Questions everybody should ask themselves

People do stupid things. For the most part, this can be attributed towards someone’s lack of information, but for the really big, profound stupid stuff I’ve found that it’s often because of people not asking themselves the right questions, or at least not least following through on those questions by trying to find an answer.

I know I can’t be alone in this observation, so I have to ask: If you could make everyone in the world ask themselves one question, or a series of related questions, what would it be?

I would ask people: “why do they get angry?” See, I grew up with a few people who had very short tempers and would just flip out over nothing…and I’ve never been able to figure out why. I have my bouts of anger once in a blue moon, but for the most part I’ve turned that emotion off without much trouble. I did this by asking myself questions, such as:

Why am I angry?

Do I benefit in any way from getting angry?

Does anger make me a happier person in the long run?

When I become angry, does it decrease the chances I’ll become angry in the future or solve my problem?

Is [subject of anger] really so bad? If I’m in no physical pain, then I’m likely just sitting, standing, or walking someplace as a result of [subject of anger]…isn’t that about what I’d probably be doing if [subject of anger] didn’t happen? Why do I find it so unpleasant that I have to walk, sit, or stand just because it’s not on my terms?

Would this really be a problem if I had a book to read with me? Perhaps there’s someway I can enter this predicament and still remain productive. Perhaps I can make phone calls or think about things I’ve been putting off.

If I’m not getting in trouble for being in my situation, what’s the big deal?

If I do get in trouble, is that really so bad in itself?

And so on.

Once I found myself at the end of this line of questioning, I was a pretty laid back dude. I’ve had my car blow up on a day I still consider “alright”, and I’m considered a pretty level headed guy.

What would you make people ask themselves?

“What is the evidence this is true?”

“Why do some people believe that other viewpoint?”

“What are all the likely consequences of this action? And what are the alternatives?”

My pet peeve is all the people I see around me getting away with stuff that negatively affects other people all the time. I guess the questions I would like to see people asking themselves are:

  • are my actions affecting/going to affect other people?
  • how do I like it when I’m on the receiving end of the jerkish thing I just did?
  • where is my sense of entitlement to do something no one else is doing coming from?
  • how can I make my society a better place, instead of a more frustrating place?

Barring that, I just have to work on the not getting angry at other people’s actions thing. :slight_smile:

“Are they *really *worth my time?”

“Do you love yourself?” and “Do you really know yourself?”

What’s this thing on my neck?

“Er, what if you’re wrong?”

-or maybe-

“Are you sure your difference with so-and-so isn’t really just a matter of style or tastes?”

“Do these clothes make me look unattractive?”

Do I feel lucky? Well do ya…punk?

Will my actions raise the tide and be win/win for everyone they affect?

Do I need to buy this or do I just want to buy it?

Can I afford it today?

Will I still be able to afford it in a month?

Could I afford it if I was not working right now?

Is there something better I could do with my money?

I like this one. It’s easy to think of someone as being stupid when sometimes the other guy just has different values altogether.

In the grand scheme of things, you know, universally speaking… is it really all that fucking important?

Where are we all going? And why are we in a basket?

I really like Joe Ski’s anger questions.
Mine would be:
Why am I feeling insulted?
If it’s not a friend or loved one, do I care what they think of my shoes?
if it is a friend or loved one, did they really mean to insult me, or am I just taking it wrong?

The Anger ones are good.

To get to the root of such things, I recommend;

What do I feel powerless about it my life and why?
–How can I change those things?
–Is it even possible to control this situation? Or am I really just judging myself harshly because I don’t have control over something that no one in my situation has any control of? (This is a biggie folks!)

What am I really afraid of here?
–Is this fear reasonable, or is it because of something else in my past?
–Is there any way I can change the situation to be less afraid?

Because in examining my own life and those of others, I’ve seen that most anger comes out of fear, much of which comes from feelings of powerlessness. Unfortunately, the fear and anger can manifest in ways that are not directly related to the feelings of powerlessness, as we try to use our anger to give us power where we have none.

Dealing with others:

Why am I getting upset about something someone said about me that isn’t true?
–Am I afraid that it might be true? Is that the real reason for my anger?
–If they don’t know me, then doesn’t it really say more about them and their way of thinking?
–If they do know me, then is it true and I’m in denial, or is it just something they know hurts me?

These questions make a lot of sense.

My own are a little less emotional, but I wish people would ask themselves:

Will I really get there any quicker by driving like I’m in a NASCAR race?

Is it worth feeling like a NASCAR driver just to get ahead of that one car?

Is that other driver really trying to irritate me, or are they just trying to get to work, home or the grocery store too?

And, would I scream and yell and swear and treat this person like crap if we were face to face instead of being seperated by two tons of steel? (Also, using the same question but with a computer screen and the internet in place of the car.)

That’s a good one - in the past little while, I’ve seen a couple of people in their cars screaming and gesticulating and generally carrying-on (which I have been known to do on occasion) - it looks terrible. It looks like a toddler having a tantrum. I think I will try to tone that down for the future - it does no one any good at all.