort zone (5)

What would become possible for you if all of your hesitations disappeared and you were free to try anything?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Out of the comfort zone (4)

Of all the people in your life, who most often gets you to try challenging new things? 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Out of the comfort zone (3)

Of all the risks you've taken and things you've dared to try, which played the most important role in getting you to where you are today? 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Out of the comfort zone (2)

What's one new thing you'd love to give a try, especially if you could somehow skip the awkward period of starting out as a complete beginner?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Out of the comfort zone (1)

What is something you keep doing, even though you're sort of tired of it, just because it's low-risk, easy, and comfortable?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tell us a story: getting it perfect

What was something that you had basically completed — but you still felt compelled to take it apart and redo your work to try to make it even better? Did it work out better on the second try?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The world around the corner

What is something close to home that you didn't discover until you traveled far away?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Old friends (5)

When you think of old friends you haven't seen for a long time, who comes to mind first?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Old friends (4)

Which old friend opened your eyes to new experiences and different ways of thinking?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Old friends (3)

Which of your friends wins the prize for introducing you to the largest number of your other friends?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Old friends (2)

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Old friends (1)

What is one recurring social event that you've done basically the same way for years with the same friend or the same group of friends? 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tell us a story: sounds too good to be true

Have you ever bought something that made hard-to-believe promises, and found that it lived up to its hype?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Little black dress

What color dominates your wardrobe? Has that always been your most worn color?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hard work (5)

Did you ever try to pass off someone else's hard work as your own? For example, did you ever order in an elaborate dinner and pretend that you cooked it yourself?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hard work (4)

What did your parents teach you about hard work?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hard work (3)

How likely are you to spend hours, or even days, fixing something around your house? Or, are you the person who quickly decides to call the professional repairman?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hard work (2)

When no one is looking — for example, when the boss is at lunch — how hard do you work?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hard work (1)

Some people spend long minutes hunting for the perfect parking space, just to save walking an extra 100 feet. What is one favorite "shortcut" of yours that sometimes takes more effort than it saves?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tell us a story: cinematic dream

Have you ever had a dream that seemed to tell a cogent, lengthy narrative, almost like a movie, in which you were the lead character?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Better luck next time

What was something you tried recently with disappointing results?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Your belongings (5)

What do your possessions say about you? Which of them say that you are smart and practical? Which say that you are fun and playful? Which say that you have a unique sense of style?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Your belongings (4)

What is something you own that you would have a hard time living without? What did you do before you had it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Your belongings (3)

Do you hesitate to throw things out? Are there things sitting around your home that you use less than once a month?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Your belongings (2)

If you had to pack up your life and leave in a hurry, grabbing only your most important possessions, what would you need to carry them? A knapsack? A wheelbarrow? A steamer trunk? A minivan? A cruise ship?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Your belongings (1)

What's something you use that was made for you by someone you know?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tell us a story: my beautiful laundrette

What is the most exotic or far-flung place where you've done laundry?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My idol

Who did something this week that earned your admiration?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Life together (5)

When you aren't feeling 100% — whether physically or emotionally — can you count on your partner to pick up on how you are feeling, and adapt accordingly?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Life together (4)

What is one routine thing that you and your partner enjoy doing together?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Life together (3)

How is your life together organized? Do you have specific chores for which you are each responsible, or do you just get around to things when they become an issue?  Are your two styles compatible in this regard?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Life together (2)

Does your home have adequate space for the both of you, or are you constantly tripping over one another? Is this a source of comedy, or conflict?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Life together (1)

This week's questions are about couples, and people in close relationships living together. If you aren't living with someone now, perhaps you can use this week's theme to reflect on past cohabitations, like college roommates, old romantic partners, or even a sibling who shared a room with you.

Are you a generous sharer of physical space, or does your partner/roommate have to beg for a shelf in the medicine cabinet?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tell us a story: animal antics

Have you ever had a pet that had an amazing trick it would perform on command?

Saturday, September 22, 2012


What is the area of your home that you always avoid tidying or cleaning?  Does this part of your home correlate with a neglected part of your inner life?  How might that be improved by a cleanup of the physical space?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Success (5)

No one attains success completely on their own. A singing star has a backup band, and a champion athlete has coaches and trainers.  Who would you count as the Most Valuable Player on your team, the person who has contributed the most or supported you the most on your path to success? 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Success (4)

Do you feel pressure to live up to a specific idea of success defined by your family, friends, or peer group? Does your idea of success line up with theirs, or do you have your own personal definition of what counts as successful?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Success (3)

What person (real or fictional) comes to mind, for you, as the ultimate picture of success? What specific accomplishment or attainment of theirs stands out for you as the key symbol of their success? To put it another way, what specific thing stands as the undeniable proof that they are indeed successful?

Now, would this same specific thing work as a measure of success for you?  Or would your own ideal success lead in a different direction and take a different physical form? 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Success (2)

Yesterday you identified one key obstacle or handicap that limits your success. Now, think about this question: Who else has had to face that same obstacle or handicap?  Think of people past and present, people you know and also people you've heard about indirectly, who've struggled with difficulties similar to the one you face. Are some of these people considered successful?  What were their strategies for dealing with this obstacle? 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Success (1)

Are you as successful as you want to be?  If not, what are the main handicaps, obstacles, and circumstances that keep you from reaching a greater level of success?  Of all of those things that hold you back, which is the most important one?  Which obstacle would you most like to remove? 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tell us a story: lost treasures

Have you ever lost something, driven yourself to distraction looking for it, only to find something else that completely captured your attention instead?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wisdom check

Are you wiser today than you were five years ago?  If you are, what's a recent example of something you did differently as a result of your greater wisdom?  If you are not any wiser, what could you do differently in order to gain wisdom from your new life experiences?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Your life story (5)

Now that you've thought a bit about your life as a story, what other people have stories that follow a similar trajectory?  Think of people you know, people you've heard about, and even fictional characters.  Whose story traces the closest parallel to your own story? 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Your life story (4)

What is the overall tone of your life story?  Is it humorous, for example, or serious? Is it gritty or heroic?  If you had to pick a movie genre, where would your story best fit: romance, action, mystery, or comedy?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Your life story (3)

Imagine that the chronology of your life is simplified and told in story format. How old are you when the main part of the story begins?  How much of your life could be quickly skipped over without losing anything essential from the narrative?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Your life story (2)

If you think of your life as a story — a reasonably short and coherent story that people might sit and listen to — which area of your life is central to the story line?  Is the story about your work, for example, or about the people you interact with?  Is the story about larger events or trends that you played a small part in?  Where would a storyteller look to find the most interest and drama?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Your life story (1)

Imagine telling a group of people the story of your life.  In your story, what is the central conflict that moves the action forward?  What key theme ties the story together?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tell us a story: namesake

