5 Life-Changing Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Right Now

5 Life-Changing Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Right Now

Why are you more concerned with where you’re going than where you are?

Why are you more concerned with what you’re going to do than what you’re doing?

Why aren’t you paying attention to how you live your life right this very moment?

Why are you wasting this moment?

Why, indeed, are you wasting your life?


The above questions come from a book I read a few years ago in school – No Impact Man by Colin Beavan. The book chronicles one man’s year-long journey to attempt to radically live eco-friendly in hopes of reducing his environmental footprint to zero. Throughout the book, the author discusses what motivated him to make these drastic changes and his take on going against societal and cultural norms. Immediately after reading this, the questions above resonated with me and I felt incredibly guilty. Still, even several years after reading the book, these words still strike me deeply.

The questions above are from a story in the book involving a Zen master and his student. The Zen master is meditating under a tree when he sees one of his monks walk by with a large pot on his way to the well. He fills up his pot and hurriedly returns back up the path. In his haste, the monk’s pot teeters back and forth, slopping water on the path as he walks.

The Zen master sees this and shouts at his monk, asking why he is needlessly wasting the water in his pot. He is upset with his monk because his act of hastily wasting the water in the pot is telling of how the monk lives his life:

Because the monk is solely focused on reaching the end of the path, he is not carefully attending to his life as he should be, and is instead being wasteful in the present

So what is in your pot? What are you failing to care for, attend to, or appreciate due to your gaze being fixed so far down the road? A languishing relationship with your boyfriend, girlfriend, mother or father? Stressing about work in the limited time you have to spend with those who matter most? Well, you’re not alone, and it’s not your fault. It’s far too easy to become obsessed with our future plans – whether they be career plans, life plans, travel plans, etc. We are pressured from all angles to be “successful” and to live up to others’ standards, and this only pushes our gaze further down the road, and further away from the present, where it should be.

However, the present is all we have.

Are you wasting it?