And you can play along at home too!
Ah Parliament question time, the adult equivalent of the schoolyard/classroom bickering, but done by people who have the responsibility of running your state or country. Here at Martyn’s question time, things are a bit different and hopefully more beneficial, although maybe not as entertaining haha.
Today’s questions have been plucked from a recent School of Life newsletter of which I’ll answer five of them – and if people find this insight enjoyable and interesting I might do another five. Hopefully by the end of today you will know me, and more importantly, yourself, better.
1. What might surprise people if they really knew you?
That despite my levels of success/achievement and my previous professions, I’m not a status-seeking, wealth-creating obsessive that usually befalls someone with my characteristics. That despite my knowledge, intellect and wisdom, I don’t tend to look down on people – unless you’re less than six foot tall, of course. I would like to be respected for what I can demonstrate, like any reasonable and competent person, but I’m not running around telling everyone how I’m better than you. I try and preach humility and civility where people receive daily doses of narcissism and hostility. That despite my sometimes terminator-like exterior I’m actually a loving, caring and funny guy.
2. What do you want more of in your life?
Time, and I don’t mean the magazine. I know everyone says “there’s only so many hours in the day”, but the days, weeks, months, years even, just seem to flyby. I don’t mean this in a childish boohoo I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do tantrum, I mean it more in the sense of if I’m to carry out my life goals and lofty ideals, I run out of time each day and don’t complete what I feel I should. I’m also interested in many different ideas/things and this is something I’ve struggle with all my life to be able to fit them all in, or at least prioritise, with the perception of an ever-shrinking hours in the day. There is simply never enough time, so I try and cultivate the best existence with maximising my time to the most benefit – though not in a hamster wheel, obsessed with productivity and efficiency manner, but more in a beauty, joy and fulfilling my moral obligations kind of way. Time is such a precious resource, but our attention is even more precious.
3. What maddens you the most about who you are?
My mind. My greatest strength is what maddens me the most. It’s incessant, it never seems to shut up, it’s always thinking, pondering, trying to solve something…and answer questions for me, the people I care about (even those I don’t), the nature of the universe. I honestly feel sometimes I don’t need people around to have conversations because my mind is always talking to me and I think that’s part of the reason why I seek solitude so much and don’t talk a great deal, preferring to listen. It runs all manner of analyses – it’s favourite being opportunity cost analysis when decision making with a pinch of ethical considerations to give it flavour. Predicting future events based on multiple and changing variables? It has you covered! It’s calculating, processing, plotting…haha…and occasionally I can wrestle and shackle it to do something I want or need to do with it. No wonder I don’t feel I have enough time, my mind takes it all up!
4. What do you long for other people to understand better about you?
That I’m a good person in pursuit of a good and noble life who is worth having around, worth having as a friend, to see my value as a human being…and for one person to want to share their life intimately with me. I ask questions and search for answers, not to piss people off, manipulate them for personal gain or to ask more from them than they can give, but to try and create better people who will then have flow on effects in the wider world. That wanting to experience life/existence in the deepest possible extent i.e. to understand what it is to be human and the human condition, is not without sacrifice, consequence and most people not knowing what the fuck you’re on about half (most of?) the time. It can get quite lonely and isolating at times, but I feel I’m meaningfully contributing to society and I’m morally obligated to continue my life on its present course. Although, I have contemplated whether my life will end up like Socrates – ha fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.
5. What do you wish you had never learnt?
This is a difficult question for me to answer, at least initially, as I’m someone who loves learning and nothing is springing to mind aside from the comedic answer above.
I wish I had never learned what it was like to be bullied in school
But it made me who I am today
I wish I had never learned what it was like to crash a motorcycle
But it made me a better rider
I wish I had never learned…
I don’t know, maybe that’s the whole point of a question like this; that there is nothing that you wish you had never learnt. To view life as a continual learning process and experience; the good, the bad and the ugly.
The right questions can stimulate us to think with exceptional depth about what truly matters, where we see ourselves heading and what gives life its purpose. Aforementioned, are five such questions to answer for yourself, ask a friend, or use as prompts for journaling. I hope you’ve enjoyed playing along at home this week, reading my answers as well as asking yourself the same questions.