The five big questions everyone needs to ask themselves at some point

January 30, 2017
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I’m of the firm belief that the game 21 questions can unveil even the most hidden of characters.  It’s a true testament to the sheer simplicity and honesty of the game that allows humans to get to know each other relatively well, in a relatively short amount of time.

From first dates to new people at work, by asking someone what five items they would take to a deserted island allows you to stare deep into their core and uncover the makings of their soul.

Anyway.

From what we’re doing this weekend to how you’ll handle the next few weeks at uni, too frequently we’re living in the distant land of tomorrow (which we’re not even guaranteed to have) and not appreciating the time we do have today.

In between assessments and coffee dates and going to the gym and drinking beer, it’s vital that we stop, reflect and look around. Because not only is time fickle and precious. But because one day you may look in the mirror and see an older face looking right back, and you want it to be smiling right back.  

Here’re five confrontational, but necessary questions that everyone needs to ask themselves at some point. Think of it as a slightly different game of 21 questions.

What does happy mean for me and am I happy?

Does anyone out there know what the secret golden ticket to happiness is? I’m not sure, but if the global sales of self-help books on the topic are anything to go by, we’re all eager to find out.

What I do know is that happiness means different things for different people. It could be hanging out with your family on a sunny Sunday, or the feeling after you’ve kicked some career goals. I know there’s short-term and long-term happiness, and that it’s better to strive for the latter rather than seeking short-lived thrills.

Sure there will be blue days, but we all deserve to live life with a golden glow in our bellies. Find out what makes you tick. Pursue that and be a good person and I think the rest will follow suit (I’ll let you know).

Is this where I want to be in my life right now, and if not, what can I do to change that?

The media incessantly tells you that to be happy, you must have a meaningful career, get married, have lots of babies and own a home that wouldn’t look out of place in Italian Vogue. But growing up in a society that believes that can be exhausting. While it may be the right path for one person, the reality is that for that for the majority of us, our life’s trajectory may not be as shiny and bump free.

Death, job losses, friendship breakdowns, natural disasters – there’re some devastating occurrences in life that we have little to no control over. There are however, plenty of things we are in charge of, such as our attitude, how we treat people, saving money, travelling, passing uni and working hard for a job. It’s important to remember those things are down to us.

What do I look forward to and what are my goals? 

While I’m not a huge fan of New Year resolutions, I am a fan of goals for achieving whatever tasks and that smug look of satisfaction that follows when you do. Do you want to own a home by 30? Start your own Sauerkraut business? Go to Iceland? Learn how to cook? Goals don’t have to be as big as climbing Everest, but it’s important to aim high and back yourself.

Do I think I'm a good person? What do my friends and family think about me? Do I like myself?

Big questions. And sometimes you may not like the answer. I know in the past there has been a few occasions where I didn’t like myself, nor was I being the friend my buddies deserved. And it hurt to realise that and bruised my ego.  But what would’ve hurt more is if I allowed myself to continue to not be a good human. So I changed. We all can.

What is it about myself that I most need to work on and how can I achieve this?

To not grow and change is hindering our ability to flourish as humans.  We all have certain character flaws that we can and should work on. There’re skills to learn, books to read all while trying to figure out how to get to class on time.  

Casting the microscope over ourselves and asking some of these philosophical questions can be daunting. As at the end of the day, no one has it all figured out. But by taking the time to stop and reflect every once and a while, this equips us with the ability to live life mindfully and to thrive. And thrive we shall.

Avril Treasure

Avril studies Journalism at Notre Dame in Sydney. In her spare time she enjoys playing cards with her grandfather, drinking one too many margaritas and pondering hypothetical questions. You can read more of her work here.

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