Your only competition

We spend too much of our precious time and energy comparing ourselves against everyone else (and their expectations). This is foolish.

Instead, we should focus on bettering ourselves. That’s how we grow — by aiming a little bit higher than we did on the previous attempt. By being or doing a little bit more than we did yesterday.

This week’s Quality Question: How can I surpass myself today?

Pick one area and push past your previous limit.

🏋️‍♀️ That could be lifting slightly heavier weights at the gym (or doing an extra rep, or one more set, or holding that plank for 30 more seconds)

🧘‍♂️ Or it could be meditating for one minute longer than you usually do (or adding an afternoon session)

✅ Or it could be finally getting started on that project that you have been procrastinating (taking even just one tiny step still counts, since it’s more than you did before).

Pick one thing to surpass yourself each day this week.

Quality Questions make it easy to apply the key lessons from the best self improvement books and talks to your life.

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Let it go

What are you holding on to that’s no longer serving you?

Maybe it’s an unfinished project that’s draining your creative energy. Or a previous commitment that just doesn’t make sense anymore in your current reality.

Or perhaps there’s an old story you’re still telling yourself about who you are, or how the world works…

Ask yourself: What do you need to let go of order to free up space in your calendar, your mind, or your heart?


Your Happy List

This week’s Quality Question includes an exercise from Mo Gawdat’s wonderful book, Solve for Happy:

Why not take a moment right now, pull out a pencil and a piece of paper, and jot down some of the things that make you happy. As assignments go, this one’s not too tough. The list can be nothing more than a string of short, declarative sentences that get right to the point and complete the phrase:

“I feel happy when ______________.”

Add to your “happy list” by also asking yourself:

What were the things that brought you joy as a little kid?

Once you finish, look over your list and find a way to add some more happiness and joy to your life this week.


Learning from your own experience

Learning is the process of integrating new information with what we already know. That sounds super obvious, but sometimes we forget to update our mental models with the new information that we gather through experience.

Here are two Quality Questions from James Clear and Greg McKeown to help you do just that:

Think of something you struggled with in the last year. What is one lesson you have learned from the experience?

Now, the opposite: Can you think of an example of a time you were expecting something to be difficult but it turned out to be easy?


A Decade Wiser

Here’s this week’s Quality Question:

Imagine a version of yourself from 10 years from now traveled back in time to give you some advice. What do you think “future you” would tell you?


Disarming your trigger

Last week we wrote:

We all have times when we get “triggered”.

Our higher cognitive functions go offline and we react from a place of hurt. In this mode, we often say and do things that we later regret.

And we asked you, what happens in your body when you get triggered?

Learning to identify the signals in your body that indicate you have been triggered is the first step to improving your response.

The next step is to create some space between the trigger and your reaction.

What can you do to help regulate your state when you get triggered?

It could be something as simple as taking a deep breath before responding. Or going outside.

Perhaps this is where a meditation or a mantra can help you. Or journaling what you’re feeling in that moment.

Finally, ask yourself: Why are you getting triggered?

Is there a pattern to the scenarios that trigger you? Look deeper and try to find the root cause. What about those scenarios is triggering?

Does it happen when you feel like you’re being judged? When someone pokes an insecurity or past trauma? Is it related to some stress you’re feeling (about money, your relationship, something else)?


Pulling your trigger

We may not like to admit it, but we all have times when we react badly.

Someone, maybe even a loved one, says or does something that “triggers” us. Our higher cognitive functions go offline and we react from a place of hurt. In this mode, we often say and do things that we later regret.

We can’t control what other people say and do to us, but we can learn to improve our reactions. These Quality Questions will help you do that.

To start, think about a time when you were triggered, and see if you can remember what you felt in your body and how you reacted.

What happens in your body when you get triggered?

  • Does your heart start beating faster?
  • Do you feel tightness in your throat or chest?
  • Do you start to raise your voice?

What happens next?

  • Do you attack the other person?
  • Do you become defensive?
  • Do you make snarky, passive-aggressive comments?
  • Or maybe you disengage and run away?

Becoming more aware and learning to identify the signals in your body that indicate you have been triggered is the first step to improving your response.


Living at the edge

We’ve spent the last few weeks asking questions to help you explore the edges of your comfort zone in your work, your love life, and your spiritual path.

These are difficult questions.

Answering these questions forces us to admit that we have fears, and that our fears are holding us back from being and achieving all that we desire.

If you missed or shied away from any of the three questions, take a few minutes now to go back and answer it.

You can also ask a friend to help you. Close friends can often see the fears that we don’t let ourselves see.

Now that you’ve spent some time with these questions, pick one area and ask yourself:

What is one thing I can focus on for the next month to play at my edge?

Playing at the edge of our ability and comfort evokes a feeling of flow and helps us gain a sense of meaning and satisfaction in life.

The goal is not to get anywhere in particular (we will always have an edge we are unwilling to cross), but to recognize that the most satisfying way to live life is to constantly play with your edge and express the best version of yourself you can in the world.


A deeper sense of meaning

This week we’re continuing the series on finding the edges of your comfort zone.

We already explored our fears around our work and relationships. Today let’s look at how our fears affect our spiritual life.

Whatever their religious affiliation, including ‘none at all’, most people agree they would like to be better connected to a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in the world.

This week’s question is designed to help you do that. Ask yourself:

What stops you from leading a deeper spiritual life?

Go beyond surface level excuses like, “I go to church already so I’m fine”, “I’m too busy for this woo woo stuff” and “I don’t like organized religion.”

What are your inner blocks to a more spiritual life?

Are you afraid of ‘being a fool’ and believing something that isn’t true?

Do you gain status by being viewed as practical and rational?

Are you worried that if you followed a path of meaning you would lose out on the more concrete things the material world is offering you?

Find what feels true for you. Don’t try to change anything now, just bring awareness to what is really going on.


Fearless in Love

Last week we began a new series, finding the edge of your comfort zone.

We started by exploring what your work would look like if it weren’t constrained by fear.

This week, let’s apply the same principle to your relationships.

If you were truly fearless, what kind of relationship would you be in?

Would it be a relationship with more passion and sex?

Would it be a relationship with someone who is more successful and inspiring — someone who pushes you further in the direction you want to go?

The purpose of this exercise is not just to imagine some fictional person who could fulfill all of your fantasies…

Instead the purpose is to help you think about: what it is that you are afraid to ask for from your current or prospective partner. And what it is in you that makes you afraid.

For example, do you feel guilty or unworthy when someone is too kind and compassionate?

Do you have insecurities around your sexual prowess?

Is there a fear that allowing your partner to grow might make them grow apart from you?

These are not easy questions to wrestle with, but know that everyone has these kind of fears.

There is nothing wrong with you for having them! And knowing yourself via honest reflection is the key to growing beyond where you are today.

Take some time now to reflect on what insecurities are holding you back from being the kind of person who has the relationship you are looking for.