Thought Provoking Questions

21 Deep Thought Provoking Questions


by Adele Gould

Deep Thought Provoking Questions – So What’s the Big Deal?

If there was an Association for People Who Appreciate Deep Thought Provoking Questions,  I would be a card carrying member – if not the president. I am famous (alright let’s call a spade a spade: notorious) in my circles for the way in which I engage with people when meeting them for the first time. My family and friends regard my actions with more than a modicum of amusement, which fascinates me somewhat since it all feels perfectly normal to me.

Let me place on record that I don’t besiege unsuspecting innocents in my path with my array of personal or thought provoking questions. I tread carefully and only initiate deep conversation if I sense that the person is comfortable communicating in this way.

That being said, I cannot deny that it is one of life’s truths that I hate small talk (see I Hate Small Talk)  and love deep conversation, because for me, life is all about the connections we make with others along the way, and one of the ways we achieve this is through deep philosophical exchanges and/or discussions.

Let’s face it – we all love talking about ourselves, especially when addressing someone who is really listening and interested, so as a listener, it is not that difficult for me to steer the conversation, using appropriate questions.

Although I include in my repertoire your run-of-the-mill, how-are-you, glad-to-meet-you types of questions, it doesn’t take long for me to progress to the next level. As a social worker in my former life it was my job to ask questions, so I’m no stranger to the task, and I am genuinely interested in getting to know what lies behind the masks that people wear (not that it’s any of my business in the real world!). The way I see it – why swim in shallow end when we can jump straight into the deep end? I don’t get why some people avoid this … or perhaps I do get it but I just don’t like it!

My Reputation Precedes Me

People who know me well tease me about my penchant for asking deep thought provoking questions – which they lovingly (but impolitely if you ask me) refer to as my ‘interrogation strategies’

A couple of years ago, when I was about to be introduced to my daughter’s new boyfriend, I was told that he had been forewarned to expect to be the target of my somewhat unconventional mode of communication.

21 Deep Thought Provoking Questions

Oh what a perfect opportunity for me to have some fun! After ordering from the lunch menu in the restaurant, I turned towards this young man and began: “Well, I have just two questions for you: How much do you earn, and what are your intentions with my daughter?”.

If he was momentarily taken aback he didn’t show it, but smiled back at me (probably thinking “Would I really want this person as a mother-in-law?”) But he knew that I was kidding (even I wouldn’t go that far!) and took it in good spirit, such that he (affectionately) told this story during his wedding speech!

So Who Am I?

At the top of this blog – next to my name – it says “Revealing Resilient [and] Real”. I chose those words very deliberately because they typify who I am:

Revealing: I’m pretty much an open book, comfortable sharing my deeper feelings, fears and failings

Resilient – I seem to have the capacity to bounce back from painful situations; and

Real – what you see is what you get. No airs  – just me, warts and all.

So – as I began to think about a topic for my next blog post, it occurred to me that it would be fitting for me to do a post on deep thought provoking questions. I scoured different sites and put together my own shortlist of 21 questions.  These questions – together with my personal answers – are listed below.

I want to stress that these are not the kind of questions that one would use in casual conversation. They are questions to use either for personal exploration, or to share with someone close to you.

Feel free to add your comments at the bottom of this post,  or you can email your comments to me (m;;y email address is at the bottom of this post) . Or (if you are so inclined ) send me your own answers to the questions.

My List of 21 Deep Thought Provoking

21 Deep Thought Provoking Questions

About Relationships

What does it mean to allow another person to truly love you?

It means allowing another person to experience my vulnerability and shortcomings and love me anyway

What makes love last?

Ongoing communication – always dealing with issues that arise instead of suppressing  feelings of resentment (because they will eventually emerge with greater strength);   being genuinely able and willing to accept differences

What need of yours does a good listener meet?

It is important to me that I feel seen and heard, and that my feelings are taken seriously

About The Self 

Why do you matter?

Because I am worth it;  because I have family and friends to whom I give support & from whom I receive support; and because I’m here on earth just once.

When you meet someone for the very first time what do you want that person to think about you?

That I am interesting and intelligent

If you could go back in time and give three pieces of advice to a younger version of yourself what would you say?

Don’t try to fix the mistakes your parents made with you,  by overcompensating with your own children;  face your challenges early – don’t wait until they get too difficult to deal with, and take seriously from an early age the importance of healthy eating and healthy living so that it becomes entrenched as a way of life

About Struggle

What are 3 life lessons you learned the hard way?

To think before I speak (or act);  to develop my sense of identity before I consider marriage; to focus my attention and enjoyment of life on today, because life can change in a split second

What makes you weird?

My discomfort with small talk and my need for creature-comforts – things that help me to feel physically and mentally comfortable. I won’t do without them, which can be annoying to others.  And I don’t travel light!

What makes you uncomfortable?

Small-talk, superficial social situations, parties

About Life Changing Moments

What is a quick decision you once made that changed your life for the better?

Long before the age of online introductions, and soon after my first marriage ended, I woke up at 3.00 o’clock one morning and created a personal ad to place in the companions section of the local newspaper, hoping simply to test the waters as a newly single woman. For the past 27 years I have been with a man who answered that ad, and we have been happily married for 17 of those years.

What would you say was a defining moment for you?

When I was studying group dynamics in my early 30s,  I was told by fellow students that they viewed me as ‘powerful’ (not power-hungry). That was a complete surprize to me because I had low self-esteem and considered myself to be somewhat ineffectual

What insight did you have that changed you?

I learned that my tendency to act impulsively and not think before I speak can me into hot water, sometimes having far-reaching effects.

About Strength

What is a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?

That most people would benefit from psychotherapy because if we deal with our unresolved issues before they impact our relationships,  we might avert all kinds of problems

How have your survived the challenges you have faced?

By being proactive – educating myself about the particular challenge, finding appropriate resources and accessing these, and obtaining support to deal with the challenge.  In this way  I have learned that I can survive all kinds of hardshiip, and emerge with renewed strength

What will you not tolerate?

Abuse and betrayal

About Inspiration

How have you been a role model to someone?

I have provided for my children a model of a healthy and harmonious marriage, thereby giving them hope in an era during which so many marriage end in divorce.

Who or what do you believe to be the greatest enemy of mankind?

Fanatic religious practice because I believe it is divisive and causes mankind’s greatest problems

Is there a skill that you have that you wish everyone had?

I have learned to communicate constructively and productively, which I believe has had a major role in the success of my marriage

About the Future

When you’re 90 years old (assuming you are still alive and kicking) what will matter most to you?

That the relationships I nurture today will still be there;  that I have mended fences with people I hurt, and that I have made peace with my regrets and forgiven myself for my mistakes

What do you believe your legacy to the world will be 50 years after your death?

50 years after my death my existence will be unknown to future generations. However, I would like to believe that I have had enough of a positive impact on my children and grandchildren that will enable them to pass on some of these important lessons to their children and grandchildren.

For what qualities to you want to be remembered by the people you love?

My passion, optimism/happy disposition, intelligence, creativity, kindness,  compassion, wisdom and strength (and …err… modesty?)

21 Deep Thought Provoking Questions

Email  me at  [emailme  addr=’’]

See About Adele Gould

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.