Is there a story behind your given (first) name? Were you named for a relative? For someone famous? Someone your parents admired? If you don't have a true story about your name, tell us a fictional one about how you might have gotten it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Party time

If you decided you wanted to hold a big celebration, what are a few of the things that you could use as an excuse to celebrate?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Your living space (5)

How alive and energetic is your home?  Is it a place that sees lots of movement and activity, or is it a tired, confused, and cluttered space, where lively activity would seem out of place?  What part of your home feels the most active and energetic?  What part of your home feels the heaviest or the most cluttered? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Your living space (4)

How many different places have you called home in your adult life?  When was the last time you moved?  How permanent does your current home feel?  Do you expect to stay for the rest of your life, or do you expect to be moving somewhere else in the near future?  In general, what would suit you better — being permanently settled in one place, or moving around a lot?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Your living space (3)

Do you live in pleasant and positive surroundings?  Does your home feel comfortable and secure?  Do you feel safe going outside?  What are some of the things you like and things you need that are conveniently located close to home? 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Your living space (2)

Looking at purely practical considerations, does your home provide what you need?  Is it in the perfect location for you?  If not, what general area would be better, considering the locations of your job,  the people you know, and other places you like to visit?  Does your home have appropriate space to support the things you do?  Is it financially suitable for you, or does the cost of your home throw your finances out of balance? 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Your living space (1)

Every home has its own distinct personality. What is your home like?  How well does your home suit you?  Does your home line up with your personal style and values?  Does it support you in being who you want to be?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tell us a story: timely advice

Tell us about the time when you were in the right place to offer someone advice that kept them from making a serious mistake, or helped prevent a small problem from turning into a big problem.  What was the situation?  What advice did you offer?  And what might have happened if you hadn't been there to help?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Choice of chores

If you had a choice of three repair jobs, each using a different tool, which would you pick: patching something with duct tape, unsticking something with spray oil, or demolishing something with a hammer?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Things that can't be seen (5)

"Seeing is believing," the saying goes, but we also believe in many things that we've never seen, and  things that can be seen only indirectly.  What are a few of the things that play an important role in your life, even though you've never seen them? 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Things that can't be seen (4)

"Out of sight, out of mind" is a folk saying that tells us we rely on our eyes to keep track of things. It's easy to forget about something invisible, no matter how important it is. What are some everyday examples of visible reminders that help you remember the things you have to do? What do you do to make your important priorities more visible? 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Things that can't be seen (3)

If a friend loses weight, that's a healthy change that is easy to see.  If they stop smoking, that might be just as significant an improvement, but it doesn't show up in photographs.  What's an example of the latter kind of change, either in yourself or someone else — an improvement that makes a real difference, but can't necessarily be seen at a glance?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Things that can't be seen (2)

Sometimes don't need anyone to say "thank you"; you just want to make sure things work out well. What are some things that you do, quietly or even secretly, to help out your community, your employer, or the people around you?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Things that can't be seen (1)

Do you feel that your life has an underlying purpose?  If so, was your life's purpose already in place when you were born, or did it develop or evolve over a period of time? 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tell us a story: change of plans

Tell us about a time when you set out shopping with a clear idea of what you wanted to buy, but ended up with something quite different. What did you originally have in mind? What did you end up buying? And what happened that made you change your plans?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Good advice

This week, who gave you the most helpful and useful advice?  Were you intentionally looking for advice, or did they just happen to offer it?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Improving your skills (5)

Suppose a genie let you wish for just one skill that you don't have.  What is the one skill that would help the most in moving you towards your dreams? 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Improving your skills (4)

What are a few skills that, if you worked on them a bit, would help you in a very practical way in your everyday life?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Improving your skills (3)

Sometimes the key to developing a skill is knowing someone who has already mastered that skill—whether or not they take the role of teacher.  What is one of your skills that you can definitely link to a specific person in your life?  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Improving your skills (2)

What are some skills you've developed purely for the fun of it? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Improving your skills (1)

The demands of our daily lives prompt us to continually improve one skill or another, and at the same time our personal interests and ambitions also push in that direction.  What are some of the skills that you've improved in the last year or two?  

In most of those cases, did you consciously plan and practice to improve your skills (for example, signing up for a class) or did it happen naturally in the course of events (for example, handling a new responsibility at your job)?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tell us a story: away from home

What is the most unusual place where you've slept on a summer vacation? 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Written in pencil

What is something that you still think of as tentative and temporary, even though it's been around for a few years already and you have no realistic plans for changing or replacing it? 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Food (5)

What is one food that you steer clear of, not because it's unhealthy or bad-tasting, but because you associate it with unpleasant memories from your past?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Food (4)

When you have a little extra time and you're not in a hurry, does that change your eating habits?  Do you eat different things, or eat at different places, when time pressure isn't a factor? 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Food (3)

How much control do you have over what you eat?  Do you sometimes end up eating things that you don't particularly like, or that you know are unhealthy, because you have to work with a limited range of choices? 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Food (2)

If a camera recorded your most recent meals, what would the scene look like?  Do you typically eat by yourself, or with other people?  Are meals a time of conversation?  Do you combine eating with watching TV, checking e-mail, reading, or any other activity? 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Food (1)

When you look back at your childhood, which of your family's mealtime patterns or specific foods stands out as unusual, unhealthy, or dysfunctional, even if it didn't seem that way at the time?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tell us a story: road trip

What was one amazing place or memorable event that you visited as part of a group trip or outing?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pain in the neck

What specific health problem interferes most directly with your daily routine or interrupts your life most frequently?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Feeling stuck (5)

On the Happiness Project blog, Gretchen Rubin details a phenomenon called drift, which might be described as a slippery way of being stuck.  How many of these warning signs of drift apply to you?

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

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Feeling stuck (4)

Think of a few different times in your life when you had felt stuck and then managed to get unstuck.  In each of those cases, what ingredient made the critical difference that got you moving again?  Did you follow the same pattern every time you got yourself unstuck, or was it different every time? 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Feeling stuck (3)

What is one activity in your life that you feel kind of stuck participating in, even though you don't really enjoy it?  What keeps you from simply quitting?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Feeling stuck (2)

What is your typical response to being stuck?  Do you wait and hope for things to change?  Do you try harder and harder, hoping to break free?  Do you try lots of different things, hoping that you will chance upon something that works? 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Feeling stuck (1)

What part of your life seems to be stuck, unable to move forward?  Do you have a clear idea of what's holding you back, or is it hard to tell what has stopped your momentum?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tell us a story: dream guidance

Has a dream ever warned you to steer clear of possible danger?  Have you ever had a dream that showed you the solution to a problem?  Tell us about a time when you changed your plans or did something different based on what a dream seemed to be telling you.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


In your childhood, what was mealtime like?  Did family members sit down to eat together?  Was there enough time, or were hurried meals squeezed in between other activities? 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Open doors and iron bars

In your teenage years, which was a bigger part of your landscape: the opportunities and potential of your future, or the constraints and limitations of your circumstances?  Which occupied your thoughts more: figuring out your life direction, or getting past your immediate difficulties and obstacles? 

