Questions for Reflection
and Discussion

 

Preface

Chapter 1: CHOICE

Chapter 2: NEGATIVITY

Chapter 3: POSITIVITY

Chapter 4: STARTING AGAIN

Chapter 5: UNFAIRNESS

Chapter 6: HAPPINESS

Chapter 7: THE LIMELIGHT: STEALING

Chapter 8: THE LIMELIGHT: SHARING

Chapter 9: NAMES

Chapter 10: KINDNESS

Chapter 11: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

Chapter 12: HONESTY

Chapter 13: CONVERSATION

Chapter 14: CREATIVE LOVE

Chapter 15: PATIENCE

Chapter 16: AVOIDING TROUBLE

Chapter 17: DRAMA

Chapter 18: MOTIVES

Chapter 19: VITAL SIGNS

Chapter 20: SOFTENING BLOWS

Chapter 21: ASKING QUESTIONS

Chapter 22: RESPECT

Chapter 23: COMPLIANCE

Chapter 24: PEOPLE VS. PROBLEMS

Chapter 25: EXPECTATIONS

Chapter 26: HUMILITY

Chapter 27: AWKWARDNESS

Chapter 28: APOLOGIES

Chapter 29: SAYING NO

Chapter 30: AVOIDANCE

Chapter 31: BOWING OUT

Chapter 32: CONDOLENCES

Chapter 33: WORRY

Chapter 34: EXTREMES

Chapter 35: LIMITATIONS

Chapter 36: PAST VS. PRESENT

Chapter 37: SILENCE

Chapter 38: BOREDOM

Chapter 39: LEMONADE

Chapter 40: LAUGHTER

Chapter 41: BEING AN ADULT

Chapter 42: WONDER

Chapter 43: GOING BEYOND

 


PREFACE:

  1. What lead to your reading this book? What are your expectations, based on what you know about the book so far?
  2. How do you react or respond when someone offers you advice?
  3. Do you tend to be someone who seeks advice?
  4. What’s some of the best advice you’ve gotten so far? Why do you consider it the best?
  5. Are you famous for giving any certain advice often? Do you remember where you first came across this advice?

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CHAPTER 1:

  1. You always have a choice. What do you think of this idea? Is this hard for you to accept or believe?
  2. In what areas is it most difficult for you to feel that you have a choice?
  3. Think about an area where you feel stuck right now. Try to name at least three choices you could make in this situation. What might the results or consequences of each of these choices be? Are those results or consequences certain, likely, possible or imagined?
  4. What are some of the benefits of remembering that you always have a choice?
  5. Are there any downsides you see to accepting that you always have a choice?

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CHAPTER 2:

  1. What is your reaction to the idea that “being miserable is a choice”?
  2. Do you consider yourself a negative person?
  3. Take a risk: ask 3 to 5 people who know you very, “Please be honest with me — do you think of me as a positive or negative person?” Don’t debate, argue or cajole. Just listen. Regardless of the answers you receive, ask each person, “What about me makes you say that?” If you are using these questions for group discussion, regardless of whether you know everyone well or not, consider asking the other group members to answer this about you.
  4. This chapter suggests that there is always a perceived gain for what we do in life. If you’ve become negative in a certain area — or in general — what do you think your own perceived gain might be?
  5. What do you fear you might lose by committing with others to change patterns of negativity?
  6. How might your life change if you were to truly let go of negativity? Imagine a specific area or relationship that would be affected, and then describe the change you imagine might be possible in as much detail as you can within your group, to a friend or in writing.

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CHAPTER 3:

  1. What do you think of the idea that simply being less negative doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a positive person?
  2. Who is the most genuinely positive person you know? How do you feel when you are around them? Do you find this person inspiring or daunting?
  3. Think of one challenging or difficult situation you currently face. Try to name at least one “silver lining” that exists in this situation.
  4. How do you feel when challenged to consider the silver lining in difficult situations? Rueful? Sarcastic? Thankful? Cheerful? Neutral? Something else?
  5. How drastic a shift would it be for you to practice The Silver Lining Game on a regular basis? Does this seem realistic to you?

