We're always running across lists of questions we should be asking our doctors, financial advisers, parole officers and so on. And I like those lists. This is not one of those lists. Not every question in the world is useful, and in fact many of them can actually make our lives harder and more painful. Like, say, these:

What's wrong with me?
These four words can be useful in some situations (for example, if one of your hands keeps trying to strangle you). But many of us constantly ask this question without realizing that doing so centers our attention on our most negative attributes—and focusing attention on anything is certain to make it grow.

When will my ship come in?
Happy expectation helps draw good things into your life. Compulsively asking when they'll arrive drives them away. Has anyone ever pestered you about getting something done? Remember how this made you want to slow down solely to annoy them? Don't choke good fortune by clutching at it. Identify what you want, do what you can to create it and then distract yourself. I guarantee that your ship will speed up.

Do I look fat in this?
Some clothes make you look slightly larger, some slightly smaller, but here's the truth: Whatever you're wearing, you look approximately as fat as you are. Accepting that fact frees up a ton of energy, lightening you considerably.

How can I maintain control?
I'm sorry to tell you, but you've never truly been in control of anything. You can't completely control your situation; any second, a meteorite could smash it to oblivion. Think you control your mind? I challenge you, right now, not to picture Elvis Presley swimming in a giant vat of guacamole. See?

Try asking, How can I respond harmoniously, and as gracefully as possible, to whatever occurs? This question offers a joyful ride rather than the grim march of illusory control.

Who will complete me?
This is closely related to the question Why aren't you completing me?, which, in its various iterations, has destroyed more relationships than restless legs syndrome and herpes combined. Memorable movie dialogue notwithstanding, wholeness is possible for every individual, and only whole individuals create truly healthy relationships. If you're searching for the One to complete you or raging at the One who isn't doing so, you're looking at the wrong One. Try the nearest reflective surface instead.

What will people think?
This is an excellent question to ask continuously if you want to live in the emotional equivalent of a Turkish prison. What other people think is none of your business. Ask yourself what you'll think on your deathbed if you spend your whole life worrying about others' opinions.

How can I convince everyone I'm right?
If you obsessively wonder how to win every argument, try something for me: Ask yourself when you've been wrong. If you've made a mistake, apologize. If you can't apologize (the other person is dead, on a top secret Navy SEAL mission, the pope), acknowledge your errors and learn from them. You'll feel better allowing yourself to be wrong than trying to prove you're always right. Am I wrong?


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