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Going Beyond Small Talk: Discovering Deeper Truths Through 10 Powerful Questions

Asking powerful questions can offer a window into someone's beliefs, values, and aspirations, providing valuable insights into their character and personality. From exploring their purpose in life to understanding their fears and aspirations, certain questions can help you get to know someone on a deeper level. In this article, we examine ten powerful questions and the information that can be gleaned from their responses, offering a roadmap for understanding and connecting with others.




"What do you believe in?"

This question can tell you about the respondents…

  • Worldview: A person's beliefs can shape their worldview, including how they see themselves and others, their place in the world, and their perspective on issues such as politics, religion, and ethics.

  • Experiences: People's beliefs are often shaped by their experiences and the people around them. Their answer can provide a glimpse into their life story and the factors that have influenced them.

  • Personality: Some people may be more open and expressive about their beliefs than others. Asking the question can reveal whether a person is introspective, confident, curious, or hesitant.

“What are you grateful for?

This question can tell you about the respondents…

  • Perspective on life: Someone who expresses gratitude is often someone who focuses on the positive aspects of their life, rather than dwelling on negative experiences or outcomes.

  • Relationships: Gratitude is often directed towards people or things that a person appreciates in their life, such as family, friends, or personal accomplishments.

  • Sense of well-being: Research has shown that expressing gratitude can lead to improved mental and physical health, so a person who is able to identify things they are grateful for may have a stronger sense of well-being.


“What is your purpose in life?

This question can tell you about the respondents…

  • Goals and aspirations: Someone's purpose in life is often closely tied to their goals and aspirations, so their answer can provide insight into what they want to achieve.

  • Sense of direction: Someone who has a clear sense of their purpose in life may also have a clear sense of direction and a greater sense of meaning and fulfillment.

  • Level of life satisfaction: Research has shown that having a sense of purpose in life is linked to greater life satisfaction and well-being, so a person who is able to articulate their purpose may have a higher level of life satisfaction.


“What is your biggest fear?”

This question can tell you about the respondents…

  • Vulnerability: Fear is often tied to feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty, so someone who is willing to share their biggest fear may be comfortable expressing their emotions and opening up to others.

  • Prior trials: A person's biggest fear is often tied to their life experiences and the things they have been through, so their answer can provide insight into their past and present challenges.

  • Coping mechanisms: A person's answer can offer valuable insights into their coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult situations and emotions, helping you analyze their behaviors and subtle cues more effectively.


"What is the one thing you would change about yourself if you could?"

This question can tell you about the respondents…

  • Self-perception: Someone's answer can provide insight into how they perceive themselves and their own shortcomings or weaknesses.

  • Traits or habits: Someone may identify a personal trait or habit they would like to change in order to achieve their goals or live the life they want.

  • Desire for self-improvement: Someone who is actively working to change or improve themselves may have a greater level of self-awareness and motivation for self-improvement.


"What is the one thing you would change about the world if you could?"

This question can tell you about the respondents…

  • Level of engagement: Someone's answer can provide insight into their level of awareness and engagement with current events and social issues.

  • Level of empathy: Someone's answer can also reveal their level of empathy and concern for others, as they may identify a change that would benefit those who are less fortunate.

  • Optimism: Alternatively, someone may answer that they would not change anything about the world, which could indicate a high level of optimism and a belief in the world's inherent goodness.


"What is the one thing you would like to be remembered for?"

This question can tell you about the respondents…

  • Legacy: Someone's answer can provide insight into the kind of legacy they hope to leave behind and what they want to be remembered for.

  • Level of introspection: Reflecting on what they want to be remembered for requires a degree of introspection, so their answer can provide insight into their level of self-awareness and reflection.

  • Their level of selflessness: Someone's answer can also reveal their level of selflessness and concern for others, as they may identify something they hope to do for the benefit of others rather than for personal recognition.



"What is the one lesson you have learned from life that you would like to pass on to others?"

This question can tell you about the respondents…

  • Communication skills: Someone's answer can provide insight into their ability to communicate complex ideas and distill them into a single, clear message.

  • Desire to help others: Someone's answer can also reveal their desire to help others and share the knowledge and wisdom they have gained through their own experiences.

  • Level of resilience: Someone's answer can provide insight into their ability to bounce back from setbacks and difficulties and what they have learned from those experiences.


"What is the one thing you would do if you knew you could not fail?"

This question can tell you about the respondents…

  • Fears: Someone's answer can also reveal their fears and insecurities, as they may identify something they have always wanted to do but have not due to fear of failing.

  • Creativity: Someone's answer can also reveal their level of creativity and imagination, as they may identify something that is unconventional or outside the box.

  • Risk-taking tendency: Someone's answer can also reveal their willingness to take risks and try new things, as they may identify something that requires stepping out of their comfort zone.


"What is the one thing that gives your life meaning?"

This question can tell you about the respondents…

  • Sense of fulfillment: Someone's answer can provide insight into the things that make them feel fulfilled and happy in life, and what they believe gives their life meaning.

  • Sense of responsibility: Someone's answer may reveal how much they feel responsible for making a positive impact on the world, and whether they find meaning in contributing to a greater cause or purpose.

  • Sense of community: Someone's answer may reveal how important their community is to them, and whether they find meaning in being part of a larger group or organization.


In this piece, we list and provide context behind the “10 powerful questions to ignite the soul” chapter found in Next 10: Coach Wisdom for Entrepreneurs, Business Owners, and CEOs Wondering What Moves to Make Next—a book written by the Host and Curator of Arete Coach Podcast, Severin Sorensen, with contributions from Amelia Chatterley.


Copyright © 2023 by Arete Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

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