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CHAPTER 4:

  1. What are some times when you’ve had to start over in life? How did you handle those times?
  2. What are some words or phrases that you associate with starting over?
  3. Do you consider yourself a self-motivator when it comes to starting over, or do you fare better with help? If the latter, do you tend to seek out that help when you need it, or to avoid starting over instead?
  4. Is there any area where you’d presently like to start over? What holds you back?

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CHAPTER 5:

  1. Can you think of a person in your own life who tends to see life as categorically unfair to them? How do you feel when you spend time in the company of this person?
  2. Are there circumstances you feel or have felt to be unfair about your life?
  3. When things seem unfair in your own life, how do you tend to respond?
  4. When you advise a friend or family member who is feeling that life is unfair, what might you be likely to say? How closely does your advice to others match your personal reactions when your own life seems unfair?
  5. Can you think of a specific time when you reacted well to unfair circumstances? How do you think your choices affected the events that followed?

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CHAPTER 6:

  1. What do you think are some tell-tale signs that we might be relying on others for our own happiness?
  2. Be honest: Are you currently letting your happiness hinge on someone else’s actions or responses to you? If not, have you ever?
  3. What are the perceived benefits of letting others make you happy? What are the drawbacks?
  4. Consider the central piece of advice in this chapter: “If you’re expecting someone else to make you happy, you never will be.” Is this concept a new one for you to consider? Do you think it is sound advice? If not, what problems do you see with it?
  5. What is your personal response to the related claim that “ . . . no one can make you mad. Or jealous ”? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  6. How difficult a change would it be for you at this point in your life to apply the advice from this chapter? What realistic first step would you need to take in order to put it into practice?

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CHAPTER 7:

  1. Think of a specific person you know whom you would consider a “limelight stealer.” What is your attitude toward this person? How do you respond when this person is around you and begins to steal the limelight?
  2. Are there times when you yourself tend to steal the limelight, or are tempted to, by one-upping others or being sure they “know that you know”? Can you recall the specifics of a time when you stole the limelight?
  3. Has anyone ever actually told you that you stole the limelight after the fact? How did they express this to you?
  4. Can you identify at all with being a “silent” limelight stealer, through smug or condescending looks or attitudes?
  5. What do you think about the advice to consider whether what you feel compelled to share will have any negative effects if you don’t say it, or any positive effects if you do? Does this seem practical or unrealistic to you?

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CHAPTER 8:

  1. Think of a specific person you know whom you would consider an active “limelight sharer.” What is your attitude toward this person? How do you respond when this person is around you?
  2. Would you consider yourself an active “limelight sharer”? On what do you base your answer?
  3. What is your honest reaction to the use of the terms “others-centered moments” and “me-centered moments”?
  4. What is the last specific and sincere compliment you received? Who gave it? How did you know it was sincere? How did you feel?
  5. What is the last specific and sincere compliment you gave? To whom did you give it? What was their reaction?
  6. Are you someone who thanks people specifically and often? If not, why do you think this is the case?
  7. As you consider the conversation tools of asking, reflecting and inviting, where would you place yourself on a scale of 1 (terrible) to 10 (terrific)? Do you feel some people just naturally have these skills? Or do you believe they can be developed by anyone, given practice?

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CHAPTER 9:

  1. How many different names (real, variations, nicknames, taunts, titles, etc.) can you recall having been called in your lifetime so far? Which was/is your favorite? Why? Which would you rather not have been called? Why?
  2. In your opinion, has the value of speaking others’ names been overestimated in this chapter?
  3. Do you think, on the whole, the social use of referring to people by name in conversation has changed over time where you live? If so, to what do you attribute this change?
  4. What are some generic fill-ins people tend to use socially in place of real names (example: “sir,” “guy,” “hun,” etc.)? Why do you think these fill-ins exist? Are you someone who uses these at all? If so, what are yours?
  5. Are you someone who is generally comfortable exchanging names and using names in everyday conversation with strangers? If so, were you always this way; and if you were not naturally this way, what changed? If you are not someone who is comfortable with names, why do you think that is?
  6. In the specific example of referring to wait staff at a restaurant by name and giving them your own name in conversation, how comfortable would you be with this right now in your life?
  7. Even those of us who are comfortable with names sometimes forget the importance of being intentional in this area. How are you doing being intentional about asking for, offering and using personal names lately?

