5 Questions Google Can’t Answer
Google is magical. Ask it almost anything and specialized information appears on your screen. But the most important questions of all, the ones that drive the direction your precious life…are better left in the hands of the real expert: you.
Your amazing brain is designed to answer any question you ask it.
For example, if you ask yourself, “Hey, what should I have for lunch today?” you get a series of suggestions and running commentary. In my case it would be something like …
Are the leftovers from yesterday? I should only eat a salad but I am kinda sick of salad and I really don’t have time to make one so let’s see if there’s any peanut butter left. Oh, I’m pretty sure there’s carrot cake left from the birthday party, that’s got veggies in it. Carrot cake will make a fine lunch.
(To avoid having this conversation too often, I plan my lunches in advance.)
The quality of your life reflects the quality of questions you ask.
If you ask yourself, “Why does this always happen to me?” your brain heroically searches for possible explanations, possibly these:
- You’re just too old/young. There’s really no point in expecting things to go any better.
- The system is so rigged. It’s all about who you know and clearly you don’t know the right people.
- You must be stupid, or at least inadequate, otherwise you would have figured this out by now. Really, you should be so much more ahead.
Asking questions like “why does this always happen to me” sets you up to be a victim of the circumstances. From that inviting-but-dangerous place, your brain cannot create any kind of imaginative solution, only discouragement and more fatigue.
Here are 5 much more helpful questions to take an inventory of how things are going and how you want them to go. Write these down in a journal from time to time. If you don’t have a journal, quietly pinch an unused notebook from one of your children or neighbor’s kids, or go out and buy one.
5 Important Life Inventory Questions [please excuse the dangling participles!]
- What is going really well right now?
- What do I want less of?
- What do I want more of?
- What can I let go of?
- What makes my heart sing?
These are my personal answers to the Important 5.
- Business is going very well. My kids are doing well. My health is great. [Seriously, what else can you ask for???] Because of the innate Negativity Bias, you have to force yourself to remember the positive things. That’s instant encouragement you need.
- I want less clutter on my bedside table [it’s huge], fewer squeaky noises, less sand in my car.I will use this answer to straighten out my bedside table and make my son oil some squeaky doors and vacuum my car. Oh the suffering of living so close to the beach — you get sand in your car. Tsk tsk.
- I want more veggies and exercise, more time with family. And an international client.This question, unlike the others, is almost always answered in the same way in my journal. Quite often, I do eat more veggies, get more exercise and do fun things with the fam. Often, life happens. I also just found out a new client is actually a major global player with offices all over the world. Check.
- I will let go of thinking I should be ahead, I should have done more and I should be doing more. Like everyone, I’m doing the best I can with what I know and it’s the journey that counts anyway.
- I love love love sending cute greeting cards to people for no reason at all. I stock up from SlideShow Press, Tokyo-Milk and Colette Paperie. Sticking those envelopes in the mail always puts a big grin on my face. Which makes people wonder what I’m up to.
Double whammy. Done and done. It’s nice to know that there are still some questions that I can answer better than Google. 🙂
It’s always a good idea to take inventory of your life, what’s going well, what isn’t. I love the idea of making it a habit and doing it more than when things really aren’t going well. Great post!
Thank you, Anna! The great thing about answering these questions, which I do in my journal (aka notebook) is that you don’t have to write lengthy answers and it helps you get a grip on what’s really important right now.
Thanks, Anna! I take this inventory every month in my journal. The list is so helpful!
Love this! Yes, it’s funny how the things that are close to us we take for granted or become annoyed by: familiarity breeds contempt. It’s ALWAYS a good idea to think of how someone else would interpret the situation you are complaining about. It could always be worse! 😉
Thank you, Carrie! You are so right — we are usually doing much better than we give ourselves credit for.
I love the proactive and empowering spirit of these questions rather than the reactive “why is this happening to me?”. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Dominique!!! Isn’t it funny/not funny how our default is to be down on ourselves when it’s much better to be cheering ourselves on? I love how these simple questions shift our thinking.
Great piece. Continuing to improve in all aspects in your life is a good thing and these questions help put order to those thoughts. Thanks for sharing.
You are so kind to reply, Louise! Thank you. You are so right on how important structure is. That is a big piece on my communication content, teaching people that structure helps you get organized AND remember what is important.
Thank you, Louise!