Tag Archive | Big Questions

The most important meta-question

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the most important meta-question [<link; short read]?”

“What is the most important question you can ask in any moment?”

What is the Macro / Biggest Picture / highest-order level?

Dominant Questions

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Whenever we ask a question, we’re ‘opening a mental process‘ [<link; short length], and our subconscious mind is working on it in the background. 

Using a different model, this is a kind priming – I call it question-priming. Asking a question mobilizes the Reticular Activation System (RAS) – which is essentially our pattern-recognition system.

We can open multiple processes at the same time.

Some are meaningful signal, others are useless noise.

Some give a more powerful signal than others – Jim Kwik calls these, dominant questions.

Some operate on short time-frames, others on very long time-frames. Some can even last a lifetime.”

“What are your current dominant questions?”

“They are three:

How can you master Thinking? How can you become a Super Thinker?

How can you optimize Learning? How can you maximize Learning efficiency?

How can you beautify this moment?

You can metaphorically think of them as ‘levels of magnification‘. This is an instance of hierarchization [<link; medium].”


Masterpiece Life

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I live a Masterpiece Life?”

Think like an Artist.

Start by sketching the Big Picture of your life.

Ask yourself:

Where do you want to get… and WHY? (Direction)
Who do you want to be… and WHY? (Guiding Stars)

Think Big. ALWAYS.

And don’t settle for the surface WHY. Go deep. Ask WHY as many times as you need until you reach the deepest level.

Have the Big Picture in view at ALL times.

Think of it as a painting. You’re constantly adding and removing details.

The process is as much additive as it is subtractive.

Constantly ask yourself:

Does this detail beautifully fit into my artwork?

Paint away EVERYTHING that does not… until there is nothing left to take away.”

Identity Design

The strongest force in the human personality is the need to remain consistent with how we define ourselves. (Tony Robbins)

Your sense of identity is the strongest psychological force in your entire life. (Tony Robbins)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Who are you?

I am Multitude.

I’ve grown immensely in the last few years. I didn’t know it was possible for someone to change so much in such a short time-span. This is what led me to create the model of life-density [<link; medium read].

There are many metrics you can use to measure progress. In my case, the most dramatic perhaps is my Identity Map, as I like to call it.

What does it look like?

What you see is just a part of it, a selection.

My Identity-Map

As I grow, I’ll certainly be adding more. Everything on the map I express as ‘I am…‘.

I’m using Brian Johnson‘s beautiful Big Three model, which identifies the essential areas of one’s life as being three in number.

The Big Three:
– Energy
– Work
– Love

What’s the reasoning behind it?

What’s important to understand is that, a few years ago, I started essentially from scratch. A blank page and a question at the top – one of the most important questions of my life:

Who do you want to be?

And, in time, I started adding to it. It took a few years of inner and outer exploration and countless iterations to reach its current form.

What was a key point in this process?

A realization which I had early on, which came as a sudden spark of insight:

Identity is a resource.

In a profound sense, at that point I became the Designer of my life. And much of the dramatic growth that followed was an outgrowth of this idea seed.

I’ve since realized that Identity is key to unlocking your full potential.

You become who you conceive as capable of becoming. That’s why it’s essential to Think Big [<link; medium read].

Another way to think of it is as an expression of a principle from Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Begin with the end in mind.

I call the items that make up the identity-map, identity-blocks. Every identity-block unlocks possibilities. It’s like a design blueprint for your life.

Some identity-blocks are not yet fully realized (eg Leader). Metaphorically, we could say they’re still at seedling stage.

Some identity-blocks are representational-models [link; medium read]. They’re shaping my Inner Reality, a process which I call ‘Reality Painting‘.

Some identity-blocks are tools, they have a powerful priming effect in the moment.

What were the identity-blocks that had the most dramatic impact on the process of identity creation?

In chronological order:

I am Creativity / a Creator.
I am a Life-Artist.
I am a Big Thinker.
I am a Polymath.
I am Multitude.


The best thing that can happen to a human being is to find a problem, to fall in love with that problem, and to live trying to solve that problem, unless another problem even more lovable appears. (Karl Popper)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What’s your lovable problem?”

“I have many. I like to think of them as beautiful puzzles, and I express them as questions. However I’m focusing on one at a time.”

“Which puzzle are you focusing on at the moment?”

“The order in which you do things matters. One puzzle can help you solve other puzzles. I call this process sequencing. Expressed as a question, it looks like this:

What is the optimal order to solve these puzzles?

You can think of it as a meta-puzzle.

To answer your question, my present focus is:

How to make fluid presence second nature, like breathing?

This question was inspired Josh Waitzkin.

I’ve come to realize that Presence is the most important meta-skill, hence the mot important Practice of all.”

The Central Question 2

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
(Mary Oliver,
Summer Day)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What do you want?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you want to find out?”


