Larry Bell's Powerful Words

Free Your Mind

Writing Google Proof Questions

Teaching Thought


Chaos and Order
1.What is the importance of civilization and what factors support or destroy its fabric?
2.What are the positive and negative aspects of both chaos and order?
3.What are the responsibilities and consequences of this new world order described as “global”?
4.What role does chaos play in the creative process?
5.What are the politics and consequences of war, and how do these vary based on an individual or cultural perspective?

Constructing Identities
1.How do we form and shape our identities?
2.In a culture where we are bombarded with ideas and images of “what we should be,”
3.How does one form an identity that remains true and authentic for her/himself?
4.What turning points determine our individual pathways to adulthood?
5.In a culture where we are bombarded with other people trying to define us, how do we make decisions for ourselves?

1.What is creativity and what is its importance for the individual / the culture?
2.What is art and its function in our lives?
3.What are the limits, if any, of freedom of speech?

Freedom and Responsibility
1.What is freedom?
2.What is the relationship between freedom and responsibility?
3.What are the essential liberties?
4.What is the relationship between privacy, freedom, and security?
5.When does government have the right to restrict the freedoms of people?
6.When is the restriction of freedom a good thing?

Good and Evil in the World
1.Is humankind inherently good or evil?
2.Have the forces of good and evil changed over time and if so, how?
3.How do different cultures shape the definitions of good and evil?

Heroes and “She-roes”
1.Do the attributes of a hero remain the same over time?
2.When does a positive personality trait become a tragic flaw?
3.What is the role of a hero or “she-roe” (coined by Maya Angelou) in a culture?
4.How do various cultures reward / recognize their heroes and “she-roes”?
5.Why is it important for people and cultures to construct narratives about their experience?
6.What is the relevance of studying multicultural texts?
7.How does the media shape our view of the world and ourselves?
8.In a culture where we are bombarded with other people trying to define us, how do we make decisions for ourselves?

The Human Condition / Spirit
1.In the face of adversity, what causes some individuals to prevail while others fail?
2.What is the meaning of life, and does that shape our beliefs regarding death?

Illusion vs. Reality
1.What is reality and how is it constructed?
2.What tools can the individual use to judge the difference, or draw a line between, illusion and reality?

Language & Literature
1.How is our understanding of culture and society constructed through and by language?
2.How can language be powerful?
3.How can you use language to empower yourself?
4.How is language used to manipulate us?
5.In what ways are language and power inseparable?
6.What is the relationship between thinking and language? How close or far are they apart?
7.How does language influence the way we think, act, and perceive the world?
8.How do authors use the resources of language to impact an audience?
9.How is literature like life?
10.What is literature supposed to do?
11.What influences a writer to create?
12.What is the purpose and function of art in our culture?
13.How does literature reveal the values of a given culture or time period?
14.How does the study of fiction and nonfiction texts help individuals construct their understanding of reality?
15.In what ways are all narratives influenced by bias and perspective?
16.Where does the meaning of a text reside? Within the text, within the reader, or in the transaction that occurs between them?
17.What can a reader know about an author’s intentions based only on a reading of the text?
18.What are enduring questions and conflicts that writers (and their cultures) grappled with hundreds of years ago and are still relevant today?
19.How do we gauge the optimism or pessimism of a particular time period or particular group of writers?
20.Why are there universal themes in literature–that is, themes that are of interest or concern to all cultures and societies?
21.What are the characteristics or elements that cause a piece of literature to endure?
22.What distinguishes a good read from great literature?
23.Who decides the criteria for judging whether or not a book is any good?
24.What is the purpose of: science fiction? satire? historical novels, etc.?

Love & Sacrifice
1.If any, what are the boundaries of love and sacrifice, and where does one draw the line between them?
2.What are the factors that move individuals / communities / nations to great sacrifice and what are the consequences?

Nature in the Balance
1.What are the responsibilities of the individual / society / superpowers in regard to the health of the environment? (local, regional, national or international context can be used)
2.What are the consequences of being unconcerned with nature’s balance/harmony?

