Glimmering Butterfly Project – Day 12

Every year I do an exercise I discovered through Brian Johnson of Philosopher’s Notes. (And I’ll share my 2018 results if you’re so curious!)

The exercise, 100 Questions by Leonardo Davinci is designed to get you to think about the questions that are most important to you in your life (at this moment). If you want to skip reading and just get it in video/audio format, check out Brian’s video: xDa Vinci & 100 Questions

Most often, we’re always looking for answers to our problems, but focusing exclusively on the problems can help you to dictate common themes among the very things you’re curious about.

I’ve been doing this exercise for the past 3 years, starting in 2015 and this exercise is one of my favorite “personal development” exercises to do as I’m beginning a new year, or looking for a reset half-way through.

The 100 Questions Exercise

To do the 100 Questions exercise, all you have to do is:

  1. Sit yourself down somewhere quiet with a pen and paper, no distractions, and about an hour of your time..
  2. Write down 100 questions that you’re curious about.
  3. Find the common themes among your 100 questions.
  4. Pick 10 of the most important questions.
  5. Rank those 10 from most important to least important.

On the surface, it looks really basic, but doing this exercise and allowing yourself to really dig in can help you yield some really important discoveries for yourself – or at least get the very things you’re curious about down on paper, which can help your brain to subconsciously start looking for answers.

Once you’ve found yourself an hour of time to be undisturbed, start writing down any question that comes to mind that you’re curious about. It could be anything you’re curious about, from “why is the sky blue” to “what’s the meaning of life?”

You’ll probably find that the first 20 or 30 comes pretty quickly, but the further down the list, the harder it will be to come up with questions. And that’s okay! The harder it gets, the more important it is to stick with it until the end, because this is where some of the deepest questions will surface.

Once you have your 100 questions (sometimes I end up going a few past if I get into a flow or chain of thought near the end), look over your questions and think of some common themes or threads among them. For example, are a lot of them related to money? Career? Travel? Making an impact? Finding friends? Big changes? It’s up to you if you want to write down these for yourself later, but I usually just stick to the next part:

Next, you’ll go through your entire list and pick out 10 questions that are most important for you. This is harder than it sounds. What I end up doing is circling the numbers of all the questions that are still the most important to me, but I end up with 50+ circled that I think are “important.”

For me, I find it easier to type these circled questions up in a word document and then manually start rearranging and removing questions until I narrow it down to my top 10. However you go about narrowing your list down is up to you, as long as you have ten-ish at the end.

Once you have your ten, arrange them from most important to least important.

And now you have your Top 10 Questions of the Year.

Sometimes my questions will be so relevant that I find it beneficial to squish them together for a better question, or tag two very similar questions into one.

I’ve found that my direction for the year is almost paralleled by the questions and themes from doing this exercise. This exercise gets the questions that you’re subconsciously thinking about down on paper and can even help to get your mind oriented towards finding solutions and answers to them as you go about your year.

Each time I look back through the year, I can see various steps of progress that are directly related to the questions I asked in the beginning.

I went a small step forward and printed out my questions and posted them somewhere I could reference often, like my wall, in one of my binders, and somewhere on my website.

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My Top 10 Questions of 2018

If you’re curious about the questions I asked myself at the end of 2017 to preface the new year, or you’re looking for some starting inspiration, here are the 10 I narrowed my 100 down into:

  1. How do I live a life filled with more fun, joy, and love? What do I feel called to do to bring it into my life?
  2. Have I listened to the heart today? Am I following my intuition before the advice of others?
  3. If I only completed 1 thing this year, what would make me the happiest? (This was my #1 question last year and what I feel is one of most powerful questions I’ve found in the 3 years of doing this exercise.)
  4. Who do I need to become to realize everything I dream?
  5. What will I do to embrace a life of courage?
  6. What is something about myself that I don’t like … that I could just let go of? What fear or limitation is holding me back that might be imaginary?
  7. When am I most at peace or confident? What’s my environment like? What am I doing?
  8. Who do I envy/admire and why?
  9. What “style” do I want to cultivate for myself, including my attire, interior design, online presence, etc.?
  10. What can I do to become financially independent? How much is needed to live comfortably with my goals?

Some of these questions are similar to the questions I asked last year, but that means they’re still relevant. Common themes that seem to be on the forefront of my focus (and subconscious) revolve largely around figuring out how to be financially independent, how to live a meaningful/impactful/productive life, how to be courageous, how to “embrace the weird,” and personal growth.

What questions will you ask this year/month/moment?

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Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash