The ability to ask yourself meaningful questions is a powerful tool for self-reflection and personal growth. In his book “55 Questions to Ask Yourself”, author Manoj Chenthamarakshan encourages readers to cultivate the habit of regular self-questioning to unlock our potential and direct our lives in a positive direction.
According to Manoj, the questions we ask ourselves shape our perspective and become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Mindfully choosing empowering questions gives us insight into our deepest values, needs, and goals.
We become more self-aware and better equipped to make choices aligned with who we aspire to be.
Reflection through questioning allows us to course-correct when we veer off track and recognize opportunities for self-improvement.
As Manoj emphasizes, our ability to succeed begins with our willingness to ask the right questions and listen to the answers that emerge, even if they challenge our usual way of thinking.
So, in this blog, I am going to summarize the book. After reading it out of 55 questions, I found these seven questions that everyone must ask themselves if they want to become really successful in their life.
So, if you are among the 1% who are interested in becoming your better version, read this summary till the end, and let me know in the comments which question you asked yourself and what your answer was.
q1. Who Am I?
There is a very powerful philosophical question, which is very powerful; you would have read it in the IKIGAI book, ‘Who am I?’ Philosophers say that we should know who we are. But this question is very confusing for many people.
Trust me, sometimes I also find this question very confusing. And it becomes very hard to find the answer. So the author suggested to ask us, ‘Who am I becoming?’
You know, I had a friend who started drinking alcohol as fun, and after some time, he got addicted to drugs. We often tried to explain to him that what you are doing was very wrong, and he would suffer.
But he didn’t listen. Why didn’t he listen? Because he never asked himself this question! Who am I becoming?
Earlier, that guy used to be energetic, used to do good things, used to talk to people, used to make good connections. Still, gradually, he was becoming very negative because of alcohol.
His health was deteriorating, he was doing badly financially, his relationships were getting ruined, and he was getting ruined in every manner. But it was too late when he realized how bad things had happened to him.
How bad things had happened to him; it was too late. That’s why I think this one question is very important for you to understand: ‘Who are you becoming?’ Ask yourself, who are you becoming?
Sometimes, we keep eating bad things and get obese. , we didn’t realize it then, but after one year, we see that we have become obese.
Our health gets ruined. Sometimes, we make wrong financial decisions, due to which we become poor.
That’s why if you want your life not to go in a negative direction, then first of all, ask yourself this question: Who am I becoming? Am I getting fat? Am I getting lazy? Am I becoming a time-pass person? Focus on what you are becoming, and write the answers.
Q2. What would I do if I knew I wouldn’t fail?
The author of this book was telling an interesting thing – that sometimes we know things we must do to improve our lives, yet we don’t do them.
For example, we know we have to go to the gym to make a good physique, start a business to make money, or acquire skills and work hard. But still, we don’t do these things. Why not? The simple reason is fear.
The truth is that most people in life are cowards. You, I, we are afraid. We get scared that what if we pay money but don’t feel like going to the gym?
What if we start a business and it fails? What if we talk to that girl, and she rejects us?
Similarly, we don’t do big things that we could do because we’re all afraid. That’s why we should ask ourselves this question: “What would I do if I knew I wouldn’t fail?”
Because sometimes we make wrong decisions out of fear of failure. We choose the wrong things. We don’t start a YouTube channel because we think there’s too much risk.
We think, let’s get a job! But that job has risks too! Because we’re scared, we make the “safe” choice.
But you’ve heard it – those who do something big in life are risk-takers. They take risks, and they’re not afraid of failure. And this attitude of not fearing failure helps them achieve success.
Remember, life is not like a cricket match where you try to hit a shot but miss and lose your wicket and the whole game. Many opportunities will come your way – you’ll swing the bat many times, sometimes you’ll miss, sometimes you’ll get out.
But you have to hit one-six. If you hit that one-six, that successful startup can set you up for life.
It’s not important that all will succeed – if just one hits, you can do a lot with that one. This was just an example to illustrate that we should ask ourselves: “What would I do if I knew I wouldn’t fail?” This question can help you find your passion.
Q3. Who are you spending your time with?
This question may be the toughest question for you! Why? There are tons of books, like ‘As a man thinketh‘ by James Allen in which there is a powerful lesson that ‘You become what you think’. And ‘how you think’ depends on this factor: ‘Who are you spending your time with?’
There is a German philosopher who says, ‘Tell me who you spend your time with, and I will tell you who you are’. Sometimes, we live with such bad people, and because of this, our thinking becomes negative, and we can’t move forward.
That’s why it is very important to spend with the right people. And it’s not just offline. I am talking about online also.
The type of content you consume, the type of people you follow on social media, and the type of people you listen to all help you change your thoughts.
