I used this exercise on a class I taught about five years ago to get my students to look at themselves from a different perspective. I call it the “Dirty Dozen” because it keeps us from hiding our dirty laundry. That’s why I phrased these questions in the first person…to get you to internalize them.

Ask yourself these questions out loud (in private of course) and answer every one of them:

1. What three adjectives would my parents use to describe me to a teacher?

2. If what I am right now is God’s gift to me, and if what I become will be my gift to God, then what will my gift to God be?

3. Am I proud to be an American? If so, if my country had a choice to keep me or get rid of me, which would it choose? Why?

4. Would the child I once was be proud of the person I am now? Why or why not?

5. If “success” was based on level of self confidence, attitude, and ability to take action, would I be considered a success?

6. If I died tomorrow, would most people (give your age) be happy coming back to the earth as me?

7. If there was one thing about my attitude that I could change that would make a profound impact on my life…
1.) what would it be? and
2.) why haven’t I changed it?

8. If someone wrote a book about my life, would that book be inspirational and uplifting, or disappointing and depressing?

9. If I died tomorrow, what could they say about me in my eulogy that would inspire others?

10. Does my life’s story teach people “what to do” or “what not to do” with their life?

11. What do I spend more time doing, complaining about what I don’t have, or thanking God for what I do have?

12. Would I want God to treat me the way I’ve treated others?

If you got through these questions without a stain, great for you; continue doing what you’ve been doing, and teach others how you’re doing it. Heck, share your ideas with me (jmartin@rwuniversity.com), and I’ll publish them on our web site.

However, if you end up like I did the first time I answered these questions, stained and soiled, don’t get down on yourself. Instead, consider this a wake-up call to start making some necessary changes in your life. If you don’t change, the only other alternative would be to accept where you are right now. And we all know, “if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll going to keep getting what we got.” Thanks for dropping by RealWorld University, and remember to live purposefully.

God bless!

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