As a personal coach, I use thought-provoking questions all the time to help clients uncover insights about themselves, find their life passions and challenge their limiting beliefs.
But you don’t need a life coach to help you do this.
You can learn how to ask yourself questions that make you think in the same way a coach may ask, which will teach you how to be introspective and become emotionally unstuck.
It can help you stop feeling like you have lost your way and learn coping mechanisms to overcome stress.
The right questions may also help you realize why you feel stuck or feel constantly stressed.
Deep thought questions let you organize your thinking, develop analytical thinking skills, and define your priorities and values.
If you want to jump into a list of thoughtful questions, grab a journal to write down your answers to some great thoughtful questions I’ve included in this post.
After you’ve completed your answers, save the journal to revisit your answers in six months or a year to see if anything has changed in your life as a result.
You may also want to use these deep questions to ask someone you care about so you can learn more about him or her and strengthen your relationship.
56 of the Best Thought-Provoking Questions:
Thought-Provoking Questions To Ponder
1. What should be humanity’s goal?
Should everyone on the planet be striving toward a common goal? If so, what would that be?
Can you think of something that everyone could agree on, despite the chaotic world we live in?
Thinking about this question could help you formulate your own long-term goals.
2. How will humans become extinct?
Will it be an environmental disaster? A rampant disease? Or maybe you think a meteor will hit the earth that is large enough to ruin the entire planet.
Do you think humans will last another 1,000 years?
No matter how you think this may happen, considering this question may urge you to live your life each day to the fullest extent.
3. If a child grows up in the wilderness with no human contact, what human tendencies would he or have, considering the lack of influence of society and culture?
Do you think they would develop their own language? Or physically develop in ways that are different to people who adapt to a traditional living environment?
Depending on how old they were, do you think they could be taught to live as a normal human?
Think about how developed you are and all of the abilities and knowledge you have gained from growing up in a formal society.
4. If you could teach the entire world just one concept, what would it be?
What concept do you think could have the most significant positive impact on humanity?
Maybe it would be to think before you speak or to mind your own business? What about teaching people to not make assumptions or the importance of having compassion?
Answering this question will help you figure out what concepts are most important to you.
5. Is mankind going in the right or wrong direction?
Have humans figured out how to keep progressing towards something better?
Or are we moving backward and should revert back to the values and lifestyles of those who lived before us?
Thinking about this can help you determine if you as an individual are going in the right direction.
6. Is it better for someone to have a wide range of superficial knowledge or a deep knowledge about a few things?
What if there were no professionals in any given subject, but everyone knew a little bit about everything?
Would this benefit our society in any way?
Do you think there is a chance that some people who have a deep knowledge base about a subject actually have it all wrong?
Think about the subjects in which you consider yourself to be an expert.
7. How can we judge ourselves by our intentions yet judge others by their actions?
Can we ever believe someone when they say their intentions are different from their actions? What if someone’s intentions were truly transparent?
This philosophical question will help you think deeply about how your intentions match up with your actions.
8. What is the biggest waste of human potential?
There are so many possible answers to this question, but which do you believe is the truest?
Is it not sharing your wisdom with other people? Not spreading knowledge? Is it engaging in traditional schooling where children are confined to desks for most of the day?
Where do you think the world is going wrong with human potential? Consider any potential you have that you may be wasting.
9. Why are people resistant to doing things that we know are healthy but crave things that are detrimental to our health?
This often happens in many different areas of our lives. We would rather lay down in front of the television than exercise. We want to reach for that piece of pizza instead of the salad. We fall back into toxic relationships instead of moving on.
Why does it often feel better to do what is unhealthy than it does to do what is healthy? Think about ways you can motivate yourself to pick up healthy habits.
10. Because the human memory is known to be very unreliable, how do you know which of your memories are real and which are only partly true?
What if one of your long-held memories isn’t actually completely true? Does it matter?
Can you think of times where you have felt completely sure of something but someone tells you otherwise?
Considering this deep thought question will help you recognize that you could be wrong or partly wrong about things you believe to be true. It can help you challenge your beliefs and look at other perspectives.
11. If there were no laws or rules in this world to influence your behavior, what do you think your behavior would look like?
Do you think you would have been shaped differently over time to become someone who does things that are illegal in our society?
Are you born with morals that keep you from doing harm to others or do you develop them because of the laws and rules that are put into place?
This may interest you:
Would you like to question your way to lasting love and intimacy?
If so, then check out my bestselling book called “201 Relationship Questions: The Couple’s Guide to Building Trust and Emotional Intimacy“.
Mutual questioning is a powerful technique to draw out deeper emotions and desires and address potential areas of conflict before they disrupt your closeness.
The right questions inspire understanding, compassion, and action for positive change.
This profound question will also help you think about your intentions, empathy, and integrity.
Thought-Provoking Questions About Life
12. Is there a meaning to life?
If so, what is it? More specifically, is there a meaning to your life?
Why were you put on this planet, and what are you supposed to accomplish before your life is over?
Think about what is personally meaningful to you.
13. What would the world look like if there was no such thing as human suffering?
If there was no human suffering, does that mean there would never be a need for compassion either?
Would a super happy society be beneficial for the whole world?
What would be some downfalls?
Think about how suffering in the past may have benefited you in the long run.
14. What truths do you choose to ignore?
Are there certain truths in your life that may be a bit harsh that you prefer to not think about?
For example, you might know that money will not buy you happiness, but you continue to seek new ways to become rich.
If so, you are choosing to ignore the fact that your true happiness lies elsewhere.
15. Does fate exist?
If so, does that mean we really don’t have free will?
What force is really determining our future? Answering this interesting question will inspire you to guide yourself toward what you want.
16. What circumstances in your life will have the longest-lasting consequences? How long will this impact you?
Perhaps it’s the career you chose to pursue or running into your future spouse in line at the bank.
What instances really had a domino effect on the rest of your life? Think about how one little event can impact the rest of your life.
17. Where do you get your self-worth?
Is it from the acceptance of other people? High achievement or success in your career field?
What lets you know each day that you are an important part of this world?
Find your source of self-worth so you know what makes you feel valuable and deserving.
18. Would the world become better or worse if people only focused on what is going well instead of what is going wrong?
Would this mean that critical problems would be ignored and continue to grow?
If people always saw the bright side of things, would it allow them to be happier or would they be burying their heads in the sand?
19. Knowing that there may be many more universes than our own, how does this impact your view of our place as humans on one small planet?
Do you view the human race on our Earth as the only possible intelligent life in the multiverse?
How does this knowledge of an expanding universe impact your perspective on yourself, your daily concerns, and your life?
20. Would it be scarier to find out that humans are the most advanced species in the universe or that we are one of the least advanced species in the universe?
Could we actually still be relatively primitive? If there are species out there that are much more advanced than humans, what kinds of things do you think they can do?
If the human race is the best it gets, what kind of advancements would you like to see in the next 100 years?
Fun and Funny Thought Provoking Questions
21. How do you think your future self will remember your current self?
We all look back into our pasts thinking, “I can’t believe I did that…” (or thought that, or cared so much about that).
What is something that is a key factor in your life today that you think will change over time and you will look back on with a bit of embarrassment, regret, or shame?
Thinking about this may help you change some of your current habits.
22. What activities inspire you to feel like you are living your life to the fullest?
When do you truly feel alive? Maybe this is when you are traveling, being spontaneous, running a marathon, or chasing your kids around the park.
What really makes you feel you’re taking advantage of the time you have on Earth? Do more of these things to give yourself the fullest life possible.
23. If you only had two questions to ask someone to get the most information you could about who they truly are, what would they be?
Let’s say you finally got the chance to meet someone who you have always looked up to, or maybe you just ran into the person who seems like they could be the love of your life.
If you had only two questions to ask them, and they had to answer completely truthfully, what would those questions be?
This inspirational question may cause you to consider the life questions that someone might ask you to sum up the essence of who you are.
24. What life-altering experiences should everyone experience at least once?
Maybe this is seeing all seven wonders of the world or having the opportunity to earn a degree in any field of their choice.
What experiences have you had that you think everyone else should have as well? This may help you realize there is something you want to do that you haven’t done yet.
25. If freedom is about being able to do whatever you want, do animals have more freedom than humans?
There are no rules for animals. No taxes, no schedule, no daily expectations. Does this mean that they are truly free?
Think about your own freedom and the things in life that may be holding you back.
26. What will technology look like in 100 years?
Think about the absence of technology a century ago. Cars were new, cell phones were far from being invented, and computers were still a few decades away from making their appearance.
What kinds of things might we have 100 years from now that we could only imagine existing? What would you like to see be invented?