This week's theme is adolescence.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pivotal event

For some people, high school graduation is the biggest event to anchor memories of their teen years. Other people might pick a time when they moved from one city to another, started their first job, or began an important relationship.  What was the single most pivotal event in your adolescence?

This week's theme is adolescence.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Overtones and undertones

When you think about your adolescent years, what is the emotional tone of your memories?  For example, are they happy, nostalgic memories, or is painful or stressful for you today to think about that time in your life?

This week's theme is adolescence.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Your adolescent self

Think about who you were as an adolescent. What are the biggest changes in your identity and personality between then and now? 

This week's theme is adolescence.

Monday, July 30, 2012


When you think about your adolescent years and the world that you found yourself in, what are the biggest differences between that environment and the environment you live in today?  What words would you pick to describe the character or flavor of the world around you in your teenage years?

This week's theme is adolescence.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tell us a story: over too soon

Sometimes, things we share with other people — including, for example, clubs, TV shows, and regularly-scheduled community events — end sooner than we want them to, and our lives feel a little poorer without them.  What was one thing that you were particularly sorry to see come to an end?  Did you ever take personal action, for example, by stepping in as a volunteer, to keep something going longer? 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Try and try again

What is something where you tried and failed a few times before you finally got a good result?  Did you finally succeed by applying the lessons from your earlier attempts, or was it simply luck that brought you to a successful outcome? 

Friday, July 27, 2012

One step at a time

Could you walk from New York to Los Angeles?  It's simply too far to walk.  But if you spread that effort over ten years, you'd only have to put in one mile a day to walk the equivalent distance.  What are a few impossible things you might be able to accomplish if you made a small effort every day for ten years?

This week's theme is gradual change.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Evolution of taste

As with other things, your tastes and preferences can change gradually over a long period of time. What is one style, or food, or fashion that you used to be devoted to but now have completely lost interest in?  Or is there something that's taken the opposite trajectory, something that has gradually grown on you over time?

This week's theme is gradual change.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quiet entrance

Not everything shows up with a bang and a flourish. What is one thing that slipped onto the stage almost unnoticed and gradually become more important and prominent in your life?

This week's theme is gradual change.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Faded away

What are some things that slowly disappeared from their previously important place in your life, even though you never made a conscious decision to leave them behind?

This week's theme is gradual change.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gradual change

Sometimes change occurs gradually and over such a long period of time that you don't notice it until you stop to think about it.   What is something in your life that has changed a great deal, but very slowly?

This week's theme is gradual change.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tell us a story: I can't believe they did that

What was one sudden turn of events that left you feeling disillusioned about someone you had respected?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Better late than never

What new skill or useful fact did you learn this week — something you wish you had known years ago?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Evolving priorities

What are some things that you treat much less seriously than you used to? What are some things that you take more seriously now than ever before?

This week's theme is values.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Your parents' priorities

What is one thing that your father insisted that you always take seriously?
What is one thing that your mother insisted that you always take seriously?

This week's theme is values.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Out of place

In your life right now, what is one thing — something you do, or something you own — that you'll admit doesn't fit very well with your values?

This week's theme is values.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Walking the talk

Some people speak of specific values but don't follow those same values in their own behavior.  Among the people you know, who struggles with a mismatch between their words and their actions?  In your own life, what is one thing you believe in, even though you sometimes find it a challenge to put it into action?

This week's theme is values.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Valuing something means treating it as important. The way we measure our values is by seeing what we actually do when two different things are in conflict and we have to choose one or the other.

What are some of the things that you make sure to get done even when you "don't have time for anything"?  

This week's theme is values.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tell us a story: breaking the pattern

Tell us about a time when you deliberately defied a tradition or broke an established pattern in order to do something different.  What was the expected action, and what did you do instead?  What prompted you to want to change things?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A little bit of help

What happened this week that you could count as a miracle, or a well-timed lucky break, or a surprise bit of help from an unexpected source?

Friday, July 13, 2012

That big thing right there

For all the attention we pay to shark attacks, for example, they are actually rare events that occupy a very small part of our lives.  What are some things in your life with the opposite profile — things that take up a lot of our time or occupy a lot of space, though we rarely talk about them or even pay attention to them?

This week's theme is your forgotten side.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Stale secrets

Many years ago, your family, or perhaps a close friend, tried to keep something hushed up because it was scandalous or sensitive at the time.  Now, years later, it's hard to remember why it ever seemed important, and no one even thinks about it anymore.  What was this private embarrassment that faded into obscurity? 

This week's theme is your forgotten side.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Forgotten and remembered

What event from your life hadn't crossed your mind for many years, until someone or something reminded you of it?

This week's theme is your forgotten side.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another reason it's good to have friends

Sometime it takes a friend to bring out aspects of yourself that would otherwise remain forgotten.  Who are the people who have a knack for awakening the better and more interesting side of your personality?  Who is someone no longer in your life, someone you're sorry is gone because you miss who you were with that person around?

This week's theme is your forgotten side.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Your forgotten side

We all have hidden potential — invisible aspects of ourselves that lie dormant. Your forgotten capabilities can suddenly blossom when you come to a place or a relationship where they are made welcome.  What examples can you think of in your own life?  Do you know a language that no one around you speaks?  Is there a game you would want to play if only you had friends who were interested? 

This week's theme is your forgotten side.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tell us a story: a little sport

What is the earliest sports game or athletic competition that you can remember participating in?  How old were you?  Was it an informal, casual game, or a serious competition with official scorekeepers? 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day of sevens

Where were you five years ago, on 7/7/07?  What was going on in your life on and around that date?  When you look back at that time, what is one thing that seemed important then and seems less important now? 

Friday, July 6, 2012

2012 gave us this

When something new is emerging, it's hard to tell whether it will quickly vanish or whether it will grow into a huge, long-lasting phenomenon.  What is something new this year that you guess will be forgotten by next year?  And what is one new thing that you predict will be still around and even bigger next year? 

This week's theme is midyear.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Taking stock

How are your plans for the year shaping up?  Do the goals that you set at the beginning of the year still make sense?  Which goals have you already changed?  Which are starting to look iffy?  And which of your goals for the year are still on track?

This week's theme is midyear.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A door opened

What unexpected opportunity turned up in the first half of this year?  What might you do in the second half of the year to follow up on that opportunity?

This week's theme is midyear.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The year that changed everything

The year 2012 had a bit of advance buzz as a year to expect large-scale changes.  In your personal life, has 2012 turned out to be a year of change?  What large or small changes have affected your life in the first half of this year?

This week's theme is midyear.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Midyear 2012

With the year half over, it's a good time to take a look and see how 2012 is shaping up. 

