Culture | Learning | Lifestyle | Personal Growth | Philosophy

Add a Question Mark

Don’t accept the false stories people tell.
Things are neither good nor bad — they’re as neutral as a rock.
When people give opinions, add a question mark.
If they say, “Immigration is bad,” change it to, “Immigration is bad?”
Let the questions drift away, unanswered.
– Derek Sivers, How To Live

There’s a hidden message in this Sivers book that comes to you as you read it. Don’t take it all at face value. Question everything. Especially the very things you’re reading in his book. The advice feels both right on point and at other times the completely opposite of what you believe in your core. And that’s the point of it all. There’s no set way to live your life, question all advice and find what works for you.

I wish more people would add a question mark instead of just blindly believing what they hear from people with accumulated connections, titles and degrees. They may be absolutely correct about a position they take, but it’s just a story until we validate it ourselves. The old expression, “Trust, but verify” comes to mind. Add the question mark to those statements and watch them transform:

Vaccinations are meant to control people?

Government serves people?

There is only one true god?

You must stick with one company to grow your career?

You aren’t “qualified”?

Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time?

See? Most people throw their beliefs at us to try to make it stick in our own mind. Adding the question mark is like spraying teflon on our skull, making us immune to questionable stories, and making us assess the validity of the feasible. Every statement above could be true, or complete bullshit, but we don’t really know which at face value. We must add the question mark, and in doing so, pause and assess the original statement. Or, for the truly outlandish, let it drift away.

But Brady is definitely the GOAT. Right?

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