“Do you just sort of want to find out, or do you really REALLY want to?

Do you BURN to find out?”

“YES! But I don’t know how.”

The first step is to ASK the question, to really engage with it.

If you just passively read the question, it’s just a bunch of words put together, a verbal empty [<link; short read].

When you really ASK it, the question comes alive, and becomes a guide. You’re initiating a powerful Macro-Process [<link; short read].

What do you REALLY want, deep deep down?

To make it even more powerful, you can pair it with another question:

What do you want?
Who do you want to BE?”

“How long will it take?”

“It doesn’t matter.

This is a Meta-Decision [<link; medium read], a decision that will permanently alter the trajectory of your life. A profound investment in your future.

COMMIT to making it the Central Focus of your life, your ONE Thing until you find out.”

On Presence and Beauty

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I beautify any moment?”

Shine the light of consciousness on it.

Big Thinking

Thinking big is essential to extraordinary results. Success requires action, and action requires thought. But here’s the catch – the only actions that become springboards to succeeding big are those informed by big thinking to begin with. (Gary Keller, The ONE Thing)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Powerful ideas change you.”

“If you’re ready for them.”


Some change you on representational level, by altering your model of reality.

Some change you on perceptual level, by altering your perception of reality.

Some change you by expanding your horizon of possibility.

For me, the idea of thinking big from Gary Keller’s beautiful book The ONE Thing [<link] was one such idea.”

“In which of the three categories was it?”

“The last one.

When I read it, I immediately saw potential, and – implementation-focused as I am – set about exploring it.

I captured the essence of the idea with a mental model, which I called Big Thinking.

Big-Thinking is a very powerful tool.”

“What does it do?”

“Firstly, it primes your mind to operate on a higher-order level, by having the whole / big-picture / macro in view at all times.

Whole / Holistic, Big-picture, and Macro here are mental models, each offering a (subtly) different perspective.”

“So it’s a priming tool.”


This could mean, for instance, constantly bringing to mind your mortality, that there is an end, as a means to recalibrate, and – through a contrasting effect – to appreciate life more.

Secondly, it helps you to break through mental barriers, freeing you to dream big and allow yourself to explore the limits of the possible.

We all have implicit mental limits – some culturally conditioned, others self-imposed – which narrow our possibility horizon. By breaking through these limits, we allow ourselves to (creatively) mobilize more of our resources.

Applied to Questioning (The Art of Asking Questions), Big Thinking produces Big Questions.

A few examples:

How can I turn this obstacle upside down?
How can I turn EVERY obstacle upside down?

How can I achieve Creative Flow more consistently?
How can I achieve PERPETUAL Creative Flow?

How can I learn faster?
How can I EXPONENTIALLY speed up my learning?

How can I beautify this moment?
How can I beautify ANY moment?

How can I find a better job?
How can I TRANSCEND the job-system?

How can I master x?
How can I become WORLD-CLASS at x?

Or let’s take Meditation.

The normal practice is familiar: I’m going to meditate for x minutes, and call it a day.

With Big-Thinking, the practice becomes Macro-Meditation [<link; short read].

MY LIFE is my meditation. I NEVER stop meditating.

“What is the anchor point of your Macro-Meditation, the focal point you keep returning to?”


Turning obstacles upside down

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I woke up in an unresourceful state which messed up my entire morning ritual.”

“What do you think triggered it?”

“I think it was a combination of factors. I didn’t sleep very well, woke up with an intense lower-back pain, and felt cold. Normally I’m resistant to cold, so when I am feeling cold, it’s a sign that something is wrong.

It made me realize that changing state is the most important thing, because only in the resourceful / beautiful state you are able to effectively / efficiently access your resources and find solutions.”

“But didn’t you already know that?”

“I did, but this time it was different. It made me really engage with the questions:

How can I access the beautiful state under any conditions?
How can I make the beautiful state my center, my baseline?

Changing state became my implementation focus, my ONE Thing for this month, and I mobilized all my resources towards solving this puzzle.”

“Would you have mobilized your resources in this direction had you not encountered this obstacle?”

“No, I wouldn’t have.

I guess I’d started taking the beautiful state for granted. Every morning I’d do my activation ritual, charge up, and get down to work.

Only when my state impaired my capacity to get my soul work done – combined with an implementation mindset – that it finally became my work.”


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“You have a lot of Soul Quests. What are you focusing on right now?”


More specifically:

Live life on your own terms. (Darius Foroux)

Earn with your mind, not your time. (Naval Ravikant)

I turned both life-puzzles into Big Questions:

How to live life on your own terms?

How to earn with your mind, not your time?

Asking questions is a kind of Priming – your mind is working on them in the background. I call it question-priming.

Asking Big Questions is a kind of macro-priming – priming at the Macro level.”