What is this year's recurring theme? What makes 2012 different from other years? In particular, how is it different from 2011 for you? Could you sum up, in eight words or less, this year's unique flavor?

This week's theme is midyear.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tell us a story: win some, lose some

What was the day when you had a major victory or a big step forward, and a significant setback or defeat on the same day? What happened? Were the two events related, or was it purely a coincidence that they fell at the same time? 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Worth getting up early

Setting out on a long trip is one reason to wake up unusually early.  And of course emergencies can interrupt your sleep at any point.  What else sometimes prompts you to set the alarm clock for a much earlier hour than usual?

Friday, June 29, 2012

An even exchange

Did you ever swap books with a friend, so each of you ended up with a new book to read?  What is something that you traded away for a similar but more useful item? 

This week's theme is trading in.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

No one wears these anymore

What was the ill-suited gift that you quickly exchanged for something better?

This week's theme is trading in.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vacuum cleaner emeritus

What thing is still sitting around your home, no longer used, even though you already bought a better model to replace it?

This week's theme is trading in.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Your predecessor

Sometimes you start a job or a volunteer role as a replacement for a specific person.  Have you ever been in a situation where you worried about measuring up to the high standards set by the person you replaced?  Or have you had the opposite — a predecessor so incompetent that your every accomplishment looks golden by comparison?

This week's theme is trading in.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Trading in

When you trade in your car, your new car fits into the same space in your life as your old car — but hopefully in a better way.  Or when you switch from one TV show to another, you're still watching the same amount of television, but hopefully you're better entertained. 

What's something new in your life that takes up the same space as something you got rid of?  What happened that prompted you to switch, to trade in the old thing for something new? 

This week's theme is trading in.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tell us a story: caught in a storm

Where were you when a soaking rainstorm caught you by surprise?  Where did you take shelter?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Faking it

When do you have to pretend to be someone or something that you aren't?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Best day ever!

What was the single happiest time in your life?

This week's theme is happy times.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The sweet spot

Generally speaking, how do you have your best fun: by yourself, with one or two other people, or with a big group of people?

This week's theme is happy times.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Something to look forward to

What sure-to-be-splendid occasion is coming up for you in the near future?

This week's theme is happy times.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Season of fun

The words "summer" and "fun" go together, at least in the world of pop songs.  Do you agree that summer is the season of fun, or would you name another season as your fun time of year?

This week's theme is happy times.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy times

Some days are happier than others.  In your life, what factor has the biggest effect on whether a day is a happy one or not? 

This week's theme is happy times.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tell us a story: I changed my mind

What was one time when you did your research, weighed pros and cons, and made a careful and logical decision — and then, when the time came, you went ahead and did something else anyway?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Not this again!"

What is one situation that catches you unprepared almost every time?  Is there something you can do now that might put you in a better position for next time it comes up?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Brand new memories

What is something new, from the last few weeks, that you will probably remember for the rest of your life?

This week's theme is committed to memory.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Try to remember

Different people have different memory skills. What memory category is a weak spot of yours, one that requires you to make an extra effort to remember things?

This week's theme is committed to memory.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Would you like fries with that?"

What were you required to memorize in one of your first jobs? 

This week's theme is committed to memory.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rhyme and rhythm

What song or poem did you happen to learn many years ago and still remember word for word?

This week's theme is committed to memory.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Committed to memory

Thinking about your childhood years, what is one trivial fact with no relevance to today's world that has nonetheless has been safely stored in your memory all this time? 

This week's theme is committed to memory.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tell us a story: generous act

Tell us about a time you gave something away, not because you didn't want it anymore, but because you knew the person you gave it to needed it more or would make better use of it.  What was the item?  And what happened to inspire your act of generosity?

Saturday, June 9, 2012


What is one visible, physical sign of your success?  What possession or emblem shows, for anyone who knows the story behind it, that you triumphed at something or that you reached a certain threshold of success? 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Piece of cake

Is your job too easy, too difficult, or just about right?  If an easier job and a harder job were offered to you (at the same salary), what would you choose? 

What task is fun and easy for you, even though many other people would find it challenging or unpleasant? 

This week's theme is hard at work.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Working your body

Some retail workers get tired feet, some warehouse workers get sore arms, and some office workers get dry, bleary eyes from a long day on the job.  When you have a hard day at work, what part of your body is the first to feel it?

This week's theme is hard at work.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Social skills at work

Which job or work assignment of yours posed the greatest challenge for your social and interpersonal skills?

Do you tend to enjoy jobs that include a lot of direct interaction with people?  Or do you find it tiring to talk to people all day? 

Have you worked in a place where the atmosphere was poisoned by destructive feuds within the company? If so, what skills and tactics helped you survive in that environment?

This week's theme is hard at work.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Thinking hard

Which job or work assignment of yours was the most mentally challenging? 

Have you had a job where simple errors could have serious or long-lasting consequences?  If so, how easy or difficult was it for you to maintain the level of vigilance that the job required? 

Did any job require you to memorize hundreds or thousands of facts and details?  If so, were your memory skills up to the challenge?

This week's theme is hard at work.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hard at work

Through your whole working life, what job or work assignment was the most physically challenging?

At your current or latest job, which physical traits (if any) are important: strong muscles, physical endurance, quick reaction, or careful balance?

Have any of your jobs involved extreme heat, power equipment, toxic substances or other physical dangers?

This week's theme is hard at work.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tell us a story: the art of concealment

Tell us about a time when you had to try to hide something large or obvious from someone who wasn't supposed to know about it (such as, for example, a surprise gift).  What was it that you needed to hide?  What did you do to try to disguise it or distract attention away from it?  Were your efforts successful?

Saturday, June 2, 2012


What makes you uncomfortable?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Balance of love (part 2)

There are some things you love but you just can't have, at least not right now.  They're out of your budget, out of reach, impractical, impossible.  And there are things that you love that are in your life right now — in your community, among your possessions, part of your routine.  If you could put those two categories on an imaginary love scale, which side would tip the balance: the stuff that's "already here," or the stuff that's "out there"?

This week's theme is the things you love.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Balance of love (part 1)

Think of all the things in your life. There are things that you love, things that move your heart in some way.  There are also some things that you dislike, and some things that are just there.  Within this whole picture, how much space is occupied by love? What proportion of your time, space, and attention is taken up with things that you love?

This week's theme is the things you love.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Public and private

Some enthusiasms are very public, as demonstrated by a cheering crowd at a sports event. Other enthusiasms might be fairly private, such as keeping up with a favorite novelist. In your life, which of these patterns is more common?  And which do you feel more attached to: the things that bond you to a crowd of people, or your own personal obsessions?

This week's theme is the things you love.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How to find a treasure

Thinking of all the things you love, did you mostly come across them accidentally and unexpectedly, or did you actively go searching for them?

