- Michael Thompson
One of the best decisions I’ve made over the last few years is creating a shortlist of questions to ask myself to better navigate life.
Questions like, “What’s the next right little step I can take?” and “What would this look like if it were easy?” have the power to create forward progress when the world pushes you back, whereas questions like “If I say yes to this, what am I saying no to?” serve as a strong reminder that time is limited and that I need to prioritize what matters most.
I’m also a fan of a question my friend Niklas Göke shared with me around this time last year: “What would happen if I just kept listening?”
Nik’s advice reminds me that good things happen when we lead with our two ears instead of our ego and think before we speak. Not only that, but it also reminds me that life isn’t Jeopardy and you don’t have to jump in with an answer the first chance you get.
That being said, one of the major life realizations I’ve had that points to Nik’s recommendation is that any individual achievement that doesn’t lead to community advancement isn’t worth very much.
In addition to thinking about how you can better operate as an individual as we head into 2022, below are two questions to give you clarity on who you’re best positioned to best support and how to best go about doing that.
Which people do you want to say [your name] when they’re asked who they’re grateful for?
Conventional wisdom says if we want to be successful, surround ourselves with successful people. I get that. Our inner-circle matters. There’s a lot of truth to the words made famous by Jim Rohn that we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with.
But if I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that fulfillment comes when we’re focused on raising up others instead of worrying solely about who lifts our own stock.
That’s why this question is so effective. It flips the common question of “Who are you grateful for?” on its head while forcing you to think about the specific people you want to positively impact while opening the door to think about how to do that.
Who are the five people you want to say your name when they’re asked who they’re grateful for?
Sit with this question and zero in until you can see the lines on their faces.
Our lives aren’t measured by who inspires us but rather by who we inspire. If you want to change the world in 2022, screw selfishness and care for five people.
How can I serve my community without creating noise or distractions?
When Jay Clouse, host of the hit podcast Creative Elements, shared this question on Twitter, I immediately reached out to ask if I could use it in the book I’m writing about how quiet people can draw attention to themselves without drawing attention to themselves. My favorite creators and people don’t rely on gimmicks or noise to get attention.
“I’ve got X amount of followers!”
“I’ve earned X amount of money!”
“The world is burning!”
Are these really the messages the world needs right now?
Is posting a dozen times a day on Twitter just to post a dozen times a day on Twitter really helping?
Do we want to be led by people who lead with titles, numbers, or messages that evoke fear in others or create even more of a divide?
I love Jay’s question. It tells me he’s the type of person who has no problem quietly doing his work for the benefit of others which is a seriously attractive quality.
“How can I serve my community without creating noise or a distraction?”
This question forces you to prioritize maximizing other people’s time over your own.
And if there was one message the world needs right now, that’s it.