9 Critical Questions Successful People Ask Themselves


Successful people are inquisitive in nature. They have come to understand that success is not all about knowing the answer to everything. It’s all about asking the right question, at the right time to the right person. The willingness to explore, however, does not necessarily have to be limited to external investigations only. Quite the contrary, by also asking yourself the right questions, you can propel your development.

Most unusually successful people know exactly what questions to ask. With this knowledge also comes the understanding that by fostering an inquiring approach to their own life, they can greatly impact their progress. Being inquisitive about their life allows them to make readjustments of their course, if necessary. Being blatantly honest with themselves helps them to spot areas of improvement. After all, the pursuit of success requires honesty to oneself. Successful people learned that being honest enables them not to be standing in their own way.

Here are the fearless questions successful people ask themselves regularly.

9 Crucial questions successful people ask themselves

The following questions are exactly those questions a good mentor would ask you. These mentors, however, are quite rare. Therefore, it comes not as a big surprise that many successful people had to become their own mentors. By assuming this new role, these people were able to develop the skill of self-reflection necessary for success.

Questions successful people ask themselves continuously

Self-reflection is a key ingredient to a happy and successful life

You can use these questions to assess the progress you make in life. Answering each of these questions for yourself will enable you to quickly spot areas of improvement. Even more so, it will help you in identifying the variables that greatly impact your success, well-being, happiness and growth.

1. What am I afraid of? Am I confronting my fears?

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
Steve Jobs

Being successful in life does not necessarily require fearlessness. Everyone’s afraid of something. Successful people are no different from this. It is important, however, to understand what you are afraid of. Successful people realize how important it is to identify their fears. Instead of avoiding them, these people know that it’s necessary to investigate what they’re afraid of. It helps them to get down to the source of their fears and concerns.

The willingness to investigate what you’re afraid of is crucial for success. It helps you to identify what fears prevent you from doing what’s necessary for your progress in life. Have the courage to identify and face your fears in order to live up to your full potential.

Questions to ask yourself: What am I afraid of? What keeps me from pursuing my dreams? What fears block my development? How can I confront and overcome these fears?

2. What can I learn from my failures?

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
Dale Carnegie

Failing can be tough and painful. It’s something we all try to avoid. But when it does happen, it happens for a good reason. We fail in order to grow. In order to become a little bit better. Without ever failing, there would be no progress. Many successful people describe their failures as the necessary fundament for success. They have come to realize that without each and every one of their failures, their present success would not have been possible.

The usual thing we do when we fail is to get back up on our feet, trying to forget everything about it. That’s something to reconsider. We can learn quite a great deal from failing. Much more than we can learn from success. Use your failures to your own benefit. See them as lessons on how success cannot be accomplished. Develop the willingness to learn from each and every one of your failures.

Questions to ask yourself: Am I willing to learn from my failures? What can I learn from my failures? In what way can I use my failures as stepping stones to success?

3. What bad habits keep me from making progress?

All bad habits start slowly and gradually and before you know you have the habit, the habit has you.
Zig Ziglar

Your habits can make or break your success. If you cultivate beneficial habits, you can more easily excel in life. There are numerous powerful habits one can use to stimulate growth. At the same time, many negative habits can sneak into our life. These destructive habits can develop into massive obstacles over time. As such, they keep you from pursuing that which is truly important. Your dreams, goals, aims and ambitions. Instead, they keep you lazy, unproductive without ambitions.

Successful people understand the impact habits can have on their life. They know the destructive impact negative habits can have. For this reason, these individuals constantly question their routines and habits. They strive to continuously improve themselves in every area of life. They want to be more effective at accomplishing things. If negative habits have been cultivated, they will address these once identified. But they also know that it is countless times easier to prevent the development of bad habits than to break them.

Questions to ask yourself: What habits keep me from being more successful? What negative routines have sneaked into my life? What are time-wasting activities?

4. How can I be more productive?

Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.
Peter Drucker

Time is the unifying factor that unites the ultra successful with everyone else. We all have the same amount of it to spend. No one has access to more than 24 hours each day. The difference lies in the way we use our given time. Some choose to waste their time. Others continuously seek to make the most of it. Time is a limited resource that should be used accordingly. Successful people do not only place great emphasis on time management, but also on managing the activities they spend their time with.

Questions to ask yourself: Am I making use of my given time? How can I spend my time more effectively?

5. Am I challenging myself continuously?

It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties.
Abigail Adams

Living within the confines of your comfort zone can be quite comfortable. There are no risks and dangers. Nothing that comes as a surprise. Yet, your comfort zone stands in between you and your success. By always following the familiar path, you will always get to the same destination. If you always do what you’ve ever done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. There is no progress that can be accomplished from hiding within your comfort zone.

Successful people have developed the habit of continuously challenging themselves. They pushed themselves beyond their limits. It helps them to discover exciting opportunities. Even more so, it’s a central aspect of their growth as a person.

Questions to ask yourself: Do I have the courage to continue the challenge myself? In my overcoming my boundaries? Am I pushing beyond my limits? Am I striving to explore the unknown?

6. What do I want to accomplish today?

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
Henry David Thoreau

Having a wide range of long-term goals is quite important. At the same time, you can only accomplish these goals by making continuous progress on a day-to-day basis. Your five-year strategy can only be realized by if you tackle the daily challenges with laser-sharp focus. Day after day, you move towards your long-term goals. Be sure to direct all your attention to the specific task you need to accomplish today.