This week's theme is the things you love.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The things you love

Think of all the things you love, the things that make your life seem rich, the things that bring you pleasure, the things that bring joy to your heart, the things that are unique, special, and beautiful.  What kinds of things came to mind first: material possessions, sensory experiences, events that you share with people, or some other category of things?

This week's theme is the things you love.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tell us a story: this year's entry

What is something special that you do once a year — something that takes more than a little planning and preparation?

How many years have you been doing this annual tradition?  And how did you get started on it?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lost my groove

What is something that still bothers you, because you think you should have been able to do it better than you did?

Friday, May 25, 2012

A second thought

According to psychologists, people typically think about a problem only long enough to think of one possible solution. We then stop thinking, even if that first solution turns out to be unworkable.  What is one continuing problem of yours that deserves more than one thought?  And what are a few things you could do to get some fresh ideas about that problem?

This week's theme is problems and solutions.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


It's a beautiful thing when the same action can solve two separate problems at the same time.  Is there an example from your own life where a solution took care of two problems at once?

Think of two problems you have right now.  If there were a solution that addressed both problems (however fanciful or unlikely it might be), what would that solution look like?

This week's theme is problems and solutions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When people are problems

Who is your biggest problem-maker?  Who, more than anyone else, shows up in your life with problems for you to handle? 

And who do you turn to when you have problems of your own?  Who sees you primarily as a source of problems?  

This week's theme is problems and solutions.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Newer and better problems

Life never runs out of problems for us, but we can say we're making progress if we've graduated from a basic level of problems to more interesting problems.  For example, an aspiring photographer once struggled to find the money to buy a camera; years later, she struggles to find fresh angles in her routine photography assignments.  Which current problem of yours best demonstrates how much progress you've made?

This week's theme is problems and solutions.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Problems and solutions

When a problem shows up in your life, is your first response more likely to be active (for example, doing something to try to try to resolve the problem) or passive (for example, waiting to see if it goes away by itself)?

When dealing with problems, is your focus more inward (observing the details of the problem to try to understand it better) or more outward (researching all the tools and techniques that other people have used to solve similar problems)?

This week's theme is problems and solutions.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tell us a story: fired

Tell us about a time you were fired from a job, cut from a sports team, kicked out of a group, or removed from a position of responsibility. Did it come as a surprise, or did you know it was coming?  What was your immediate reaction? How did you respond?  How did things work out for you in the long run? 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A proud moment

This week, what made you feel proud?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Improving on nature

What is your natural weak spot?  What personal shortcoming or handicap of yours requires a little artificial help?

This week's theme is your natural self.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Looking all the way back

What comes naturally and effortlessly to you now, but only because you spent years learning, practicing, and repeating it?  Though this skill is now part of who you are, can you remember what it was like, years ago, being an awkward beginner at it?

This week's theme is your natural self.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It runs in the family

What is it that shapes your natural self? One important factor is the genes you inherited from your parents and ancestors. What are some obvious physical traits that you have in common with one or both parents? And what are some not-quite-so-obvious personality traits, habits, or tendencies that might also be the result of your genes?

This week's theme is your natural self.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

If the shoe doesn't fit

It's risky to force yourself to carry on in shoes that don't fit. You can hurt your feet, your knees, even your back.  What thing in your life feels almost like an ill-fitting shoe?  What are the goals or circumstances that force you to twist yourself into unnatural and uncomfortable shapes?

This week's theme is your natural self.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Your natural self

When or where do you find yourself easily and naturally fitting into the flow of things?  What are the times and places where simply being yourself seems to work out well?

This week's theme is your natural self.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tell us a story: an accidental lesson

What is one lesson your mother taught you, without necessarily meaning to? 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Alternative fairy tales

If you were the author of the fairy tale, what would you do about the wolf at the door?

Friday, May 11, 2012

A dream like no other

What is one dream that sticks in your memory because it's so distinctive and unusual?  Which dream of yours stands out as different from all your other dreams?

This week's theme is dreams.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Good dream karma

Do you sometimes dream of helping out someone else?  Do you dream of rescuing, protecting, advising, teaching, encouraging, or assisting other people? 

What kinds of people do you help in your dreams, and what kinds of problems do those people face?  Do you see any similarities to the problems you yourself face in your waking life?

This week's theme is dreams.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dream allies

Who shows up in your dreams as your ally, friend, supporter, or rescuer?  Do your dayworld friends show up in your dreams, or do you have dream allies who don't play any role in your waking life? 

What's an example of a recent dream in which you relied on someone else's help or guidance?  

This week's theme is dreams.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What dreams are made of

Dreams sometimes seem to improvise with the details of our current lives.  What is one relatively new item in your daily life that has already made an appearance in your dreams?

This week's theme is dreams.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Do you keep a dream journal?  When you wake up, how often do you remember at least part of a dream?

What is one theme or story line that seems to come up frequently in your dreams?

This week's theme is dreams.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tell us a story: after hours

Tell us about a time when you were allowed to stick around after a place closed its doors to the public.  What special behind-the-scenes, after-hours activities did you have a chance to see or participate in?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Things that make life better

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Calling it done

What is one thing you're almost ready to cross off your to-do list and admit you're never going to do it?

This week's theme is unfinished business.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Who is it for?

Are you good at getting your own stuff done, but not so good at completing things that you've promised to other people?  Or are you the opposite, the person who jumps up to take care of everyone's requests, but who never finds the time for your own personal stuff?

This week's theme is unfinished business.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Great idea!

What is your great idea that would make things better — an idea that you plan to take action on someday?

This week's theme is unfinished business.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grudges and complaints

Who do you remain tied to because of negative feelings about things that happened in the past?  Are there people who aren't a part of your life anymore, except for the moments when you think or say negative things about them? 

This week's theme is unfinished business.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Unfinished business

What remains unfinished in your life?  What are the big projects that you have promised to do but haven't yet started?  What lifelong ambitions are still unfulfilled?

Do you keep a "bucket list," a list of things you intend to do before you die?  If so, how many things are on the list?

This week's theme is unfinished business.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tell us a story: helping a stranger

Tell us about a time when you helped out a stranger, not for any reward but purely as an act of kindness — just because you happened to be there and it was clear that they needed help.  Where were you?  What happened?  What did you do to help?  How much of your time did it take?  Did your efforts make a difference?  What might have happened if you hadn't stepped in to help?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

How to sleep better

What's the best advice you could give someone who told you they were trying to have better-quality sleep? 

Of the things that you would advise the person to try, are they all things that you do yourself?

Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm wearing it ironically

What are some things that you wear or do with self-conscious irony, because you enjoy them even though they seem to clash with your stylistic identity?  (Or is irony not your style?)

This week's theme is your personal style.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Likes and dislikes

When you list your likes and dislikes, do they tend to be fairly conventional, or do you tend to have eclectic and idiosyncratic tastes?  Are you generally open to trying anything, or are you particular and picky about stylistic details?  How easy or difficult is it for people to buy gifts for you? 

