#1605 Areté +1° #54: 100 Questions

An Exercise to Create a Meaningful Life

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, another micro-chapter from my new book, Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential.

This is one of my all-time favorite exercises.


Michael Gelb wrote a great book called How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. I can still vividly remember reading it shortly after selling my first business nearly twenty-five years ago. It was life-changing.

Michael has a bunch of great exercises and distinctions to help us tap into our potential. Here’s one of my favorites.

It’s called the One Hundred Questions Exercise.

It goes like this… Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for forty-five to sixty minutes. Bring your journal and a pen. Start writing down questions. We want one hundred of them.

Your questions can be about whatever comes to mind. Why is the sky blue? What’s my purpose? Whatever you come up with is perfect. Just write them down. Again, we want one hundred of them.

If you’re like me, the first dozen or two will come pretty easily. And then you’ll need to dig a little deeper. Don’t stop until you get to one hundred.

That’s Part I.

Part II? Look at that list of questions and notice the themes that emerge. Maybe you had a bunch of questions about your health or relationships or purpose. Notice whatever categories and themes bubble up.

Part III? Now we’re ready for showtime. Look at those one hundred questions and pull out the ten questions you find most powerful and meaningful.

(Note: It’s not supposed to be easy. That’s the point. No pressure, no diamonds!!)

Once you have those ten questions, RANK ORDER them from the most powerful question down.

I did this exercise on Saturday, June 8th, 2001 and my life is basically a reflection of my top ten questions from that day.

Which begs the question… What questions are guiding YOUR life?!

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