For the first half of the year, I made the decision to spend more of my time thinking. This is actually very hard for me to do. And since the human experience is not entirely unique, I could assume the same for you too.
The thing is, I’m scatterbrained. And impulsive. I’ve wasted lots of time jumping at opportunities that look shiny at the moment only to lead to a dead end. I’ve done this because I do not think. Don’t get me wrong, I let things cross my mind. But real thinking takes time. And at the end of it – if you’ve done it right – the questions you once thought were important may not matter at all.
Deep thought brings forth new, better questions and ultimately better decisions.
We are here to evolve. And evolution starts where real thought begins. I want to help you jump start your own deep thought experiment – which is why I reached out to a handful of accomplished professionals and asked them to share the questions they wish they had asked, are currently asking, or think you should be asking right now.
Our first thinker is Conrad Woody. Woody serves as a Principal at Korn Ferry International – one of the largest headhunting firms in the world. If anyone could tell me what I should be thinking about, it’s him. Here’s his take on the life questions you should start pondering right now:
What’s my why?
“It’s very easy to fall into a routine in your 30s,” says Woody. “Understanding your why is an effective way to ensure you’re making the best of this decade.” The word “purpose” can be overwhelming. Figuring out what drives you puts you in a better position to make decisions that eventually lead to your purpose.
How do I learn?
Woody understands the changing career landscape more than anyone. “Today’s environment requires you to elevate,” says Woody. “Ensure that you are positioning yourself with intentional learning and you will reap significant benefits down the road. Are you intentionally learning and acquiring new skills to propel you into the next decade of your life?”
Accessing the education to acquire these new skills has never been easier. As I write this. I use resources like Udemy, Coursera, and CreativeLive to quickly learn necessary skills, brush up on existing skills, or quench my curiosity.
Where do my relationships stand?
Living in Washington, DC will quickly teach you the importance of networking and relationships. “Are you effectively managing personal and business relationships?,” asks Woody. “Proactive relationship management takes work and practice. How are you managing your contacts effectively so you don’t have to heat up an ice cold network?” If you’re not sure where to start, check out this breakdown.
How do I nourish my body?
“Health and wellness is part of the success story of many,” says Woody. “Have you learned the value of health and wellness in direct correlation to professional career success? By going on a run, heading to the gym or playing a sport like tennis, you can open yourself up to new learnings, connections, and opportunities while taking care of your body.”
What am I doing for others?
“Doing for others is the key to enriching your life. What have you done for another? Giving your talent and treasures to those in need is always a good use of your time.”
Michael Clements is the Editor-in-Chief of Capitol File Magazine. He has spent his life focused on creative pursuits and suggests 30 somethings ask themselves these life questions:
Do I want the whole “married with kids thing”?
In a social media engrossed culture, Clements wants us to ask ourselves if we are getting into a committed relationship because we “really love this person and want to merge my life forever with theirs? Or just doing it because everyone I know is doing it?”
Andrew Jenks is the host of the critically-acclaimed documentary podcast series What Really Happened? Jenks has traveled the world– living in places like Japan, Katmandu, and Nepal. Here’s his take on the most important life questions to ask yourself right now:
Is there a better way I could be spending my time?
Jenks notes that studies don’t show much benefit from spending time on social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter. How much time are you honestly spending on social media and could it be better spent reading, writing, or working towards your goal?
What did I do today that my future self will thank me for?
Did I do something today that my future self will thank me for? If Obama could find 15 minutes to work out while President, so can you.
Camille Joseph serves as the Regional Vice President of State Government Affairs at Spectrum. Joseph lives in New York and has spent her career working behind the scenes of some of the largest political campaigns of our time. Like most millennials, Joseph waited before getting married and is now thinking about having a family. Here’s her take on the important life questions you should be asking right now:
Do I have life insurance?
I laughed when Joseph replied with this answer. But she’s dead serious. “Rates go up as you age and the best time to get your affairs in order is right now.”
Should I freeze/ harvest my eggs?
“By 35, every doctor will make you feel like your eggs are hard boiled. If having biological children is important to you and you are nearing 35, consider freezing your eggs.
What is my debt to savings ratio?
Our 30s is the age we start to seriously think about our future. If you haven’t calculated your debt to income ratio you’re nowhere near where you should be in taking steps to secure a stable financial future.
Ursula Lauriston is the Editor-in-Chief of Capitol Standard Magazine – DC’s fastest growing niche brand and lifestyle publication. A dynamic speaker and syndicated columnist, she has been featured in HuffPost, Black Enterprise, The Vault, and more. Find Ursula on Twitter @Urdiggy.
This article first appeared on Capitol Standard.