This week's theme is your personal style.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Out of style

What is one thing that you're sorry is out of fashion, because you think it might be fun to wear?

This week's theme is your personal style.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It fits, but it doesn't fit *me*

What was one piece of clothing that didn't work out for you, because it simply didn't fit your style?

This week's theme is your personal style.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Your personal style

Think about your personal style, your own distinctive way of doing things.  What are the common threads that tie your style together?  How would you sum up your personal style in four words or less?

This week's theme is your personal style.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tell us a story: expanding your style

We could all come up with plenty of stories of people who cramp our style, people who arbitrarily limit our self-expression. But today, tell us a story of someone who did the opposite. Who helped you expand your style? Who helped you find ways to be more yourself than ever before? 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Practicing and getting better

What new skill or new attitude did you practice this week?

Friday, April 20, 2012

A better place

Some environments tend to support your strength of character, and other environments tend to undermine your best intentions and lead you astray. What is one place in your life where it seems to be easier for you to be a better person?

This week's theme is character strengths and virtues.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Imagine you are going to a costume party dressed as your favorite villain, or perhaps as your own evil alter ego. What is your costume character's principal vice, the character trait that offers the sharpest contrast to your everyday virtuous self?

This week's theme is character strengths and virtues.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

If you want to be my friend

Which character strength do you consider most important for your friends to have? What character flaw do you find hardest to put up with?

This week's theme is character strengths and virtues.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


What person or experience in your childhood helped teach you the value of patience?

This week's theme is character strengths and virtues.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Character strengths and virtues

Think of character strengths, such as loyalty, integrity, perseverance, discipline, resilience, boldness, creativity, teamwork, courage, and responsibility.

If you had to pick one, which of these is your strongest trait? And which is your weakest area, the one you would most like to improve?

This week's theme is character strengths and virtues.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tell us a story: a great find

Tell us a story about an unexpected shopping triumph. Where were you when you stumbled across something rare and special, or got something you needed or wanted at a laughably low price?

Saturday, April 14, 2012


What is something unique that you did or made in someone else's honor? Was it their birthday or some other special occasion?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Secret cleaning agent

What are the cleaning experiences that you've never told anyone about? Are there things that you clean in secret, when no one else is looking? Or do you have a cleaning secret, your own clever technique that makes cleaning up easier?

This week's theme is dirty and clean.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Now I feel dirty

Some things just feel dirty, even when they're not actually dirty or infectious. Is there something that makes you feel the need for hand washing (or some other form of cleaning), even though you'll admit it's not logically necessary?

This week's theme is dirty and clean.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mt. Washmore

The ancient hero Hercules proved his strength by singlehandedly cleaning up some notoriously filthy stables. What is your claim to fame in the annals of cleaning? What monumental cleaning task did you take part in? What impossible stain did you expunge? What epic mess did you clean up?

This week's theme is dirty and clean.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Work style

Which would suit you better: working in a place where everything is perfectly clean and tidy, or working in a place where making a mess is accepted or even part of the job?

This week's theme is dirty and clean.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dirty and clean

What the dirtiest or messiest room in your home right now? And what's the cleanest or tidiest room?

This week's theme is dirty and clean.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tell us a story: planting a seed

Tell us a story about a time long ago when you helped plant something, such as a vegetable crop, a tree, or flowers. Who were you with? What did you plant? And were you around later to watch it grow?

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Suppose for one whole day a magic spell made everyone take your advice and suggestions seriously. Who would you make a point of talking to? And what advice would you give them?

Friday, April 6, 2012

"You can't frustrate me — I quit!!"

Some people complain. Some people give up and go away. Some people look for someone to blame. Some people become bitter or irritable or inflexible. What is your typical, characteristic response to a frustrating situation?

This week's theme is frustrations.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Obstacle course

We always prefer to avoid frustration — or do we? There are many puzzles, games, and sports challenges that are deliberately packed full of obstacles, and we enjoy them all the more. What are some "frustrating" forms of recreation that you enjoy? And what's the difference that makes some experiences aggravations and others entertainment?

This week's theme is frustrations.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"I don't know how you can stand it"

What is one thing other people find enormously frustrating that you can tolerate with no problem? Do you sometimes do this particular thing as a favor for other people, in order to spare them frustration?

This week's theme is frustrations.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 molasses

Was there a period of your life that had a slow, maddening progress, a time that you were just counting the days until it was over? What was impeding you, and how did it end?

This week's theme is frustrations.

Monday, April 2, 2012


What are some otherwise worthwhile things that you avoid because of the likelihood of running into difficulties and frustrations?

This week's theme is frustrations.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tell us a story: ironic timing

What was something that you finally gave away or threw away, and then shortly afterward unexpectedly found a need for it and wished you had kept it?

Saturday, March 31, 2012


Where do you go when you need inspiration, fresh ideas, and renewed energy?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Points of you

Even with all of the people you know, not one of them has a complete picture of you and knows your whole story. If someone had to learn about you without actually meeting you, how many different people would they need to talk to to get a reasonably complete and well-rounded idea of who you are?

This week's theme is cast of characters.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Opposite poles

In the continuing drama of your daily life, what is the largest conflict that you're not directly involved in? And which two people best represent the two opposing sides in that main conflict?

This week's theme is cast of characters.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Empty chairs

Thinking of the overall cast of characters who play a role in your life, what qualities and attributes are weak or missing across that set of people? What are some roles in your life that have gone unfilled?

This week's theme is cast of characters.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Who are your social connectors — the people who, directly or indirectly, have introduced you to the largest number of your friends?

This week's theme is cast of characters.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cast of characters

All the world's a stage, and your life is an ongoing drama. Thinking of your large cast of characters, which of them set into motion most of the dramatic events in your daily life?

This week's theme is cast of characters.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tell us a story: a hard nut to crack

What was one puzzle or problem that looked like a simple one to solve, but turned out to be much more difficult and complicated once you got started on it?

Saturday, March 24, 2012


This week, spring arrived in the northern hemisphere. What is one thing you look forward to doing every spring?

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's a drag

If you had to pick just one thing, what is the main thing that slows you down?

This week's theme is fast and slow.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Glaciers move forward slowly, but with unstoppable force. What things in your life are making glacier-style progress, slowly and steadily improving?

This week's theme is fast and slow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Always in a hurry

What things in your life are almost always rushed? What are the things that you have to do at an uncomfortably fast pace?

When you have a chance to slow things down a little, what difference do you see? What benefits do you get from a slightly slower pace?

This week's theme is fast and slow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Making quick work of it

There are different ways of being fast. It takes different skills to read quickly, play guitar solos, run foot races, mow the lawn quickly, react quickly to an emergency, and organize a big pile of papers quickly. What kind of fast work is your specialty? What kinds of things can you do faster than most people?

