“What Do You Want Out of Life?” Isn’t The Right Question To Ask

Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

If someone asks you: “What do you want out of life?”, you’d probably answer along the lines of “to lead a happy life.” 

Now, this could come off so ubiquitous that it doesn’t mean anything to you on a personal level. Afterall, that’s what most people would want.

However, Mark Manson, Author and Personal Development Consultant suggested to instead ask: “What pain do you want in your life?” 

It could shed better light on what you’re willing to go through to achieve your happy life.

Want to be healthy without taking care of your diet? 
Almost impossible.

Want to be wealthy without taking care of your finances?
That needs pure luck. 

Want to be happy without taking care of your well being?
It’s going to be a long shot. 

On that note, here are 5 other questions you could ask yourself to be more self-aware.

Q: When Am I Most Happy At Work?

We spend most of our time daily at work – some longer than others. Mindfully taking note of when you are happiest at work could point to the purpose you bring to the job, and (vice-versa) the value it brings to you. 

If you are struggling to find an answer, start by asking if the situation can be improved by taking on a different role, or moving to a different department?

Going deeper, figure out if you need to quit your job and start over, or perhaps even attend classes to sharpen your skills.

While you don’t have to love your job every second, the lack of purpose or sense of contribution might harm you and carry over to other parts of your life.

Q: Is My Health Harming My Purpose in Life?

With only about 5% of the world’s population being perfectly healthy, it puts perspective into your lifestyle and habits. As poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems, developing healthier habits or small physical goals might improve your overall well being. 

Speaking to WealthUp, Jessica Dourcy, Head of HR & Chief Happiness Officer of PALO IT commented: “While wealth and happiness mean different things to different people; health is a fairly universal concept. It is, by all means, the single most critical aspect of my life. I think of health (both mental and physical) as the catalyst for my happiness and wealth.”

I think of health (both mental and physical) as the catalyst for my happiness and wealth.”

– Jessica Dourcy, Head of HR, PALO IT

Q: Am I Using My Strengths Enough?

You might know your strengths at the back of your hands, but how about identifying attributes that are unique to you. 

If you’re good with numbers, how often do you actually utilise them on a daily basis? If hosting comes naturally to you, would a public-facing role give you a better chance of fulfilment at work?

Imagine this – jamming a block into a cylinder. While you might be able to get the block in, it will probably get stuck at some point or wear out the edges to get to the end. The same could be said with your fit for the job. 

Q: When Was The Last Time I Did Something for The First Time?

I was once asked by a great mentor: “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” – and truth be told, that got me stumped. 

Psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson explained in an experiment that a state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance

However, Melinda Beck at The Wall Street Journal shared that scientists believe there is an  “anxiety sweet spot” – which is  a psychological state of “moderate anxiety” where performance and alertness are optimized.

With that said, think about the last time you got out of your comfort zone. Try a new approach at work, or challenge the status quo on how things have been done. 

Even if you find yourself not liking what you’re doing outside your comfort zone (which is a plus to know!), you’d find yourself being able to better adapt to new changes and ideas. 

Bonus Question: What Would I Do If I Had 6 Months To Live?

If time is of essence, would you stop what you’re doing now and head the other direction, or would you continue living this way? 

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine and lose sight of the bigger picture – which are your life ambitions and what you’re willing to do to get them.

5 Questions
Written by

Cheryl Toh

Last updated on

October 11th 2019, 10:08 am

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