One of my favorite things to do is ask questions. I ask questions about everything. I want to know what is going on in people’s lives, how they thought those things went, and why they were in those situations. I want to know how things work. I want to know who made them work. If I’m honest, I want to know everything.
It’s easy to ask questions about the external world. Much of the time there is not much riding on the answer. It gets tricky when we start asking questions of ourselves. Who am I? Why am I here? (I’ll write a whole post on that question later.) What value do I add to the world?
That last question is my current topic of self research. What value do I add? I can stop and analyze my life and try to come up with some good answers, but I think the best answers come from my friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. I asked a simple question,
“What value do I add to your life?”
So far, I received mostly blank stares. When asked, my boss said, “In 44 years no one has ever asked me that.” Others have asked for time to think about it. A few others just seemed to not really care.
I dare you to ask the question. Most people will be gentle enough to give you kind answers, but some might not. Because we all want to feel valuable, finding out that we are not very helpful could be tough to hear. Someone might tell you that instead of adding value, you take it away. It is really easy to stop being a contributor and become a consumer.
Even though sometimes the truth hurts, it is good know. If you find that those closest to you think you are a value stealer, it’s time to break out of the rut.
Socrates’ guiding rule for life was, “Know thyself.” While I do not agree that I am the most important thing to know in the universe, I think it is good advice. Spend some time looking in and find out what’s there. If you find that you are more of a consumer than a contributor, start making plans to shift the balance today.
(Thanks so much for reading! If you have any thoughts or suggestions on this post feel free to drop a line in the comments section below.)