27. How does art benefit society?
What role does it really play and how does it impact our everyday lives? What kinds of art should everyone be exposed to?
How has art and other creative endeavors shaped and enhanced your life?
28. How would people react if an alien ended up on the Earth?
Some people might be terrified of an alien, while others would be curious and friendly.
Knowing that people often fear and distrust anyone who is “different,” do you think aliens would be mistreated or welcomed by society (assuming the aliens are friendly)?
29. What do the recurring themes in your dreams mean?
We all have some sort of recurring dream. What is yours and what do you make of it?
Can you relate it to your life somehow? Think about the events in your life and if they are playing out in your dreams.
What do you think your dreams are trying to tell you or make you understand?
30. What would life look like if you never told a lie?
Not even a white lie or an exaggeration. Not even telling just a “half” truth.
What would your life look like today if you had been completely honest with everyone you ever came into contact with?
Consider the smalls lies you tell and how they benefit you or possibly hurt you.
31. How would humanity change if the life expectancy of humans was 500 years?
Would people slow things down a bit and not rush through every phase of their lives? Would they have several career and marriages?
How would this life expectancy impact society, our population, and the way we live our daily lives?
What would change for you today if you had that much time left to live?
Asking yourself these life questions is a great way to explore your deep thoughts, beliefs, fears, and intentions.
Thought-Provoking Intellectual Questions
32. What do you most enjoy learning more about?
What subjects are you most curious about?
If you had to earn a one+-year degree studying the subject of your choice, what subject would you choose?
And how narrow would your focus be? Is there a subject on which you’d very much like to be an expert?
33. What separates human thought from that of non-human animals?
Keeping in mind that you don’t actually know what goes on in the heads of the animals around you, what do you think separates your thinking from theirs?
What do you believe gives humans the right to value the life of a human above that of an animal?
34. If we are all made of energy, where does that energy come from?
Whether you believe we are made of energy or of matter, what is the source of it?
And if you are made of energy, how could you strengthen your connection to that Source?
And what do you think would come of that connection, the stronger it became?
35. Is it possible for someone to be too intelligent for their own (or anyone else’s) good?
If power can corrupt and instant riches can ruin someone’s life, is it possible for someone to be too intelligent for their own good?
If someone were much smarter than every other human, would that automatically mean they were deficient in something more important?
36. If you had unlimited intelligence, what would you do with it?
If you had a clear connection to a universal, collective source of intelligence and information, with an unlimited ability to process that intelligence, what would you do with it?
Or what could you do that you’d like to do — at least at some point?
Questions that Make You Think
37. What makes your thinking different from that of your parents?
What do your parents take for granted that you do not — or vice-versa?
What did you believe growing up (because you learned it from them) that you no longer believe?
And how have your life and relationships changed because of that difference?
38. If you could make yourself either twice as intelligent or twice as attractive, what would you choose?
Maybe you think you’re plenty smart but want to know what it’s like to stop traffic with your looks?
Or maybe you’re plenty attractive but are tired of people underestimating your intelligence.
How would your life change when you made your choice?
39. If today were the last day of your life, what would you be proudest of?
And if someone told you you had a year rather than a day to live, what would you do more of?
How different would that one year be from all the years before it?
And would you, given the choice, trade it in for three more decades of the life you’ve lived up to that point?
40. Have you ever felt a stronger affinity between you and an inanimate object than between you and a significant other?
Maybe you have a small but carefully chosen collection that you would never give up even if your S.O. made you choose between them.
Whatever the item — or items — you feel bonded to, how do you think that bond was created?
41. Name something you’ve talked yourself into thinking you don’t need because you don’t believe it can ever be yours?
Whatever comes to mind, write it down to acknowledge it.
Then ask yourself why you think it can never be yours.
Is it a question of deserving, or do you believe it’s something very few people actually have — and why should you be one of them?
42. How easy would it be to turn a champion of human rights into a tyrant?
What would it take to turn someone who has fought and invested their time, energy, and resources into protecting the rights of others into someone who would violate the rights of others and turn on their loved ones to honor a perceived “higher calling”?
43. Have you ever had glimpses of what it would be like to have a different sexual orientation? And if yes, did your life change because of it?
Has anything ever made you question your sexual orientation?
Have you ever wondered why the kind of relationship you thought you wanted made you feel more alone and disconnected than ever?
And what are you willing to lose to get to the truth?