This week's theme is fast and slow.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fast and slow

In music, you can ruin the beauty of a piece just by playing it too slow or too fast. The same principle applies in ordinary life: our day suffers when we try to move ahead at the wrong tempo. How does the pace of your life feel right now: is it about right, too fast, or too slow?

This week's theme is fast and slow.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tell us a story: on the early side

When did you make a mistake about the starting time of an event and arrive far too early?

Or when did you overdo it in showing up early to beat the crowd, when it turned out there really was no crowd to beat?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Free as a bird

If you were given total freedom, would you trust yourself to behave responsibly?

Friday, March 16, 2012


Do you sometimes nap during the day, when circumstances allow?

This week's theme is sleep.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sleep habits

How consistent is your sleep schedule? Do you go to bed and get up at regular times every day, or does your sleep vary?

How much later do you sleep on days when you don't have work or other commitments to push you out of bed?

This week's theme is sleep.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waking up

Do you wake up naturally, or do you rely on an alarm clock to wake you? If you use an alarm clock, on what fraction of your mornings do you wake up anyway, before the clock sounds?

This week's theme is sleep.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


What are the times and places where you tend to feel sleepy or even risk falling asleep, even though you need to stay awake?

This week's theme is sleep.

Monday, March 12, 2012


What are the things that make you lose sleep?

This week's theme is sleep.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tell us a story: lights in the sky

Fireworks, auroras, and lightning are just a few examples of things that sometimes brighten the night. Where were you when you saw a beautiful, memorable, or dramatic display of lights in the sky?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

All talk

What is one thing you've talked about doing for years, but still haven't gotten started on?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Onstage and backstage

In your public face, the self you present to the world, what important parts of your identity get left out? What are some things about you that might come as surprises for people who get to know you better?

This week's theme is the public realm.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Inside and outside

Does the inside of your home match what people would expect from looking at the outside? What might surprise someone who stepped into your home for the first time?

This week's theme is the public realm.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Moment of fame

When were you in the newspaper, on the radio, visible on TV, or up on stage? What was your moment in the public eye?

This week's theme is the public realm.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Speaking in public

Some people enjoy speaking to large groups of people, and some people list it among their worst fears. What about you? What is the largest group that you've stood in front of and spoken to? And is it something you look forward to, or something you try to avoid?

This week's theme is the public realm.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The public realm

How much of your life is public and how much is private? Do you draw a clear line between your public and private life?

What are some things you do, or did in the past, that put you in an official role representing a business or organization?

This week's theme is the public realm.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tell us a story: too funny

What was one time when you laughed uncontrollably? Who were you with? Was it a very funny joke that set you off, or was it the unexplainable absurdity of that particular moment?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Much to my surprise

Urban legends, misunderstandings, tall tales, advertisements, and deliberate deceptions — there are many different kinds of untrue statements. What is something that people told you many times and that you believed for years, until you finally found out that it wasn't true at all?

Friday, March 2, 2012

An extra day

Leap Day is an "extra" day added to the end of February. Did you do anything special with your extra day — or did it somehow fill up before you got your hands on it?

If you had a truly extra day, free to use however you chose, what's something you might do with it?

This week's theme is Leap Day.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Next Leap Day

The next Leap Day comes on February 29, 2016. Where do you expect to be four years from now? What changes are likely to come about in your life and in the world in the next four years?

This week's theme is Leap Day.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Last Leap Day

The last time Leap Day rolled around was on February 29, 2008. Where were you on that date? What were the main concerns on your mind four years ago? And what has changed in your life since then?

This week's theme is Leap Day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In an inconspicuous corner

Why didn't the calendar makers put Leap Day on December 32? Perhaps they decided February is the least disruptive place to add in an extra day. What is something else in your world that's sometimes there, sometimes not there, but doesn't draw much attention to itself when it changes?

This week's theme is Leap Day.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Keeping things in sync

Every four years (with a few exceptions) our calendar has to make an adjustment to stay in sync with the sun. Specifically, an extra day — Leap Day — is inserted as February 29. What is one thing in your life that needs a little adjustment from time to time so that everything stays lined up appropriately?

This week's theme is Leap Day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tell us a story: way out in left field

Is there one period in your life that doesn't quite fit into your life story — perhaps an experience that doesn't connect meaningfully to any of your other experiences? What is something that happened to you that almost seems like it belongs in someone else's life story?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eternal mystery

What is your one riddle or mystery that always returns, that never seems to get a definitive and final answer?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Free flowing

Water is a metaphor for things that flow together without clear borders, and for things that constantly change and defy definitions and categories. What part of your life would be better if it were more free-flowing, more like water?

This week's theme is water.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In your glass

How much plain water do you drink each day? Is water your main beverage, or do you have another favorite that you drink more often than water?

This week's theme is water.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ebb and flow

Where does your local tap water come from? Where does your stormwater runoff drain to?

If you drink bottled water, where does it come from?

This week's theme is water.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

All wet

Where were you when you got a whole lot wetter than you had planned on?

This week's theme is water.

Monday, February 20, 2012


What stream, river, lake, or ocean is closest to your home? Do you get a chance to see or pass by any bodies of water during your normal daily routine?

This week's theme is water.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tell us a story: spicy

Tell us a story about food that was much spicier than you expected, or about some other form of experience that turned out to be much more intense than you planned on. Where were you? What happened? Did you ultimately think of it as a good thing, or was the experience one that you wish you could had avoided?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A seasonal tradition

What's something that you do only at this time of year?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Enjoy in moderation

What are five favorite foods that you would have a hard time giving up, even if you admit that they are slightly unhealthy?

This week's theme is Top Five.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

With a little help from my friends

What five people — friends, family, acquaintances, or strangers — recently provided help when you needed it, without asking for anything in return?

This week's theme is Top Five.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Idle thoughts

What are five things that you often find yourself daydreaming about?

This week's theme is Top Five.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fun day out

What are five things you might do for fun while out with a friend?

This week's theme is Top Five.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Top Five

What are five places in the world that you would love to have a chance to visit?

This week's theme is Top Five.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tell us a story: epic

Running a marathon, climbing a mountain, or reading the entire works of Shakespeare: these are big accomplishments that relatively few people can boast of. What is something you've done, or something that you were a part of, that sounds impressive just from the sheer size and scope of it?

Saturday, February 11, 2012


What is one example of a situation where patience definitely paid off for you?

Friday, February 10, 2012

In your corner

Thinking of four areas of your life — home, work, relationships, and recreation — which of them is most in line with your good health and well-being? And which area is most at odds with your health and well-being?

This week's theme is health.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Health talk

Do you talk openly with your family and friends about your health issues, or is it a subject that you prefer to keep private as much as possible?

This week's theme is health.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The new generation of health

Comparing your overall health to your parents' health when they were at your current age, are you generally in better health, worse health, or about the same level of health as they were?