Our View of the World and Ourselves
1.How do we know what we know?
2.What is changeable within ourselves?
3.How does what we know about the world shape the way we view ourselves?
4.How do our personal experiences shape our view of others?
5.What does it mean to be an insider or an outsider?
6.What does it mean to “grow up”?
7.Where do our definitions of good and evil come from?
8.What is the relevance of studying multicultural texts?
9.How does the media shape our view of the world and ourselves?
10.In a culture where we are bombarded with other people trying to define us, how do we make decisions for ourselves?
11.What turning points determine our individual pathways to adulthood?

Past, Present, and Future
1.Why do we bother to study/examine the past, present or future?
2.What are the recurrent motifs of history and in what ways have they changed or remained the same?

The Pursuit of Happiness
1.What is happiness, and what is the degree of importance in one’s life?
2.To what extent does a culture / society / subculture shape an individual’s understanding or concept of happiness?

Relationships and Community
1.What are the elements that build a strong friendship?
2.How do friendships change over time?
3.What impact does family have during different stages of our lives?
4.What can we learn from different generations?
5.How is conflict an inevitable part of relationships?
6.How do you know if a relationship is healthy or hurtful?
7.What personal qualities help or hinder the formation of relationships?
8.How are people transformed through their relationships with others?
9.What is community and what are the individual’s responsibilities to the community as well as the community’s responsibilities to the individual?

Shades of Truth
1.Who defines “truth”?
2.How does perspective shape or alter truth?

Which is a stronger emotion: anger or love?
Can insanity bring on more creativity?
Why does religion cause so much war?
Why is your definition of true happiness different from anyone else's definition of true happiness?
If you had to move to a state besides the one you currently live in, where would you move?
Would you give your life to save someone else's?
What is your quirkiest habit and how long have you had it?
Give your 20 favorite songs. Why do you like each one?
What is your saddest memor?
What is your happiest memory?
What do you want to do for a career and why?
If they were president, what would you do?

The Questions

1. If you dislike your family, are you obligated to spend time with them? Show up at family functions? Help them out in their time of need? Is a family even relevant anymore – especially when you have a close circle of friends?
2. Is it better to eat healthily all the time, or should we allow ourselves to indulge once in a while? Similarly, does this argument apply to drug use – even illegal drug use?
3. Why do we call some religions “mythologies” (ancient Greek, Norse, Egyptian, etc.) and others religions? Is this fair? What does this show about how relevant certain ideas are as society progresses?
4. People often talk about the growing gap between the rich and poor. However, today’s poor (in the United States, at least) are much better off than most people (not just the poor) were a century ago. Does it matter that there’s an increasing gap between the rich and the poor if the standard of living for the poor keeps going up?
5. How would you live your life if you had a week to live? How would you live your life if you had 5 years left to live? How would you live your life if you were going to live forever?
6. Is it truly worth it to die for a family member or friend? Yes, you’d be a hero, but that person would feel guilty for your death for the rest of their lives. Is that “brave” act actually cowardly because you’re transferring the guilt that you’d have felt if you did nothing and watched them die to your friend, who has to deal with the guilt of causing your death?
7. Is a day spent watching movies when you could’ve been working a day wasted or well spent?
8. What’s more important to a relationship: common values or other commonalities (like tastes in music, interests, etc.)?
9. What’s your opinion on love? Are there different types? Can we separate love from infatuation? Are there any qualifiers to make love “true” (rather than “fake”)?
10. Can we ever be sure that our perception of things is right – without consulting other people? If we do consult others, how are we to know whether theirs is true or if we’re both deluded?
11. Would your life be better or worse if you knew the day, time, and place that you were going to die?
12. What is honor? Does honor matter anymore?
13. Is it reasonable to have a sense of delusional confidence in your abilities, or would you rather build confidence by performing well in the past? If you choose the latter, doesn’t that mean that a single bad performance can shatter your confidence in yourself?
14. What should be the role of sex in society? Is it a big deal? A small deal? Somewhere in-between?
15. Would you be a martyr and give up your reputation amongst your peers to do what you know is right? Or is it better to be pragmatic and sit and do nothing?
16. Would you rather be insane in a functional society, or one of the people running a profoundly dysfunctional society?
17. Could you be persuaded to kill? If your answer is no, then how much money would it take to get you to change your mind?
18. If saving the human race required the sacrifice of yourself and everyone you love, who would you choose to save – you and your loved ones or humanity at large?