I notice a lot of people watch very negative content. Maybe for time-pass or fun, they think that it doesn’t matter.
But actually, this content is changing your thinking, and as the author said in his book, ‘As a man thinketh’ ‘You become what you think’. That’s why focus on this one thing that checks once: who are you spending time with?
Q4. What advice would I give someone else in the exact same situation?
Unfortunately, I have a team member who had an accident, and his dad is a surgeon. But when his son had an accident, he couldn’t operate on him. Why?
Because whenever we are involved with someone special, our emotions get triggered. And these emotions make us do the wrong things.
You may have seen in Munna Bhai MBBS that there was a dialogue that said when you operate on someone special to you, your hands will tremble. Well, this is true.
Similarly, there’s a simple example. Sometimes, when it’s about others, we give logical advice. But we do things we shouldn’t when we’re in the same situation. Does this happen to you, too?
Our friends say big things and advise us like “don’t get into relationships” or “don’t do this or that.” But when the same things happen to them, they do those things, often even worse.
So, asking yourself this question can be very important: “What advice would I give someone else in this exact situation?” Whatever advice you’d give them, try to follow that yourself.
Whenever you’re in trouble and don’t know what to do, imagine your friend has the same problem. Give them the heartfelt suggestion you would want to give, then try to follow that same advice yourself!
Q5. Is it in my control?
A Serenity Prayer prayer says, “Oh God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
One of my favorite books is ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Steven Covey. He explains in his book how most people cannot accomplish great things in life because they don’t understand the difference between what is within their control and what is not.
You may have noticed that most people waste a lot of time on things that are not under their control. For example, they talk about politics but don’t want to enter politics themselves.
They talk about cricket but don’t want to become cricketers. And they waste time complaining about things like the weather that they can’t change.
On the other hand, wise people who accomplish great things invest their time in aspects of their lives that are within their control, like their health, business, and relationships. They don’t focus as much on other things.
For example, according to doctors, one of my team members had an accident and broke his bones, with a 50/50 chance of ever being able to walk again.
He put 100% effort into that 50% chance within his control when he found out. He couldn’t perform the surgery himself but started doing everything else he could after the operation.
He read blogs, Reddit posts, and stories of people with similar accidents who recovered fully. He studied the human skeletal structure for months and how bones break and heal.
He changed his diet, supported his leg, did small exercises, and became someone you’d never guess had an accident within eight months.
This example demonstrates the power of asking yourself, “Is this under my control?” My team member understood what he could and couldn’t control and gave 100% to what was under his influence, achieving great results.
Similarly, whenever you feel stuck, ask yourself, “Is this in my control?” Even if there’s only a 50% chance, focus your full efforts on that part you can control and try to make it better.
Q6. What are you grateful for?
Researchers Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough say that if you write five things you are grateful for every week, then just ten weeks later, you will feel happier and physically healthier than before.
Start writing about things you are thankful for. By doing this, you will train your brain to find positive things. Then, no matter how negative things are going in your life, when you ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?” your brain will start looking for the good things that have happened to you! And trust me, this is a very powerful exercise.
We often focus on just the negative things about a person or situation. We keep looking for negatives in everything.
This causes only negativity to run through our minds. On the other hand, if we start a gratitude exercise, we will steer our brains in a positive direction, making us feel more positive and healthier and will help us move forward.
Q7. What will People Say about you at your funeral?
I think you should consider this – if you were to die, what would you want people to say about you at your funeral? What kind of person, friend, spouse, or child were you? This question is discussed in ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’ It was a habit to ‘Begin with the End in Mind.’
First, think about the end result you want, then take action today by doing reverse engineering.
This way, you’ll be able to reach your goal. We often go with the flow of life – this and that happens. Friends ask me to take a course, so I do it on a whim.
Similarly, if you keep aimlessly moving through life, you won’t be able to reach your intended destination and goal.
That’s why you should ask yourself this question: you can do the right things by reverse engineering that matter for the person you want to become.
The book encourages self-reflection through asking yourself meaningful questions. Some of the most impactful questions highlighted in the summary include:
- Who am I becoming? Reflect on the direction your life is taking.
- What would I do if I knew I wouldn’t fail? Think big without the limitation of fear.
- Who are you spending time with? We become like the people we surround ourselves with.
- What advice would I give someone else in my situation? Remove emotion and view things logically.
- Is it in my control? Focus your energy on what you can control.
- What are you grateful for? Cultivate gratitude to see the positive.
- What will people say about you at your funeral? Envision your legacy and live accordingly.
Overall, the book emphasizes introspection through self-questioning as a tool to gain self-awareness, uncover your values and passions, course-correct when needed, and ultimately take steps to become your best self. Developing this habit of regular thoughtful reflection can lead to powerful personal growth and fulfilling life direction.