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Ask the Right Questions

January 7, 2020

Ralph Waldo Emerson was famous for greeting his friends with this question: “What has become clear to you since we last met?”

His intent was an invitation and challenge to his friends and guests to assess the progress of their thinking. I’m fortunate enough to have friends who push me to do the same. 

Every year around the holidays, I get together with a group of friends that I deeply respect. This time is special because, although I see these friends individually throughout the year, we’re rarely all in the same room. This is a group that pushes me to grow, and as a part of our time together this year, the host asked us to come prepared to answer Emerson’s famous greeting, along with a couple of other intentional questions. 

As we launch into this new year, many of you have made resolutions and set new goals. But one thing I’d challenge each of you to do this year is to ask the right questions. Some questions make us think differently, they change our perspective, and they just might change our lives.

Here are a few to consider:

What do you value, and are you true to your values?
What should you be doing that you aren’t doing right now?
What do you wish you knew that you don’t know?
When is the last time you set a big goal?
What have you learned lately?
If you weren’t afraid to fail, what would you try?
If you knew you only had a certain number of days to live, what would you do differently?
How have you grown in character this year?
Who could you count on if you really needed somebody?

Need another one? Martin Luther King Jr. famously said:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”

In 2020, if you want better answers, make sure you’re asking the right questions. 


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