Often, a man’s life is lived on autopilot, molded not just by habits and routines, but by common thoughts settling into well-worn mental ruts. Research suggests most of a man’s thousands of daily thoughts are repetitive and negative. This mental malaise inhibits us from living healthy lives and loving our families well. But I believe there are questions every man should ask himself daily to pull himself out of that rut.
That’s because the best way to push back on internal indifference is to examine our own hearts curiously by asking self-reflective questions that point out what we want to do and who we want to be. With that in mind, here are 7 questions every man should ask himself every day.
1. Am I focused on what will have a lasting impact?
One of the great victims of mindless mental routines is our ability to be focused on what really matters. I need to choose daily to look for, concentrate on, and value the lives of everyone around me.
2. Will I be a man of integrity?
Author C. S. Lewis said, “Integrity is doing the right thing. Even when no one is watching.” I need to choose daily to commit to what’s right—not for personal gain, but because it’s right.
3. What are you going to do to make things better?
In our decades of working together to impact dads through our Family First fatherhood program, All Pro Dad, I’ve heard Tony Dungy challenge men with this question that his dad asked him in difficult situations when he was a boy: “What are you going to do to make things better?” I need to choose daily to help solve problems around me, not perpetuate them or wait for someone else to fix them.
4. How am I showing the most important people in my life that I love them?
Every night before I go to sleep, I tell Susan, my wife, that I love her. And when I see my adult children, I tell them as well. That’s important. But I also need actions to show that love. I need to choose daily to find ways to show my family my love.
5. Will I be a good listener today?Being a good, intentional listener is critical to relationships.
Being a good, intentional listener is critical to relationships. It’s not just being silent or waiting for a pause to jump in. Listening means learning and better understanding the other person. This is one I always need to work on. I need to choose daily to listen well in order to love well.
6. Will my words be life-giving for others today?
Our tongues can go on autopilot, too. At best, we can slip out positive cliches that become meaningless. At worst, we can repeat words that tear others down. I need to choose daily to speak powerful words full of life-giving truth rather than toxic words.
7. Will I follow the right example so I can be a good example to others?
We tend to imitate those we most admire. A little leaguer wiggles the bat like his favorite star. An adult shapes his style and looks after his favorite celebrity. The example I try to follow is Jesus of Nazareth. To me, he is the ultimate example of how to live. Whose example are you following?
Sound off: Are there any other questions every man should ask himself daily? Which ones?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Who is someone you look up to?”