Knowing ourselves is critical in building a fulfilling self-care routine and meaningful life. I recently came across The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D, which is filled with curious and thought-provoking questions.

Here are 21 questions from the book to help you spark self-discovery. (You also can pose these fascinating questions to others.)

  1. “Would you ever use a happiness-producing drug that had one serious side effect: The next day, you’d remember the wonderful feelings but not what had actually happened? Do you treasure any memories that are more about how you felt than what occurred?”
  2. “If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else and assume his or her life, would you do it? If so, who would you pick? What if you’d become the real you again in a month? or a year?”
  3. “What was your most enjoyable dream? Your worst nightmare?”
  4. “If you could become brilliant by having a visible scar stretching from your mouth to your ear, would you?”
  5. “Which would be worse: having to leave the country and never return, or never being able to travel more than 150 miles from where you live now?”
  6. “Do you work harder to earn praise and recognition or to avoid criticism?”
  7. “If you knew in a year you would die of a heart attack, how would you alter your life?”
  8. “Would you enjoy a month of solitude, all alone in an isolated, beautiful natural setting with food and shelter provided?”
  9. “For extraordinary wealth, would you be willing to have terrifying nightmares every night for a year?”
  10. “Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want as your dinner guest? your friend? your lover? What do you seek in a friend that you don’t expect from a lover?”
  11. “If what you owned had no bearing on what people thought of you, would you spend your money differently?”
  12. “Who is the most important person in your life? What could you do to improve the relationship? Will you ever do it?”
  13. “Would you rather play a game with someone less or more skilled than you? Would your answer be different if others were watching?”
  14. “Would you have one of your fingers removed surgically if it somehow guaranteed you immunity from all major diseases?”
  15. “If you could have free, unlimited service for 5 years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, masseuse, or personal secretary, which would you choose?”
  16. “Have your character and humanity been forged more by pleasure and success or by pain and disappointment?”
  17. “If you had to flee the country tomorrow and never return, where would you go to build a new life, and why?”
  18. “If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? What good might come out of telling them now?”
  19. “What do you feel more often: gratitude or envy? What are you most grateful for?”
  20. “If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about any one thing about yourself, life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know, and why?”
  21. “What do you like best about your life? least?”

Knowing ourselves is really the foundation for everything. After answering several questions, think about what you’ve learned about yourself. How can you apply those lessons to your self-care routine today? How can you apply them to leading a meaningful life?

Even if these questions don’t resonate with you, find questions that do. Keep asking them. Keeping contemplating what’s meaningful and important to you. And focus on living your life from those answers.