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24 Life-Changing Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

24 Life-Changing Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

Everyone has those moments in life when you stop and evaluate where you’re at and where you’re heading. Most of the time those evaluations come because of a simple but powerful question. These types of questions can change our lives, turn us in another direction and open our minds to new experiences and people. Here are some life-changing questions that you might ask yourself one day:

1.Where will I be in 5 years if I keep heading in this direction?

Are you doing the things you want to be doing and becoming the person you want to become or are you heading in another direction?

2.What if today was my last day?

Would you waste your time playing games on your phone and commenting on your friends Facebook posts or would you actually call your friends and set up a lunch. Would you be more active or would you just relax. How would your day be different if it was your last one?

3. Do I volunteer enough?

Helping others is one the greatest things we can do. But do we set apart enough time for it? Do we donate to charities or volunteer at shelters, do we help strangers open the door when their arms are full? Service is good for all parties involved.

4.Do I want to have children?

Whether you decide to have children or not, both decisions will have a great impact on the rest of your life. Children are a big responsibility. Some people would prefer to adopt, others to not have children. There are many routes to take. The one you choose will depend on the goals and desires you have for your life.

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5. Should I finish my education or figure out what I want to do first?

Some people prefer to take time travelling or working before going to school. They focus on discovering who they are and what they have a passion for. Other people make the decision to finish their education and work towards finding a career. Yet others choose to forgo school and jump into a career. Each choice will help you learn about yourself, it just depends on the route that works best for you.

6. Do I see myself being married or would I be ok with a committed relationship?

Some people prefer to get married, others find that a committed relationship best suits them. It’s a choice that for some people is clear but for others it could depend on their situation in life or the person they are with.

7. Should I have plastic surgery?

Whether it’s health related or personal preference, this is a big decision for a lot people. Changing your physical appearance isn’t a little thing. Whatever your reasons for doing it, make sure you know it’s what you want.

8.Do I want t o settle down or have the freedom to move around?

Is buying a house the right move for you or do you want the freedom to travel and pick up and leave whenever you want? I’ve been in both situations in my life. Right now my husband and I are renting so that we can up and move if an opportunity presents itself. Other people prefer the security of a permanent home.

9.Am I who I want to be?

What kind of person have you always to be? Are that person? Or are you way off the path you thought you would be on? Do you still want to be that person or have things changed for you? All these questions can help you figure out who you are and who you want to become.

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10. Am I happy with my career choice?

Choosing a career can be hard for some people, for others it’s a no-brainer. Once you break into your desired field, you might find it’s not what you expected. Then you have to decide if you just push through it and hope for the best, if you change careers or if you should go back to school.

11. Should I ask my boss for a raise?

This can be really hard for some people, but what’s the worst that could happen? Your boss could say no. But it lets them know that you are serious about your job and that you’re working hard to move up.

12. Have I experienced enough of other cultures?

The world is full of people who have different traditions, cultures, languages, etc. You’ll find those differences all the way across the ocean and even down the street. Go out and learn about other people.

13. Am I dating/married to/committed to the right person?

Whatever type of relationship you are in, you need to make sure that the other person is the right one. Encourage open communication between the two of you and make sure you are both heading in the same direction.

14.Am I living with a positive outlook and passion for life?

Life should be exciting. You should be doing things that you are happy doing and that you have a passion for.

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15.Are the people in my social circle a positive influence on my life?

You are a reflection of the people you spend time with. Do they encourage you to be a better person or do they bring you down? This can be a hard change to make, but sometimes we all need to reevaluate the type of people we consider our friends.

16. Am I living a physically/mentally/spiritually healthy lifestyle?

Your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing are all your personal responsibility. Take care of your mind, body and spirit. Do things you enjoy doing that will help keep you healthy in all aspects of life.

17. Do I take time to stop and enjoy the simple things around me?

Small but important things happen to you every day. Take the time appreciate and acknowledge them.

18.What would I change if I saw the world through a child’s eyes?

Children see things through innocent eyes. They notice things adults tend to miss. Try to see what life is like through their simple eyes and maybe you’ll notice a few more things and be grateful for a lot more.

19. Have I set money aside for an emergency?

Money is something that you have to have but never seem to have enough of. Make sure that no matter what, you are budgeting so that you have money put away for a rainy a day. You never know when that day will come, but it always does.

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20. Am I financially prepared to retire?

So many people are focused on what they need now that they forget to prepare themselves for the future. One day you will want to retire, make sure you do everything you need to financially so that you can.

21. How much money do I waste a month on worthless or meaningless things?

My husband and I re-budgeted when he got a new job and found out that we were spending around $4000 a year on fast food. We were shocked. My husband was still in school so our finances were a little tight and yet we were wasting all that money on cheap burgers. We started spending the money on groceries instead of eating out and found out that we saved around $3000 a year. I understand that sometimes you just need a Dollar Menu. But, when you’re trying to save money and stick within a budget, you need to plan ahead and be ready so you can save money.

22.  Am I spending enough time with the people I value the most?

Life is short. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you. Make sure that no matter how busy you are with work, school or other activities that you make time for the people who really matter.

23. Have I accomplished the dreams and goals I’ve set for myself?

Whatever point you’re at in life, you should have been able to accomplish some or most of your goals. Achieved goals don’t just fall into your lap; you have to actively pursue the things you want. Work hard and make things happen for yourself.

24. How have I improved as a result of my experiences?

Every experience you have, whether good or bad, becomes a part of you. What you learn from those experiences is up to you. Take what you can from them and become a better person because of things you have gone through in your own life.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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