Friday, August 8, 2014

The Most Important Questions in Life

“The power to question is the basis of all human progress.”

Indira Gandhi

“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.”

Francis Bacon

In journalism writers are taught to tell a story by answering the five W’s and the H – Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.  The order may not matter, or it may determine the how the story is written.  The facts are often interwoven and most good news stories have an element of complexity to them, and most good writers can unravel that complexity.  Complexity is often true of life stories as well, but we have to be our own writers and unravel our own complexity.  This can be done by asking the same questions – the 5 W’s and the H.  There may not be instant answers or easy answers, but that doesn’t mean there are no answers.  To find the answers, it may be a matter of asking the right questions.
Who?  Who am I?  That question alone is incredibly complex.  How can that be answered?  Do I know who I am?  Do I learn it over the years? Am I more than one thing?  Who do I want to be?  Is who I am determined by genetics, environment, or choice?  If I don’t like who I am, can I change myself?  Finding these answers can take years, but the answers to these questions are interwoven with the answers to other questions. 
What?  What do I want?  What do I want to do with my life?  What do I believe?  What can I do?  What do I do?  What, if anything, does God want of me?  What is my purpose?  What is success?  What is happiness?  There are no easy answers here either, but often, learning what we want to do determines, at least in part, who we are.
Why?  Why was I put on this planet?  Why is life so difficult?  Or beautiful?  Or both?  Why does God seem to love me or hate me?  Why is life so unfair for so many?  Why are we here?
When?  When do I start doing the things I should be doing?  When will I reach my goals?  When will I “make it?”
Where?  Where should I live?  Where should I work?  Where should I get my education?
How?  How will I do this?  How will I reach my goals?  How will I get the right job?  How will I meet the right person?  How will I hold on for life to the right person?  How will I improve in my work?   How do I overcome my weaknesses?  How can I be a better partner, a better parent, a better friend, and a better person?
What makes all this more complex is that the above is not an exhaustive list.  But the biggest problem isn’t that there are too many questions in life. The problem is that not enough people are even asking these questions of themselves, much less trying to find the answers.  It’s in the pursuit of these questions and their answers that we begin to unravel the mysteries of love, life, career, relationships, God, and money.
What are the answers?  Are they universal?  Or do we each have to find our own?  Or is it a little of both?  I think the only way to find out is to Get Started and Keep Going.