44. If you could trade lives with a character from a book or movie, would you do it — and whose life would you choose?
And would you want the trade to be permanent or temporary?
What do you see in their life that you want for your own?
And what could you do to bring more of that something into your life? What changes do you need to make in order to do so?
45. Your new friend reveals their identity as a practicing witch. How do you react?
Maybe a familiar question comes to mind: “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” (at least if you’ve seen The Wizard of Oz).
Or maybe you want to know what they’d do to you if you ever made them angry. How would your beliefs influence your reaction?
46. What would you do if the leader of the country in which you live announced that the official state religion was the one you hold to?
For the sake of argument, would you feel vindicated, or would you fight it?
What if others in your church saw it as a sign of God’s favor or as a warning to those who believed differently?
What if those of other faiths were being discriminated against in your favor?
Thought-Provoking Questions for Students
47. What persuaded you to vote the way you did in the last election? Would you vote the same way if given a chance at a do-over?
Think back to voting day when you filled in those lines on the ballot.
What made you vote the way you did? And if you regret that vote now, what has changed?
What do you know now that you wish you’d known then? And how has your life changed now that you do?
48. What would you tell a friend whose job it was to separate immigrant children from their parents?
If you found out that someone you care about worked with border control and that part of their job was separating children from their parents, what would you do or say?
What impact would this have on your relationship? How would you treat them from then on?
49. When someone tells you they know they were born for something greater than a safe, conventional life, what are the first thoughts that come to mind?
Maybe you feel the same way about your own life — or maybe you don’t.
Do you take this perceived calling as a slam on the life you’ve chosen for yourself? Do you see it as a wake-up call?
Or do you think your friend has been watching too many superhero movies?
50. If your earnings put you in the top 1%, would you want the government taking another 1% of your income to wipe out student loan debt for the millions struggling to pay it off?
Do you know the stress that goes with having a large debt for a college degree that has cost you far more than it will ever repay?
Would you be glad to remove that load from the backs of those suffering under it? Or would you feel cheated or taken advantage of?
51. If you found out your friend was an illegal alien, and ICE agents were after them, what would you do?
Would you give them refuge in your home — even hide them if ICE agents came to your door?
Or would you suggest they lie low and hope for the best, but refuse to put your own freedom and your family at risk by helping them?
What would go through your mind?
52. What brings you joy?
What do you want more of in your life, and what are you willing to give up in order to have it?
What makes every morning worth waking up for? And what do you do every day to make it worth living?
What choices can you make now to make life better than ever?
53. When you imagine what’s possible and what you want in life, how do you see yourself standing in your own way?
Do you feel deep down that you don’t deserve to have more than enough money to live as you would like?
How do you usually sabotage your own efforts to reach your goals?
Does the prospect of success scare you more than the prospect of being homeless?
54. Do you consider yourself a collector? And if yes, what do you collect?
Maybe you end up paring down your collection to a few favorite pieces — or maybe you let that collection keep growing.
What do you find easiest or most satisfying to collect?
And is your collection something you proudly display or keep hidden?
55. Name one of your deepest regrets? And have you forgiven yourself?
Have you done something that makes you feel shame or guilt every time you think of it?
Do you constantly berate yourself for not knowing then what you know now?
Have you been unable to forgive yourself? What would it take to do so and to finally move on?
56. What have you not done that you want to do before your end?
Name something you’ve wanted to do for a long time but haven’t done yet.
Have you made plans to do it, or does it seem unlikely you’ll cross it off your bucket list anytime soon?
What would it take to get you to just do that thing? And what would you gain by doing it?
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What are some thought-provoking questions that you’d like to share that have impacted your life? What questions would you like to ask yourself to dig deeper into a specific area of your psyche?
How will you use these questions that make you think?
I hope you enjoyed these deep thought questions. But don’t stop by simply reading this article. How can you use the questions to improve your life and the lives of others?
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Choose a question each week, and then journal about your ideas and insights.
- Share these questions with your spouse, partner, or a good friend to learn more about one another.
- If you’re a teacher or helping professional, use these questions with your students or clients.
- If are in therapy, use any questions that strike a chord with you to discuss in your next session.
- These questions can help you discover more about yourself and those you care about than you ever imagined.
Spend time with them. Ponder them in the quiet moments of your life. Allow them to challenge and motivate you.
May every question bring a new insight, joy, or positive action to your day.