I found these questions over on http://www.marcandangel.com/ and I thought they were worth asking. And answering.
1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
Right off the bat, this question is difficult to answer. For a long time, I think my internal dialogue came from the perspective of myself as a teenager. I’m not sure at what point that changed. Marriage, child, divorce, career… All of that changed the inner me. But I think age is situational now. An older me pays the bills, a younger me goes to theme parks, a college aged me listens to music, and a 54 year old me listens to NPR…
2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
Never trying. Failure is one of the surest ways to learn.
3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
We live in a social constructs, and follow social contracts. But you can choose to do more things you like, when you’re aware of those things.
4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
I’m kind of a quiet guy, so no.
5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
Cop out answer: There’s a lot of negativity in the world and I’d like to make things more positive. I think if we were all just slightly more optimistic (we can make a difference!) then the world itself would improve.
6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
I’d work for a non-profit organization that helps make children happy, so they too can be rich.
7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
I do lots of different things that I believe in, though I also settle for some things too. This goes back to question #3. Responsibilities often make us settle for things.
8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
I don’t know that I would live it too much differently. My goals would be the same, but compressed. I’d probably not worry too much about the little things, but I’d also stress out more about the big things because I’d have less time to take care of them.
9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
50%? I know key decisions made that have led me to where I am. I also know there are things that were out of my control, though I may have had influence.
10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
These aren’t mutually exclusive. I can do the right things and do them right, can’t I? I guess doing the right things is more important, though. I’d rather do the right things poorly than do the wrong things well.
11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
I would point out those qualities that I respect and admire in the friend.
12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Read a lot.
13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
It depends on the law I was breaking, I guess. But yes, I would.
14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
I probably see that in myself immediately. But sometimes insanity can outweigh creativity – Gary Busey on Celebrity Apprentice comes to mind.
15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I think I think differently than most people.
16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
We’re all individuals, and all experiencing different things in different ways because of our different points of view. I like that about the world. Variety is the spice of life.
17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
I want to travel and see the world. Money is really the only thing holding me back.
18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
Aren’t we all?
19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
I like where I am right now, but I want to go work in Shanghai for a while.
20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
Not the floor button. The Close Door button sometimes.
21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
Worried genius. Joyful simpleton reminds me of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, sacchariney sweet, but full of fluff.
22. Why are you, you?
I am a sum of my experiences.
23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
I’ve had those friends and lost those friends and made new ones.
24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
When a good friend moves away, because then it is forced upon you, but losing in touch with someone who lives close – that’s your own fault and you can do something about it.
25. What are you most grateful for?
26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
I’d rather lose all of my old memories. If I couldn’t make new memories, then I think it would feel hopeless.
27. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
There are some things that are just inherent. The sky is blue, water is wet. Anything beyond those physical realities should be questioned, if only at a shallow level.
28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
Yes. It matters because it helped me learn and change who and where I am right now.
30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
I don’t think there is one memory that is happiest… Really, nothing stands out. And I think I remember a lot of negatives more than happy memories. I remember books making me happy though. Books and Lego.
31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
32. If not now, then when?
33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
Definitely. One of the greatest things.
35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
I think about this a lot.
36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
No. We live in a grey world.
37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
I wouldn’t quit my job immediately. I’d take some time off, though, and evaluate my future.
38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
More work I would enjoy more.
39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
No. I did some things today that are similar to other days, but I saw a new movie, ate new food, and done some other things I’d consider slightly new. But I also did the dishes, mowed the lawn, and have to fold laundry. It all balances itself out.
40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
I’m an “80% and Go” kind of guy, so I need to at least now the glow will last before I march into the dark. I think buying the house was probably the most like it though. I did a ton of research though.
41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
That would be horrible. I’d choose my son, but I’d miss everyone.
42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
I think it comes down to seeking out new experiences and becoming better than you are.
44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
80% and go.
45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
I’m not afraid of mistakes. I am intimate with them.
46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
Stop worrying about my lawn so much.
47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
Earlier today. And just now when I thought about it.
48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
Lots of things, and love is nothing without the actions to back them up.
49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?
Probably not the specifics, no.
50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
I’m pretty independent and tend to make my own decisions. Sometimes I wish other would make them for me though.
P.S. I just answered all these questions, and my mind doesn’t feel any more free. I wonder if I should feel a little different. If you answer them, let me know, and let me know if you feel any more free, too.