50 good questions to ask yourself and others

The Thinker by 4johnny5 on Flickr

Oh, the joy of a good question.

I recently re-discovered an entire list of them when I switched over to Facebook timeline.

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I spotted “The Complete Book of Questions” — a little book tucked between texts that were twice its size — while working at a public library.

I was so delighted by the book that I read all 1001 of them, then selected 50 to pose to my friends on Facebook.

I think the list is worth re-posting, and re-pondering.

I can’t remember which questions are verbatim and which are paraphrased, or if they even appeared in this order, but I do know they start simple and get more personal.

I’m really curious about which questions will pique your interest. Please feel free to tackle them in the comments below!

50 good questions to ask yourself and others

1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

2. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?

3. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

4. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

5. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it?

6. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away?

7. Who is the biggest pack rat you know?

8. When making an entrance in to a party, do you make your presence known? Do you slip in and look for someone you know? Do you sneak in quietly and find a safe spot to roost?

9. What is your strongest sense? If you had to give one up, which would it be?

10. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

11. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

12. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

13. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

14. How often do you read the newspaper? Which paper? Which sections?

15. Which animals scare you most? Why?

16. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?

17. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received and savoured?

18. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?

19. Are you a creature of habit? Explain.

20. Are you high maintenance? Explain.

21. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits?

22. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends? Why?

23. Are you more inclined to “build your own empire” or unleash the potential of others?

24. What’s a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but have never (or rarely) shared with anyone?

25. What do you think about more than anything else?

26. What’s something that amazes you?

27. Do you prefer that people shoot straight with you or temper their words? Why?

28. Where’s your favourite place to take an out-of-town guest?

29. What’s one thing you’d rather pay someone to do than do yourself? Why?

30. Do you have a catchphrase?

31. What’s your reaction towards people who are outspoken about their beliefs? What conditions cause you to dislike or, conversely, enjoy talking with them?

32. How and where do you prefer to study?

33. What position do you sleep in?

34. What’s your all-time favourite town or city? Why?

35. What are the top three qualities that draw you to someone new?

36. How has your birth order/characteristics of siblings affected you?

37. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be?

38. If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be?

39. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

40. Do you believe ignorance is bliss? Why or why not?

41. What do you consider unforgivable?

42. Have you forgiven yourself for past personal failures? Why or why not?

43. How difficult is it for you to forgive someone who refuses to apologize?

44.Do you hold any convictions that you would be willing to die for?

45. To what extent do you trust people? Explain.

46. In what area of your life are you immature?

47. What was the best news you ever received?

48. How difficult is it for you to be honest, even when your words may be hurtful or unpopular?

49. When did you immediately click with someone you just met? Why? What was the long term result? Conversely, are you close with anyone now that you really disliked at first?

50. When do you find yourself singing?


Bullied teen’s message of hope touches thousands

Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.  ~Mary Anne Radmacher

His name is Jonah, and he has just been introduced to thousands. The now 14-year-old uploaded this video before starting 8th grade, and its simple message is this: he has been the target of bullying since the 1st grade, has cut himself and considered suicide — but he has since decided that his bullies will not get the best of him.

It’s difficult to know how to react to this video. Of course his brave declaration feels like something to celebrate — indeed, most comments are messages of support, empathy and admiration — but I can’t help but worry about how he is right now. I’m sure I’m not the only one reminded of the tragic Jamie Hubley story, and others like it.

Jonah’s video was uploaded in August, but it started to go viral in the first days of December. When I first saw it about an hour ago, it had around 11,000 likes. In the time it took me to write this post, that number climbed to over 14,000. (Oddly, the hit counter seems to be stuck at 908.)

Jonah mentions in the video that he only has one good friend at his school. A little internet sleuthing produced the following video and I, for one, was very happy to see him and his pal doing the things 14-year-olds should be doing.

I’ll conclude by saying that most of the 12,914 comments beneath the cue card video praise Jonah for his bravery, creativity and resilience. Many, many say that they know how badly it hurts to be bullied, and that they, too, would like to be Jonah’s friend.

It is my sincere hope that in the world beyond YouTube, as in the comment thread, the hateful voices are drowned out by the loving ones.

Kudos, Jonas. Please take good care.


Update, Dec 4: New online – a public page for Jonah Mowry and several support pages:

And — to my incredible relief — here is a brand new thank you video, complete with seasonal decorations, that shows Jonah looking healthy and happy after a full semester of 8th grade.

Some people are saying Jonah’s brave act has changed their life. Here’s the first response video I’ve seen, and I doubt it will be the last.


Update, Dec. 6: A friend told me the link to Jonah’s thank you video isn’t working, so here’s the note he posted on Facebook to explain the backstory behind the viral video and express his gratitude for all the support:

Jonah Mowry's thank you message on Facebook