Questions to ask yourself: What is today’s single most important objective? How is today’s task bringing me closer to my long-term goals?

7. Am I taking enough time to regenerate?

There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.
Alan Cohen

The pursuit of your dreams will require everything from you. Overcoming great obstacles and big challenges will take its toll on your physical and mental power levels. For this reason, it’s important to know how you can rejuvenate yourself on a day-to-day basis.

Even though successful people are working extraordinarily hard, they also know how important it is to rest. In the long run, maintaining a proper balance between work and life will help you to be more persistent at accomplishing your goals.

Take some time for yourself each day and do what helps you to regenerate. An excellent habit to cultivate is the practice of meditation. It’s quite interesting to see how many prolific and successful people meditating.

Questions to ask yourself: Am I taking enough time to rejuvenate? Do I rest in order to regenerate my power levels?

8. What difficult tasks am I trying to avoid?

Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.
Theodore Isaac Rubin

We all are faced with tasks and responsibilities we’d rather ignore. Who wouldn’t prefer enjoyable tasks over the really difficult ones? The problem is that it’s not always the enjoyable tasks that produce the greatest return. Successful people continuously ask themselves what’s best for them to spend their time on. Instead of choosing familiar and easy tasks, they challenge themselves with difficult ones. Successful individuals have the knack of doing work nobody else has the courage to tackle.

Progress in life can only be made if you’re willing to address the hard and challenging tasks. Think about the difficult responsibilities you’re continuously trying to avoid. If they are critical to your pursuit of success, then by all means address them.

Questions to ask yourself: What difficult tasks am I trying to avoid? Do these tasks produce a significantly higher outcome than my other activities? Does procrastinating these tasks prevent my progress?

9. What easy tasks am I spending too much time on?

It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.
William James

As already mentioned in the above, we favor spending time with pleasant activities. These activities, however, might not always be as productive as other activities. Try to identify whatever it is that you’re spending too much time on. Just because you like a certain task does not have to mean it’s beneficial for your success.

Spend less time with the see things. Identify what activities keep you from addressing the really important tasks.

Questions to ask yourself: Am I spending too much of my time with easy tasks? Could I be more successful by addressing more of the difficult tasks?

I hope you enjoyed this article on the crucial questions successful people ask themselves continuously. What are the top questions that you repeatedly ask yourself to improve your performance?

Stay victorious!


About Author

Steve is the founder of Planet of Success, the #1 choice when it comes to motivation, self-growth and empowerment. This world does not need followers. What it needs is people who stand in their own sovereignty. Join us in the quest to live life to the fullest!


    • What a ridiculous article. I am the laziest, least productive person I know and I love it, for I am incredibly successful in life. I have provided a modest living for my family and in doing so we have learned to appreciate the little things in life that so many others take for granted. I love my wife and my love for her has continued to grow over our 30 years of marriage. Life’s hard knocks has made me humble and therefore I pass no judgement on anyone as I see the best in them as well as the light within their eyes. I am conscious of their needs and am very courteous and respectful in ensuring I can lend a helping hand whenever I can. I consider myself wise enough to not fall into the money defines your worth crap as I have learned that human decency and how you treat others is the only thing in life that truly matters. So go ahead, strive for your deluded definition of success, and good luck in achieving happiness because like an addiction, the ‘hit’ will never satisfy and it will only leave you craving more. When will people ever learn…

      • If you look at my other articles, especially the ones where I define the various areas of success, you will see that I define personal growth, spiritual understanding, the acquisition of wisdom and many other as aspects as part of success. Also I criticize the acquisition of ever more and blind consumption in other articles, so I really don’t understand why your comment is so critical.

      • Interestingly enough, there’s a butt load of contradictions in this drivel of a comment. Firstly, no where in this article does it state explicitly that money defines success. That says you have your insecurities of money, and use laziness as as justification for why you live a ‘modest’ lifestyle.

        You say you pass no judgement on people and only see the best in them, yet when it comes to money (which this article didn’t say defined success), you’re quick to judge it as an addiction and that people will never learn.

        What would you say about someone who makes a good deal of money, then turns around and donates to charity, helping kids with cancer, birth defects, and other serious illnesses?

        Success means something different to each other. I’m sure people like Steve Jobs gave two rats about money. If he did, he wouldn’t have come back to revamp Apple.

        I can see it now. Because of your laziness and lack of productivity, you’ll leave no legacy. You’ll be laying on your cloth Lay-Z-Boy, “appreciating” the things in life that matter. In the meanwhile, pregressive people who care about their footprint will be out changing lives, appreciating the WORLD, creating positive change the world needs, and adding value.

  1. Hi Steve, these are great questions.
    And just this morning, I was reading The One Thing from Gary Keller.
    His focusing question is:
    “For my goal, what’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

    I think this question is pretty powerful too because it focuses on dealing with the most important stuff and getting things done.

    Thanks for sharing.. 🙂

  2. You find answers without asking relevant questions. Same applies to success. To succeed you have some important questions you need to provide answers to.

  3. Fantastic article, Steve!

    These questions are hugely important. One application that I will start tomorrow will be journaling about question #6: What do I want to accomplish today?

    By placing the ideas down in a coveted place, like my journal. I am holding myself accountable!

    Thanks for these insights!

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