The Hard Questions

answers questions self-reflection

You Already Know the Answer You Seek

Hard questions. They aren’t hard because the answer is difficult to figure out, like the advanced SAT questions I help kids solve. No, the ‘hard’ part of these questions is that we already know the answers, but we don’t want to face the implications.

We all have some hard questions nagging us. Maybe we’ve put off answering them because we don’t want to deal with the truth right now. Perhaps it’s not the right time, and we’ll deal with them when things are more settled, says the little demon of self-deception riding on your shoulder.

But when will that be? How long has it ‘not been the right time’? How long have you been waiting for things to be ‘more settled’? Or are things so crazy right now because of the very question you’re avoiding?

The truth is, the questions we avoid will force the issue by causing stress. You can't escape them or put them off without consequence.

Ignoring these questions, and the answers they demand, is just what the little monsters want. It's your personal dragon sowing chaos in your life.

Your partner always seems to be stressed out, so you don’t want to rock the boat by bringing up the question, “Is this relationship benefitting us?” Of course, maybe he or she is stressed out because of these very concerns. By appeasing, you’re just treating the symptoms, not the cause.

Or maybe things are fine. It’s smooth sailing but there’s no real progress. You go out for your run every morning, but you’re not getting any faster or running any farther. You’re not getting closer to your fitness goals. Do you question if you should change things up? Or do you remain ignorant, stubbornly sticking to your routine, putting off your dreams by simply going through the motions? This is a very different kind of demon: the demon of mediocrity.

A Marker of the Need to Grow

The hard questions are the ones we need to deal with to move forward in life. When they are lingering unanswered, we are stuck.

They are so hard to swallow because they usually revolve around admitting that the person we are now needs to change, and change is scary.

Why is this so painful? Why aren’t things going well?

Luckily, hard questions give us a clue as to what we need to work on within ourselves. They tell us where our weaknesses are. Fear is the dragon keeping us from our true potential. We can pretend we don't care what it's guarding, but the very fact that it exists means it's keeping something valuable from us. Seek it out and slay it.


Tomorrow, I'll explain the negative behaviors that give these hard questions so much power, which should reveal how to deal with them and take control of your life. Until then, take a minute to think about some things you've avoided thinking about.

Photo credit: Bilal Kamoon on Flickr