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CHAPTER 10:

  1. Have you ever been on the receiving end of a Random Act of Kindness from a stranger or someone you did not know well? Relive the details for a moment. How did you react?
  2. When was the last time (if ever) that you initiated an intentional act of kindness for a stranger or someone you did not know well? Relive those details for a moment. How did the interaction go, from your perspective and theirs? How did you feel about it afterward?
  3. What positive effects do you think it might have on your life if you became intentional and regular about practicing kindness? How would you define “intentional” and “regular” as it pertains to this idea? Can you foresee any negative effects of adopting this mindset and practice?

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CHAPTER 11:

  1. What is your initial reaction to the idea of specifically voicing positive expectations in your relationships?
  2. Do you think this practice is harder for some subsets of people than others (e.g., men/women, teens/adults, Northerners/Southerners, blue collar/white collar, etc.)? If so, on what do you base that assumption?
  3. Think of one person in your life with whom you might particularly like to have positive “ground rules” established? What about your current relationship with this person made you think of them when asked this question?
  4. How do you think you would react if someone took you out to dinner and expressed their desire to take their relationship with you to a new place by establishing the kinds of positive expectations described in this chapter? Would this be an awkward conversation for you? Would you feel honored? Relieved? Pressured? Something else?
  5. These guidelines are not a magic formula. Are there other positive expectations you think might be a good addition? Would you suggest omitting, rephrasing or otherwise changing any of the three offered in this chapter? If so, which and why?

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CHAPTER 12:

  1. Prior to reading this chapter, would you have said that honesty is always the best policy? Why or why not?
  2. Has honesty, however good the intentions, ever gotten you into trouble? If so, recount one specific time this has happened. Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
  3. What are some self-serving reasons you or others might employ direct honesty? What are some noble or altruistic reasons you or others might employ direct honesty?
  4. How easy or difficult is it for you at this point to look beyond what someone is asking to why they might be asking it? Do you think this skill is innate, learned through practice, or a combination of the two?
  5. A short, three-point checklist was offered on the last page of this chapter, as a means of deciding if what you are about to say really needs to be said. It was followed by this question: “Think of your interactions in the last day or so. Using this screening process, what wouldn’t you have said?” How would you answer this question?

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CHAPTER 13:

  1. When it comes to conversation, are you someone who tends to draw others out, someone who needs to be drawn out, or neither?
  2. When there is silence in a conversation, what do you typically do?
  3. Who is one person with whom you’d really like to have more comfortable and fulfilling conversations?
  4. Of the five suggested approaches to conversation mentioned in this chapter, which do you feel you are best at right now? Which seems the most challenging for you?
  5. This chapter offers a lot of information, but that can sometimes feel overwhelming. What is one small first step that you could take toward improving your active listening and communication skills?

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CHAPTER 14:

  1. What is your initial reaction to the story of Ricky?
  2. This chapter is entitled “CREATIVE LOVE.” Do you feel love must be creative in order to be effective? Is it possible to have real love that is uncreative?
  3. Do you feel that only “creative people” can be creative in loving others? Or do you feel that being intentional about loving someone naturally results in greater creativity? (Neither? Both?)
  4. Reflect on a specific time when someone showed you what you would consider “creative love.” Who was the person? What were the circumstances? What makes you qualify this act as “creative”? Would you consider this person creative in general?
  5. Who is someone in your own life who you feel could use some creative love lately?

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CHAPTER 15:

  1. Who is the most patient person you know? Have they always been this patient, or was patience something they developed over time?
  2. If ten people who know you well were anonymously asked to describe you as either “patient” or “impatient” by clicking one or the other in a simple online survey, what do you think your score would come back as (considering that you get 10% for each person who clicks “patient”)?
  3. In what areas of life do you find yourself becoming impatient most often? What do you think it is about this particular type of situation that triggers your impatience?
  4. Can you think of one practical way to build patience into this area of your life?

