Throughout our lives one thing should never change: our quest to understand ourselves and others more clearly. When we learn about ourselves, the benefits are nearly endless: a sense of self, knowledge of our beliefs, understanding of our motivations, learning how and why others react to us in different ways, and – from the point of view of NEC® and emotional intelligence - how to maximize our potential and discover what may be holding us back. When we learn about others, we learn about empathy, caring, compassion and how to address other’s issues in a productive and successful way. Obviously, here I am just scratching the surface of how knowledge of ourselves and others has everlasting and extremely important, even profound, consequences.
I promised that I would provide you with exercises that will help you in your daily lives at home, with family and at work. The following list of questions was developed with “getting to know others and develop intimacy with them” in mind. But you’re likely to be stymied in answering them for yourselves too. In the process of finding your answers, you are going to reach some self-actualization. An added benefit of sharing these questions with others is avoiding and side-stepping the mundane, often superficial and unsatisfying interactions you have with others and substituting a deeper and more meaningful interaction.
Good luck and enjoy yourselves in your journey to discovery of yourself and others. You may have heard some of these questions before, but certainly not all of them. And, besides, throughout life and even day-to-day, your own answers may change. Even that fact reveals more about yourself and helps you on your path to discovery.
The first exercise helps you examine yourself and others on a day-to-day basis. You may find, if you perform the task with someone else, that you have a lot – or very little – in common. Either way, the journey is bound to be fun, stimulating and revealing.
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. What would constitute a perfect day for you?
4. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
5. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. For what in life do you feel the most grateful?
These questions are just the beginning. Next time be ready for a series of more intimate questions.
Credit for these exercises belongs to psychologist Arthur Aron, who developed them originally for people who want to fall in love and learn about their potential partner. But, the implications and uses for the questions are, to me, much more far reaching and potentially impactful.