Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What Do Your Questions Say About You?

The web is a bit like a Magic 8 Ball, isn't it? An empty little search box, ready for your question, for your quest. How will I find love? Why can't I be happy at work? When should I start a family? How do I install ceramic tile?

A lot of people come to this blog hoping to find the answers to many of the big questions: How to make a big decision. When to make a leap of faith. How to be happy. How to ask the universe for what you want most.

When we type these questions into search engines, we hope to find the answers, hope that there's something or someone that can help. We yearn, we seek, we inquire, we contemplate. And often something does turn up, and we seize it like a found coin glimmering on a dark and indeterminate path.

It's great that so many answers are out there. But there's one answer that these questions can conjure that you may not be aware of. And that's the answer of the questions.

In other words, what questions do you ask again and again? What pattern do you find in your questions? The things you type into the anonymous interface of a search engine are often the vessels for your most closely guarded dreams, wishes and secrets. Have you ever taken a moment to analyze what you're seeking?

Try writing them down somewhere private. Make a list that no one will find. What category do your questions fall into? (Maybe you're just trying to buy a power drill, but you know what I mean about the "big picture" questions, I think.) Love? Career? Spirit? Mental health? Physical health? What do you ask again and again? How do you phrase the questions? Which keywords come up again and again?

Do this for a week or two, and see what your wandering mind wants to know and when. When you're bored and sitting at your desk? When your kids are asleep? Early in the morning before you go to work?

While you may think you know what you want or what your questions are, write them down anyway. Like a food diary well-kept, what you find yourself asking may surprise you, or reveal patterns you weren't aware of. And by noting the time, you can discern when your mind is most eager, and what situations trigger your searching.

We all want answers. But first we need to know exactly what the questions are, and why we're asking them.

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