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CHAPTER 16:

  1. If we’re honest, we all get ourselves into trouble sometimes. Do you tend to get into trouble more through things you do, things you say or things you think?
  2. From your perspective, is it easier to change behaviors, words or thoughts?
  3. When was the last time you found yourself in trouble of your own doing? How far ahead did you see it coming, if at all?
  4. In this area, what is something you could have done to “plan not to get into trouble” rather than just “not plan to get into trouble”? If you are discussing with a group, try brainstorming ways to avoid specific kinds of trouble.

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CHAPTER 17:

  1. Try completing this short definition in your own words: “Drama is __________.”
  2. Complete this sentence with an action or attitude: “People who love drama tend to __________.”
  3. Are you someone who secretly (or perhaps not so secretly) enjoys or perpetuates drama?
  4. Can you think of a personal situation where the central advice from this chapter did not (or would not) work? What about this situation do you think negates this advice?
  5. What difference is there, if any, between “not throwing fuel on a fire” and ignoring a real problem? Should both situations be treated essentially the same way? Explain your answer.

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CHAPTER 18:

  1. Do you agree or disagree with the central advice from this chapter, that motive is more important than behavior or outcome? On what do you base your answer?
  2. Most of us can quickly think of legal situations in which behavior is more important than motive, in the sense that the punishment is based on the behavior rather than the motive. Technicalities of the legal system aside, can you think of a specific interpersonal situation in which behavior is, in fact, more important than motive?
  3. Think of a current or recent situation where someone’s behavior really upset you. Now imagine that your job is to be this person’s defense lawyer. Brainstorm any possible motives which may have been less than diabolical (i.e., positive, neutral, ignorant, etc.), yet which could account for this person’s behavior. If you are discussing these questions with a group, have one member share a situation where someone’s behavior really upset them, and have the rest of the group offer possible “defenses” of this person’s motives.

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CHAPTER 19:

  1. Are you someone who tends to be aware of your own physical reactions during times of conflict or stress?
  2. Doctors and medical staff are trained to ask us simple questions in order to find out what our symptoms are during times of illness. How difficult do you think it would be for you to learn to ask yourself simple diagnostic questions during times of conflict or stress, and to answer those questions clearly aloud.

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CHAPTER 20:

  1. How does the idea of “throwing a bone” before delivering a potentially controversial message strike you?
  2. How difficult is it for you to think of and offer a positive, related and sincere compliment when you feel angry, threatened or disappointed?
  3. What might we lose by “throwing a bone” before delivering a tough message to someone? What stands to be gained by doing so?
  4. “Throwing a bone” is an others-centered practice when done with right motive. But in what ways could learning to soften blows benefit you yourself, as well?

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CHAPTER 21:

  1. Do you tend to ask good questions or make strong statements most often?
  2. By way of review, can you recall from the chapter some of the types of less-than-useful questions?
  3. Do you know anyone personally who you would consider to be an especially good question asker?
  4. Several benefits of using thoughtful questions instead of statements were discussed in this chapter. Can you think of any additional benefits that were not mentioned?

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CHAPTER 22:

  1. Were any of your existing ideas challenged while reading this chapter?
  2. Have you ever had someone demand that you respect them? What was/is your reaction to this person? In short, did their demands for respect work?
  3. Have you ever demanded respect from someone? What was this person’s reaction to you? Again, in short, did it work?
  4. Who is someone in your life whom it is hard for you to respect? Why? What would it take for them to earn your respect?
  5. Who is someone in your life whose respect you wish you could earn? What do you think it will take to earn this person’s respect?

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CHAPTER 23:

  1. Let’s start with a broad question: what is your reaction to the ideas presented in this chapter? Did you have any particularly strong positive or negative reactions?
  2. Can you think of any relationships where forced compliance is necessary, regardless of consideration for underlying issues that may exist? Is there a common element that characterizes such relationships?
  3. Can you recall any personal circumstances where compliance was gained but the “weeds” were still clearly evidenced later?
  4. Can you identify any relationships in your life right now where you are attempting to enforce compliance without having adequately considered the underlying causes or future effects?

