early 14c., mesuren, “to exercise moderation;” mid-14c., “to deal out or divide up by measure,” also “to ascertain spatial dimensions, quantity, or capacity of by comparison with a standard;” from Old French mesurer “measure; moderate, curb”
What did you just ask? How will I measure my life? What do you mean? How do I apply numbers to that? How do I apply feelings to that? It’s an intriguing process.
Many people have event-driven goals in life, which achievements happen at an exact time, amount, or date. Sadly, most of these goals are handed to us by society. Society typically tells us what a meaningful life isー”freedom”, fame, fortune, reputation, status, material things, perfect body, corporate careers, even the food we are “supposed” to eat.
Let’s be clear, there is nothing wrong with that. However, when people are blind to everything else in the pursuit of one of these, they either quit along the way, or they achieve those outcomes and realize that they are empty inside. Or they realize that their desires were largely someone else’s goals for life.
To live an extraordinary life, it is imperative that we ask ourselves: What matters to me on my deathbed? As the best questions do, this question leads to more questions. The grandest adventures give you answers to questions that you didn’t ask in the beginning.
How is that so? Because the person you become, the relationships you develop, and the experiences that impact your perspective lead you down a process of answering and asking, in new and enhanced ways every time.
To Elevate us, we use questions as measurements for our life, rather than event-driven metrics and standard “societal” goals. We strive to answer the questions through LIVING. The problem with event-driven goals is that they lack awareness of what is happening to you along the way. Yes, by all means, get $10MM in the bank account. But how much are you enjoying life along the way, how much are you contributing to others, how much are you expressing your voice, how much better are you getting to know who you are inside?
We should all be living, we should all be experiencing, because in that mode of life, we learn so much. However, if we are racing through life without slowing down to think about where we are headed, then we are in an accelerated process of dying.
It’s impossible to find answers if you never ask in the first place. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you never ask, the answer can never be yes.
We are a living question. Our lives are an expression of our answers. We must learn to ask better questions to point us in the right direction, build momentum, and generate promise. Simultaneously, we have to understand that life is asking us questions. Instead of asking life for the answers, we must realize that we are living expressions of the questions of the universe, of our inner-universes too.
Your task here is to create a list of at least 10 non-binary open-ended questions, starting with clauses such as “In what ways…”, “How masterfully did I…”, or “How much…” or “What…” These clauses put your subconscious brain to work immediately. Your measurements should not be single words such as “happiness”, as happiness is an end goal. Your questions may result in intangible answers or actions. Depending on your question, and if you can, I highly encourage you to apply a number to your answer, so your measurement becomes clearer.
How much of my time was spent in the present moment?
How present was I with others, especially when they most needed me?
What did I do to lead a life that has the greatest meaning? What stories did I leave for others?
What stories did I leave for others about myself?
What stories did I leave for others about my family?
How do I know that the our family tree lives on in the hearts of our friends and loved ones?
How kind was I to strangers?
How present was I to the fact that we are all fighting our own battles?
How supportive was I in helping people along the way?
How do I know that the special people in my life know how I felt about them? What did I say and do with them? What did we create together?
Did I bring positivity and joy to the life journey of strangers and loved ones alike?
Can I rest knowing that I have said and done all that I desired with those who are important to me?
If my life was a book, how would I feel when I read it?
How courageous was I in taking risks? How do I know that I did not “play it safe” and I took my chances to make a dent in the universe?
What was the best moment of my life? What did I learn from the worst moments in my life? Which of my wisdom and experience did I share with others? What have I learned that would be valuable to share?
How much of life’s beauty did I give myself the chance to experience, so I can see all the beauty the world has to offer? How much did I honor my innate drive for exploration?
In what ways did I honor my curiosity, excitement, and aliveness? How well did I listen to my inner voice and the subtle clues that wanted me to explore the unbeaten path?
How positive were the conversations I had with myself? In what ways was I using language to encourage my best future?
In what ways did I love myself and water the seeds of self-love? In what ways did I follow my heart? In what ways did I share my love with others?
In what ways did I allow myself to be happy? In what ways did I contribute to the happiness of others?
How often did I acknowledge other people, especially my loved ones, so that I can make people feel heard, seen, and understood?
How many strangers’ days did I make? How much positive surprise did I bring to others’ lives?
How much joy did I feel? In what ways did I help others feel joyful too, so that we can all share this amazing feeling?
In what ways did I encourage myself to dream? How courageous was I in sharing my dreams with others? How many of my dreams did I execute?
How well did I form my attitudes to serve me? What empowering perspectives served me best in life?
How resilient was I each day? How many obstacles did I overcome in life? How many negative thoughts per day do I let pass through me?
How disciplined was I in management of my time, so that it could be spent in the ways that most fulfilled me? How wisely did I spend my time?
How much did I learn? In what ways did I grow, so that I can feel alive in the process of becoming a better me?
How well did I care for my body, so that I can use it to experience life, pursue what I love, and serve other people?
How dedicated was I in discovering my gifts, so that I can use them to contribute and serve humanity?
What did I do in my life that has been impactful? In what ways did I make the world a better place or leave behind something that will?
In what ways did I courageously express my voice, so that others can hear my music?
How many strong relationships did I build? How strong were these bonds?
Let these questions sink in. Then, write your own.
Remember, you are writing from your deathbed, wondering if your life was all it was hyped up to be. How would you know if you lived your best life? Ask those questions. Your life is too precious to be spent adrift, lost in a tumultuous sea, or flying in circles in the sky as you run out of gas with no place to land.
Improve the quality of your questions and Elevate your life. What actually matters? What is the feeling you are after? Don’t die with your song in you.