As a coach, my job is to ask questions.
I was thinking just now of all the questions I’ve asked people… if I had to choose just one to give me the best sense of a person and how they most likely live their lives, I’d ask them this one:
“What do you believe happens when you die?”
Are you simply worm food? In a place called Heaven? (Or Hell?) Do you meet up with 70 or so virgins? Do you have no clue what your answer is?
Are you eternal? Or finite?
Does it end with death? Or is death a new beginning?
Do you have no belief? Or no idea?
This question (and the conviction with which it is delivered) will give you some great insight as to how people live.
I can tell you this — most people fear death. They do not like to think about it much. It’s something to be sorry about, something to be avoided at all costs. And fear of death, if present (and whether acknowledged or not), has a huge influence on what one chooses in life. Huge.
For the record, I fall into the “eternal being” crowd. Don’t believe I started here. Don’t believe I end here. Don’t know what form I take next. This belief frees me up. Guilt, fear, worry do not have the power over me that they once did. They come up still, but I’m more conscious of their influence.
In a sense, my belief about death allows me not to take anything too seriously. As an eternal being, whatever’s going on is just a scene in the movie. It’s interesting, but not too terribly important. Nothing to get hung about.
Enjoying myself, feeling good, feeling connected — that feels important. And if it’s not important, at least it feels like a worthwhile strategy for my life.
But that’s based in my strong belief, my answer to the critical question.
If you feel like sharing, I’d be interested in your answer.
Or your thoughts on another question you feel tells you the most about someone.