Question time is in session
Back by popular demand, where you can get to know me, and more importantly yourself, a bit better.
I received some rather positive feedback regarding the initial question time article I wrote a couple of weeks ago – if you haven’t read it please do so here – so I thought I’d follow up with five more questions. It’s important to remember that 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.
Continuing on from last time…
6. Who do you most envy?
It depends on what you mean by “envy”, do you mean it as in jealousy or as in desire? As I’m not jealous of anyone else’s life, but I do desire elements of the life of others. It’s dangerous to be truly envious of someone else’s life, it can really tap into the darker parts of our psyche; jealousy, bitterness, resentment, spite, greed. I guess the closest I can get to envy is admiration and emulation, which isn’t the same thing I know. For that, I would choose Socrates, Plato, Marcus Aurelius and Tim Duncan. Across these four men are the characteristics of wisdom, courage, discipline, humility, gratitude – amongst others – which I find highly desirable.
7. What would you warn the child you about?
That you will encounter evil and it will nearly kill you, but that you are stronger than that. That the good will overcome evil, that the light will outshine the darkness. That you will have to struggle mightily to reclaim the happy and outgoing kid you once were – probably never fully returning to him and through no fault of your own – because you are responsible for your life, in the end, in spite of what happens to you. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond. That you will have to learn how to trust people again, and to have the courage to do so. That living an isolated life may feel safe and secure, however, hiding yourself away from people is ultimately soul destroying. That the world will change so much to the point where you will struggle to remember what it was like as a child and it will likely feel cut off, distant and like it was another lifetime, possibly as if it didn’t happen at all. You don’t need someone to understand you to live a good life, but ultimately it helps, even if it’s only one person. That succeeding at school and university does not guarantee you success in life. That you don’t have to understand everyone, that people will dislike you; for being you, for things you can’t control and through no fault of your own.
8. Picture an ideal life: describe an average day.
Wake up and go for coffee where I’d take my book and read or my notepad and jot down my thoughts. Or if I lived in a wooden hut in the north of Italy or Switzerland, I’d brew my own coffee and sit in or outside my cabin depending on weather and do the same. After, I’d go for a walk around the mountains, lakes, trees/forest/woodlands…continuing to take in the sights and let my thoughts wonder. Returning to refuel the body and mind before another reading or writing session in the afternoon. Then watch the sun go down and/or another walk before stargazing into the night and perhaps some more reading or writing under lamplight. Akin to parts of the lives of Friedrich Nietzsche and Henry David Thoreau.
If I can sum up the characteristics of my ideal life that I seek: interaction with and examination of nature, interaction with the ideas that has occupied history’s greatest thinkers/writers (along with my own), solitude and peace.
9. What do you regret not continuing doing?
Pursuing sports. Let’s be honest, when you look at me you don’t think “oh, what an athlete”, but at the end of the day, I didn’t want to make the necessary sacrifices to become a better athlete nor did I want to leave my family. I won’t deny there are other elements involved, but those two aforementioned are primarily what were the deciding factors. It would have been interesting to see how far my talents would have got me, but that ship sailed long ago. That’s part of the reason why I previously wanted to pursue a career as a sports psychologist; if I couldn’t be a professional athlete, at least I could help others who were.
10. What are your biggest mistakes?
This is always an interesting question because you find out just how honest you want to be about you failings as a human being, how you deal with being vulnerable and where your insecurities lie (perhaps a double meaning there).
It may be something you should have done, but didn’t or something you would do different having the time again. It could be something personal (e.g. life choices, relationships), work-related (e.g. career, employer) or economical (not buying a GT-R before they went up tenfold in price).
I was going to save these for another post where I elaborate on, but perhaps a brief mention here is all that’s needed.
Weight – Now this is a tricky one; is it a mistake or just a failure of self-acceptance? Most people wouldn’t guess the size I am and even as I write this I’m hesitant to give an actual figure. Despite my biological predisposition, I have allowed myself to get to an unsustainable weight for long-term health and I’m working towards improving that.
Wealth – A man of my intelligence and education should be wealthier than I currently am, but even though this can be explained by my career choices and changes, it still affects me to an extent, usually when socialising as most people fail to understand what I do and why. Again, I ask is it a mistake or just a failure of self-acceptance? How does a man not motivated by money become wealthy? I feel it is a bit of past lives conflicting with current and future lives.
Women – It’s not that I’ve had bad relationships, quite the opposite in fact, I’ve had none! Now, this might be a terrible thing to admit, it may not, who knows? I’m sure my weight and lack of wealth haven’t helped me in this regard nor my private/reserved/introverted nature and the extremely selective company I keep. I understand the ramifications of choosing/finding a life partner later in life, but is it a mistake that I haven’t had a relationship or do I just have difficulty accepting that it’s ok despite the overwhelming negative societal image?
A key thing to judge is that people will always show you by their behaviour what they think and feel regardless whether the words align with said actions.