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CHAPTER 24:

  1. How would you have reacted if Jerry had “done his deed” in your classroom (assuming you were the teacher)?
  2. How does the central piece of advice from this chapter parallel the advice from CHAPTER 18: MOTIVES (“The Best Advice So Far: Motive is more important than behavior or outcome”)? How do the two pieces of advice differ?
  3. Is there anyone in your life right now whom you’ve been treating as a problem rather than as a person? What are some positive characteristics about this person, or hopes you have for them outside of “the problem” as it relates to you?
  4. What is one way you can be intentional in your interactions with the person you chose above, so that they will feel like you see them as a person and not as a problem?

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CHAPTER 25:

  1. Bring to mind a time when you invested considerable time and energy into a project or endeavor (not an individual person just yet), and things did not turn out as you had planned. Was the outcome better or worse than you expected?
  2. What sort of conversations did you have with others (or what sort of self-dialog) when things did not turn out as you had planned in the situation above? In other words, how did you verbalize your feelings about it to others or to yourself? What kinds of words did you use?
  3. Did the outcome of the events above deter you from getting involved in similar endeavors afterward? For how long? Still?
  4. In this book, the idea of “perceived gain” is discussed. What was your perceived gain in investing time and energy into the endeavor above? In other words, what was your motivation for doing it?
  5. Now think of a person into whom you’ve invested a considerable amount of time and energy, yet with whom things did not turn out as you had hoped. Go back and respond to Questions 2, 3 and 4 above, with this person in mind.
  6. What kind of mindset change(s) would be necessary in order for you to invest fully again in people or situations similar to the ones above?

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CHAPTER 26:

  1. Prior to reading this chapter, was your perception of the concept of humility a largely positive or negative one? For what reason(s)? Has your perception changed or been challenged at all after having read this chapter?
  2. According to the viewpoint offered in this chapter, can a person be extremely talented or good looking, confident, extroverted or hold a position of leadership and still be humble? What might cause you to think of such a person as truly humble?
  3. According to this chapter, humility does not mean always deferring to what others want, being afraid to speak up, or allowing yourself to be mistreated. Have you ever confused humility with this type of behavior, in yourself or in others?
  4. Who is someone you’ve always considered to be humble? When viewed in light of the definition of humility offered in this chapter, would you still say this person is humble?
  5. As viewed in light of this chapter, do you consider yourself a humble person in general? Are there people you are more humble with than others? If so, why do you think that is the case?

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CHAPTER 27:

  1. What are some of the most awkward moments you can remember from your life thus far (“thus far” because you can be assured of having more)?
  2. As you remember or recount these awkward moments now, what is your current reaction to them? Do they seem every bit as bad as they seemed at the time? Worse? Funnier? Other?
  3. What has been your typical reaction when something awkward happens? Why do you think you have this reaction?
  4. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 = Excited and 10 = Utterly Horrified, how does the thought of “putting awkwardness out there on the table by calling it what it is” strike you?
  5. Go back to a situation you mentioned in Question 1 above. What do you imagine would have happened if you’d put the awkward thing out there by voicing it openly? Now pretend you get a cash prize if you are able to come up with at least one realistic positive outcome that may have happened if you’d voiced the awkwardness; what might such a realistic positive outcome have been?

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CHAPTER 28:

  1. If you had to choose one or the other, would you say you are someone who tends to apologize too much, or too little?
  2. Did/do you have good role models where apologies are concerned?
  3. Why do you think it is so difficult for people to apologize when they know they are in the wrong? Why do you think it is so tempting for people to apologize when they don’t mean it?
  4. This book makes no claim to have figured everything out, or to be the end-all-be-all of truth and wisdom. Are there any parts of this chapter with which you disagree? Why?
  5. Are there any specific thoughts from this chapter that you found to ring true and be a personal challenge where apologies are concerned?