This week's theme is health.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Health challenges

What is your most common health problem, the one that seemingly everyone faces? And what is your uncommon health problem, the one that you feel all alone with?

This week's theme is health.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Your health

What are you doing (or specifically planning to do) this year to improve your health?

This week's theme is health.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tell us a story: Once upon a time

Sometimes real-life events seem so unlikely, implausible, and larger-than-life that it sounds almost like fiction when you tell the story. What's a story from your life that might work as a piece of fiction?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Larger and Smaller

As your needs change and styles evolve, what is one thing (besides clothing) that you've gotten in progressively larger sizes over the years?

What is one thing (besides clothing) that you've gotten in progressively smaller sizes?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Becoming your parents

As the years pass, are you getting to be more like your parents, or are you diverging more and more from their personality and style?

This week's theme is your parents.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Good parenting

Did your parents do a good job in raising you? What aspects of parenting did they do particularly well?

This week's theme is your parents.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Living up

Did you parents have specific hopes and expectations for you? To what extent did you feel pressure to live up to their expectations? In what period of your life did you feel most worried about meeting (or failing to meet) their expectations?

This week's theme is your parents.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Family prologue

Did your parents grow up in the same community and in similar circumstances, or did they come from different places? How did your parents first meet each other?

This week's theme is your parents.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Your parents

Which parent's personality and interests are more like your own: your father or your mother?

This week's theme is your parents.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tell us a story: conceding

Tell us about a time when you decided that something wasn't worth fighting for and simply conceded. What was the contest or dispute about? And what led you to step away from the conflict?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pushing against the current

What recent experience made you feel as though you were working against the natural flow of things?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wind in your sails

An anonymous well-wisher gave student wizard Harry Potter a top-of-the-line flying broomstick so he could compete better in the sport of Quiddich. What helpful gifts or favors (anonymous or not) have you received from people who supported what you were trying to do and who wanted to see you succeed?

This week's theme is built-in advantages.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Born this way

What special advantages — ones that most other people can't claim — were already in place for you by the time you were born? Were you born with favorable genes that gave you an edge later in life? Were you born into a rich or well-connected family, or into a community with exceptional resources and opportunities?

This week's theme is built-in advantages.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Being in the right place

What opportunities came to you just because of where you lived, or from just happening to be in the right place when something was happening?

This week's theme is built-in advantages.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Your personalized lesson plan

Your childhood gave you opportunities to see, do, and learn many things — including some rare things that most people didn't get the chance to do. What were some of those special opportunities from your childhood? And how did they help give you a head start for things that you would do later, in your adult life?

This week's theme is built-in advantages.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Built-in advantages

Is your name early in the alphabet? Are you taller than average? Do you happen to live close to where important things happen? What are some of the competitive advantages that life handed you without any effort on your part?

This week's theme is built-in advantages.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tell us a story: overtime

Tell us a story about a party or event where you stayed much longer than you'd planned. Where were you, and what happened that kept you there later?

Saturday, January 21, 2012


If you could take the Undo button out of the computer and into everyday life, where would it be most handy? Where could you make good use of the ability to roll back your last action and do it over?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Take your places

If you had to make an instant choice, where would you stand: Leader, Follower, or Getting Out of the Way?

This week's theme is In Five Seconds or Less.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A fun outing

Without stopping to think, which would you pick: A night at the opera, or a day at the races?

This week's theme is In Five Seconds or Less.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Without stopping to think, which would you pick: Long hair, or short hair?

This week's theme is In Five Seconds or Less.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A beautiful setting

Without stopping to think, which would you pick: A forest path, or a flower garden?

This week's theme is In Five Seconds or Less.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Without stopping to think

Answer this week's questions without stopping to think — in five seconds or less.

Which of these handheld tools seems to fit you best: a pen, a screwdriver, or a stopwatch?

This week's theme is In Five Seconds or Less.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tell us a story: lost to memory

What is one story your family members like to tell about something that happened in your childhood — an event that you can't remember at all?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

After-hours menu

How often do you have a late-night snack? When you do, what's the food you're most likely to choose?

Friday, January 13, 2012

What's old, what's new

A newly made replica of an old design: is that an old thing or a new thing? What if you take pieces of old, broken pottery and assemble them into a mosaic, a new work of art? What about an ancient piece of machinery that's had every part replaced with a new part over the years?

What do you have that's a perfect blend of old and new?

This week's theme is old things and new things.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tools and the people who use them

Each thing we use has its own body of skills. It's too bad we can't update our skills as easily as we can replace our things! What is one new thing you are struggling to learn how to use? And what's one old thing that you can still operate perfectly, even though the technology has become obsolete?

This week's theme is old things and new things.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Old faithful

Compared to 60 years ago, today's things are lighter, less expensive, more precise, and full of extra features. But newer isn't always better. What's one old thing that you'll never trade in, because it's still useful, reliable, and indestructible?

This week's theme is old things and new things.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bottom of the box

What was one case when you rushed through the process of using up an old item or an old supply of something because you couldn't wait to start using its newer, better, fresher replacement?

This week's theme is old things and new things.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Old things and new things

Some things at the end of their useful life manage to gain an interesting second career, such as the retired ship intentionally sunk to create a platform for a new marine ecosystem. What is one thing of yours that outlasted its initial purpose and is now acting in a new role?

This week's theme is old things and new things.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tell us a story: Sunday crisis

In the United States, Sunday is the worst time to have something go wrong, because the people and businesses that fix things — doctors, plumbers, auto mechanics, and so on — generally aren't available on Sunday. What was one urgent problem that you had to sit with longer than you wanted to because it happened on a Sunday (or some other time when everything was closed)?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

This year

Picture yourself 50 weeks from now, looking back on an amazingly successful year. While celebrating your accomplishments with friends, family, or colleagues, you tell them, "We'll always remember 2012 as the year that we ____________."

What was the first thing that popped into your mind to fill in the blank?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Wellsprings of inspiration

There are many different ways to come up with new ideas and fresh approaches when you need them. What is your most familiar technique for finding new ideas? What are some other idea-generating techniques that you could try?

This week's theme is new ideas.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Research or experimentation

Which is your typical pattern in trying something new: do you try the first thing you find and see what happens, or do you first gather a list of options and pick the best-looking one?

This week's theme is new ideas.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Standing in the way

Who have you noticed blocking the way of new ideas? Who tends to dismiss new ideas and resist new ways of doing things? What makes people want to push back against possible change, even when the change is an improvement?

This week's theme is new ideas.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The idea box

What — or who — has been one of your best sources of helpful new ideas?

This week's theme is new ideas.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New ideas

Which area of your life is the most ready for new ideas and fresh approaches?

This week's theme is new ideas.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tell us a story: resolved

What was one thing you successfully resolved to change in your life (whether at a new year or on some other occasion)? What is one example of something that's different in your life today as a result of that decision?