As I mentioned in their comments, though, there are some "thought experiment" type questions that I do find useful, albeit more as sources of information about my true preferences than as guides to how I should actually live my life.
One such question is the popular "would you keep doing your job if you didn't need the money?" There have been times in my career when I would have answered "yes" to that, but now is not one of those times. This is interesting information, but it doesn't mean that I should quit my job, or even that I should try to find a new job. Right now, the work that I think I'd be doing if I didn't need money is researching and writing non-fiction books that examine interesting questions using a variety of approaches- similar to what Michael Pollan does in The Botany of Desire, but probably quirkier and far less commercially viable.
So yeah, I'm not going to toss my current career overboard for that. But maybe I could think about why the idea of writing that sort of book appeals to me, and see what that tells me about how I should be spending my life.
I recently came across another useful thought experiment question in Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In (Yes, I will probably write a post about my reaction to this book and my reaction to some of the other reactions to it... but not until I finish the book. Spoiler alert: I'm really liking the book so far.)
|A fear I won't be conquering|
"Writing this book is not just me encouraging others to lean in. This is me leaning in. Writing this book is what I would do if I weren't afraid."
While I was out for my lunchtime walk yesterday, I realized that I know the answer to that question I want to be a "maker" even if that means exposing myself to the nastiness of the "haters" in this world. My answer to that hokey Facebook question showed me that I still have some fears holding me back. Having that information is quite powerful. Now I just have to decide what to do with it.
for me right now, and that was very, very interesting. I am not ready to blog about it, because I haven't decided if I'll act on it. After all, sometimes our fears are quite rational and deserve to be respected. In some ways, I have already started to stare down some of my fears, in that I've decided
Do you have any favorite thought experiment questions? Share them in the comments.