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CHAPTER 29:

  1. Do you have a hard time saying no? If so, why do you think it’s so hard for you?
  2. Do you have a particularly easy time saying no? If so, do you think people ask you to do less because of it? Do you feel people take your “no” as rude or just matter-of-fact?
  3. In saying no, do you ever struggle with the impulse to over-explain why you are saying no?
  4. Think of a recent time when you said yes, but should have said no. What were the particular reasons you said yes to this person? What do you think would have happened had you said no, both personally and in terms of the task or event you would have declined?
  5. How do you feel after reading this chapter about the idea of simply but kindly saying no and leaving it at that?

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CHAPTER 30:

  1. Be brutally honest: regardless of when you last actually saw them, is there someone you’d rather avoid? What are some words that describe how you feel about running into this person?
  2. Three possible reasons for avoiding someone were suggested in this chapter. Can you think of any others that these three don’t cover?
  3. Think of the person you brought to mind above. Which of the three reasons, if any, best describes the reason you’d rather avoid the person?
  4. What is your reaction as you envision taking the specific approach offered in this chapter toward deciding not to duck from this person moving forward? Fill in this blank: “Taking that advice will be __________ for me.”

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CHAPTER 31:

  1. The “beasts” referred to in this chapter are voluntary “extras” we take on in life, which gradually take over, using up our energy and joy. Are there any beasts roaming around in your life right now?
  2. How did this activity or undertaking seem to you at first? Why did you originally get involved? What changed?
  3. How do you distinguish between an activity or undertaking that you should stick with a while longer even though it’s hard, and a beast?
  4. What do you imagine will happen if you kick your particular beast out? How does that compare with what reason tells you will likely happen?
  5. Envision yourself two weeks after putting your beast out for good. How does your life look from there?

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CHAPTER 32:

  1. Do you find it hard to know what to say to people during times of loss, or do you generally feel comfortable with what to say during such times?
  2. Do you see yourself in any of the cautionary examples from this chapter?
  3. During times of loss in your own life, what kinds of responses have you found personally most helpful? How did your relationship with the other person change your perception of what they offered by way of condolences?
  4. Do you agree or disagree with the particular advice centering on the example of sitting next to a severely burned person on a bus? Why?
  5. Did any of the suggestions as to “what not to do” from this chapter strike a particular chord with you?

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CHAPTER 33:

  1. Do you consider yourself a worrier?
  2. Do you think worrying is something we learn and, therefore, can change? Or do you think that worrying is just a part of some people’s personality which is beyond their control?
  3. A challenge was issued early on in this chapter: “Try to come up with one positive thing that worry accomplishes.” Can you?
  4. Do you have any effective strategies already in place for dealing with worry? How consistent are you in using them, if so? What are your thoughts on the “screening questions” presented in this chapter as a means of banishing worry?

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CHAPTER 34:

  1. Can you think of a recent time you spoke in extremes: never, always, no one, everyone, nothing, everything, etc.? If you were to be specific and remove the extreme words, what was it that was actually bothering you?
  2. If you are in a discussion group as you consider these questions right now, try some role playing. Take turns having one person throw out an extreme statement while others ask focused questions that help this person remove the extremes and get to the specific issue underneath.

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CHAPTER 35:

  1. Would you say that you more tend to do less than you are capable of doing, or that you struggle with constantly trying to do more than you should?
  2. What are some possible underlying causes of chronic underachievement? Are any of these true of you? How might you best address the things that hold you back from your potential?
  3. Many people don’t seem to understand fully that being an overachiever can have significantly negative effects on a person, even though outwardly that person is often perceived in a positive light. If you are an overachiever, try to describe (to the group or on paper to yourself) any negative effects that constantly trying to do more has had on you.
  4. How do you react to the idea that, without you and what you do in the world, the world will go on? Is this discouraging? Why do anything, if the world will go on without your doing it?

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CHAPTER 36:

  1. Think of one specific area where you have allowed (or are currently allowing) the past to color the present. If you’ve told yourself that these two things are “just like” one another, can you name a few differences between them?
  2. This chapter is not suggesting that you just give yourself a pep talk before facing a situation that seems similar to a past one, or that you grit your teeth and just plow through it. How is doing either of those things different from what is presented in this chapter?
  3. What is your biggest personal obstacle to separating the past from the present? What positive step could you take toward overcoming that obstacle?

