For your writing inspiration this week, explore the questions in your life, what they mean, and how they drive you.
A few months ago, there was a post published on the New York Times that went viral. Friend after friend was sharing this guide “To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This.”
The questions, designed by psychologist Arthur Aron, are also accompanied by staring into your co-questioner’s eyes for four complete minutes. Could you do it?
In the article, the author shares her experience asking 36 questions developed by a psychologist, designed to make any two people to fall in love. The questions go from generic to increasingly intimate, building rapport and making it impossible to “rely on that narrative” we so often tell ourselves and others. As human beings, the desire to connect with other people is often considered a natural instinct. It’s not surprising such an article grew so widely popular.
Regardless of your thoughts on the efficacy of these 36 questions in particular, I can vividly recall a handful of conversations or moments in my life where someone asked me exactly the question that I needed to hear. Sometimes, it was “What are you afraid of?” and others, quite simply, began with “Are you okay?” Whether it’s a stranger, a friend, or a relative, some people are able to see right through our facade and make the most piercing inquiry into our lives.
As inspiration for your next blog post, take some time to call to mind those questions that have been game changers for you. To help get you started, consider these questions for your post about, well, questions:
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
- Have you ever had a conversation with an insightful stranger, or some shockingly perceptive self-talk, that changed the course of your life? What was it that hit home for you – where were you, and what were you going through? Walk us through the five W’s of your realization.
- Conversely, sometimes the most telling conversations are the ones we haven’t had. If there’s a question you never got to ask someone who was, or is, in your life, imagine what that would have been like. What would have been the end result? What might the dialogue have been like getting there?
- What is the question that drives you? If you’re a writer, developing characters might be about why people do the things they do. As a teacher, it may be wondering how people learn. Whatever your primary focus, what question are you trying to resolve?
- I’ve often come back to the quote by writer Rainer Maria Rilke (to the left) about how to “live the questions.” What questions are you currently asking in your life? What questions have you answered?
As writers, and human beings, questions are the foundation of how we change. Asking questions directly, and responding with intention and honesty, makes all the difference. With this week’s inspiration, take the time to examine your questions and share them with the world. Who knows, you just might ask exactly the right thing your readers need to hear.