20. Are the stories we tell ourselves about our past true, or do we bend the truth so we can create our stories? If the latter is true, than what worth is there in the stories if they aren’t true?
21. What is true strength?
22. What would happen if you never wasted another minute of your life? What would that look like?
23. Some say that striving for perfection is unhealthy. What if striving for perfection made you improve faster than you would have if you had lower expectations for yourself? Which way would be better?
24. Would you rather live for 10 years in excellent health, or 30 in “average” health, assuming that period started on your 18th birthday?
25. Is open-mindedness really a virtue if truly destructive ideas are spreading in society?
26. What would crush you more: seeing the love of your life die by getting hit by a car, or getting the call from your doctor that told you that you had cancer and had 6 weeks to live?
27. How do you think of yourself – hero or villain? Is the worst identity to have not the villain, but the person who is powerless?
28. How much control do you really have over yourself?
29. What do you think of white lies? Why do we tell others them? What if we went without them?
30. Who are you? Names, nationalities, and virtually any other socially-defined attributes do not count. Deep down, who are you?
And a few extra questions:
1. Does your happiness depend on where you live? For example, if you owned Santa Monica Real Estate, some of the most expensive in the world, would you truly be fulfilled?
2. Does your happiness depend on your health? For example, if you are a Breast Cancer Survivor and in the future, you have a relapse, would your happiness be affected by that news or would you embrace your suffering with acceptance and joy.
3. Is there something in your life right now that must be rooted out such as a pornography addiction?

Action Steps

1) Print out a copy of this post or write these questions down in a notebook.
2) Answer these questions – write your answers down (or at least capture the main points).
3) Return to this post six months from now, open a new page in your notebook, and repeat steps 1 and 2. IMPORTANT: DO NOT look at your answers from before.
4) Compare your answers. See how much your understanding has evolved over the course of six months. Ask yourself what has made you change your answers.
5) If you so choose, repeat steps 3 and 4 a year from now as well.

Silly Questions:

Silly Questions that make you think. Do you have any?

Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
Why is it that if someone told you there are a billion stars, you would believe him, but if someone told you there is wet paint on the wall, you would have to touch it to be sure?
If quitters never win and winners never quit, who said “Quit while you’re ahead”?
Why is it that when something is sent in a car, its called shipment, and yet when something is sent in a ship, its called cargo?
Why do bars advertise live bands? What does a dead band sound like?
If one synchronized swimmer drowns do the rest of them have to drown too?
If today is the first day of the rest of our lives, what in the world was yesterday?
Why do they call them apartments when the are all stuck together?
Why does bottled water have an expiration date?
If rabbits’ feet are so lucky, then what happened to the rabbit?
How do they get the swirls in the toothpaste to come out so perfectly?
How would you throw away a trash can?
How would you know when you are out of invisible ink?
What would happen if you get scared half to death twice?
If tomorrow is going to be twice as cold as today, and today it is 0 degrees, how cold is it going to be tomorrow?
Why is the word “abbreviation” so long?
What is a free gift? Aren’t all gifts free?

"Profound" Questions:

10 Thinking Questions:

Tougher Subjects

Change the Way You Think

Personal Development Questions
1. If you woke up tomorrow with no fear, what would you do first?
2. What was your biggest worry five years ago, do you still feel the same about it at this minute?
3. What advice would you give the ‘5 year old you’?
4. Can you picture the child you once were, what were they really good at?
5. Who did you last gossip about, how do you feel about it now?
6. What promises have you never carried through for yourself?
7. If you could change one law of your country, what would it be?
8. Have you ever expected ‘love in return’? Did you get it?
9. Do you play to work, or work to play?
10. When did you last laugh so much, it hurt?
11. What’s the most marvellous thing you have ever seen with your own eyes?
12. When did you last say thank you and sincerely mean it?
13. What’s your number one priority?
14. Who do you need to get in touch with because it’s been to long?
15. What relationships have ended? But you can’t let go?
16. Who do you blame?
17. Are you a starter or a finisher?
18. When did you last do something for nothing in return?
19. When did your heart last ‘skip a beat’? Why?
20. Where would you take a road trip?
21. Who in your life do you wish you’d met sooner?
22. Do you always want the answer to ‘what are you thinking about?’
23. How are things going for you, now?
24. When did you last talk yourself out of something when deep down you wanted to do it?
25. Do you live your life around days of the week?
26. How do Mondays feel for you?
27. If you could spend ten minutes with your ‘hero’ alive or dead what would you ask them?
28. Is a year past more important than the next hour to come?
29. Do your practice ‘self love’ or ‘self loathing’?
30. What’s your greatest achievement to date?
31. What scares you about your future? Does it matter if it isn’t even here yet?
32. What must you do daily to keep yourself ‘sane’ ?
33. How many hours a week do you spend watching tele and on the internet? How many hours do you spend alone with you?
34. If we all died at 35, what have you still to do? What did you miss?
35. If you had to move country tomorrow, where would you go?
36. Why does pizza come in a square box?
37. What answers are you seeking about your life?
38. Do you like the sound of your own voice? How does it sound when you are complaining?
39. When did you last listen to the sound of your own breathing?
40. What are you just not seeing?
41. Would you love to spend quality time with you?
42. What aspects of you, do you keep hidden from close friends but expose to loved ones?
43. When did you last judge someone who you didn’t know?
44. What would you call your autobiography?
45. What do you need to learn but won’t admit to?
46. Are you a goal setter or a ‘whatever will be, will be’ person?
47. How would you hate to be described?
48. What genius would you be? Why?
49. When did you last make a mistake and be okay with it?
50. What would happen if you knew you could not fail?
51. How does it feel to be photographed?
52. Is trust more important than love, or is it the other way round?
53. What do you wish you had invented?
54. If you could erase an event from your mind, which one would you choose?
55. If you could ‘dare yourself’ what would it be?
56. Are you living your life, or having a life?
57. What learning from today are you taking into tomorrow?
58. What makes you special, unique and talented?
59. What your perfect day look like?
60. What one thing do you need to do next?
61. What life legacy are you leaving?
62. Do you want your children (if you have any) to be ‘just like you’?
63. Are you playing games with yourself where the rules are preventing you from reaching your goals?
64. Who do you dispose your garbage on?
65. What negative experience keep happening time and time again for you? When are you going to learn from them?
66. What do you consistently attract in your life that is no longer good enough for you?
67. What have you given up but yet used to love?
68. Do you stand for what you believe in or are you pleasing others?
69. What does the life you want to live look like?
70. What questions here have you skipped over because they are too hard for you to handle?
71. Would you fall head over heels in love with you?
72. Are you making your difference in the world or stagnating?
73. What does praise and admiration sound like to you?
74. If you woke up tomorrow with a habit gone, what would it be?
75. How long are you going to be dead?
76. What risk do you need to take?
77. If money were no concern, what would you do for the rest of your life?
78. What’s your earliest memory of achievement?
79. What are you thankful for, this moment?
80. Where in your life do you give up accountability?
81. What does it feel like to change?
82. What (or whom) drains your energy, why do you let it happen?
83. Is tomorrow really another day?
84. Who’s permission are you wanting on to achieve your goals? Will it actually come?
85. Do you need to see things before you believe them?
86. If your life were a TV programme, what would it be?
87. When did you last argue with yourself? Was it purposeful?
88. If you could talk to everyone in the world for 5 minutes, what would you say?
89. Would you defend a loved one, if you were breaking the law?
90. When did you last lie and regret it?
91. Would you risk making a mistake?
92. When did you last say something and automatically regret it?
93. When did you last speak well of you?
94. When is the right time to start a new goal?
95. Can you hear your enemies talk about you? What are they saying?
96. What in your life exhilarates you? Do you do enough of it?
97. Would you rather be poor and healthy or rich and ill?
98. If you could learn a new skill today, what would it be?
99. Do you have any questions you are scared to ask yourself?

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