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CHAPTER 37:

  1. Are you comfortable with silence? Are you intentional about cultivating silence in your life?
  2. Who is someone you know who does cultivate silence in their life? How would you describe this person?
  3. In an average week, not counting time you are asleep, how long would you estimate that you currently experience intentional silence?
  4. If you can remember, what sorts of thoughts tend to emerge during times when you are silent (e.g., while you are in bed, before you have fallen asleep)?
  5. What scares you about leaving room for silence and reflection in your life? What benefits do you think could come of it in your own life?
  6. Is there one time slot in your current schedule that you could turn into a time for cultivating silence if you were intentional?

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CHAPTER 38:

  1. How often do you find yourself feeling bored?
  2. What do you think about the suggestion that “most boredom is just laziness in disguise”?
  3. What factors do you think turn the creativity of childhood into boredom as we get older?
  4. Pretend you get a $100,000 prize if you can name five new things you could have done or tried today. Would you win the prize? (Prove it.)
  5. What is one new thing you will commit to try by tomorrow?

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CHAPTER 39:

  1. What adjectives come to mind when you consider the thought of (or actually see) kids running a lemonade stand?
  2. Simple question: do you stop? If you do not tend to stop, what sort of mental dialog goes on as you pass by, if any?
  3. This chapter is about more than deciding to stop at lemonade stands. What do you think the bigger ideas of this chapter are meant to be?

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CHAPTER 40:

  1. So … when was the last time you laughed so hard that you cried, your stomach hurt, or you couldn’t catch your breath?
  2. Have you ever had a sustained and utterly ridiculous episode of laughter that compared with “Kermit’s Closet”?
  3. If it’s been a while since you really belly laughed, why do you think that is? Did you used to laugh more at some time in the past? If so, what was it about that time that differs from now?
  4. Why do you think laughter has been compared to medicine?
  5. In general, why do you think adults laugh less often than children do? Is this par for the course — something we just need to accept? Or is it something we can change? Should we?

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CHAPTER 41:

  1. Reminisce a bit. What are a few things you loved to do when you were a kid?
  2. What was it that kept you from doing these things after a certain point in your life? Were they good reasons to stop?
  3. What do you think about the suggestion that time seems to go faster as we get older because we stop living in the present and start marking our lives in future deadlines?
  4. Do you think you would enjoy some of your favorite childhood activities if you tried them again now? What if a few of your closest friends were in on it? Would that change your perspective?
  5. What do you think the difference is, if any, between being childish and being childlike?

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CHAPTER 42:

  1. We use the verb form of “wonder ” somewhat regularly (e.g., “I wonder what’s keeping Joe.”); but we don’t often use the noun form. What are some synonyms for the noun form of “wonder”? (For those who are a little rusty with grammar, synonyms are other words that mean the same thing.)
  2. Are you able to recall the sense of wonder at things when you were younger? What do you think causes the shift to losing that sense of wonder as we get older?
  3. When is the last time you explored (an area, the woods, your attic, the Internet): truly explored, for the express purpose of finding out something you don’t already know or have not seen?
  4. What do you think about the idea that taking ourselves too seriously is one of the thieves of wonder?
  5. What practical steps could you take that might begin to restore your sense of wonder?

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CHAPTER 43:

  1. When was the last time you would say you were truly awe-struck by something (in a positive way)?
  2. Sometimes, we can get into ruts where even our leisure activities are chosen from a small set of predictable options. How often do you break your routine?
  3. Do you have a “bucket list”? If so, what are some of the things on it? How many have you achieved so far? Are you intentional about doing them, or are they more like pipedreams?
  4. If you do not have a “bucket list,” why not? In this moment, can you think of at least one thing that you’ve always wanted to do or try, a place you’ve wanted to visit? What would it take to make that a reality?
  5. You’ve made it to the end of this book. What will you choose to do differently from here?

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