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William S. Cottringer

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5 Burning Questions
By William S. Cottringer
Last edited: Thursday, September 21, 2006
Posted: Thursday, September 21, 2006

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William S. Cottringer

• Common Sense is Over-rated
• 20 Writing Tips for Better Results
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• The Cllenge For Returning Veterans
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Here are five burning questions that make up Life's Final Exam. Discovering these questions and then answering them is what life is all about.

By Bill Cottringer

Life has a Final Exam and there are five burning questions to it. Seeking the answers and getting them right is what life is all about. It would be nice if we are handed these questions at birth so we can get a head start, but that doesn’t seem to be the way the game is played. After all, finding out about these five questions is where much of the fun in life occurs.

Whether you answer these questions early on or later in life doesn’t really matter because the result is still the same—a wonderful sense of success in knowing you are playing the game well and being happy and content from doing so. That is a feeling worth its weight in gold any time it comes. Here are the 5 burning questions and some clues to their answers.

1. Why am I here?

We are all here for a unique purpose and when we don’t make any effort to discover what we are here for, we are just wandering around and loitering, getting nowhere in our search for the treasure we know exists. Some even say this purpose was what we agreed to fulfill before being born. At any rate, here are some clues to answering this question:

• Our purpose is hidden in the piece of the treasure map we have.
• It is a good idea to know what your main talents are, to develop them fully and apply them frequently.
• It is another good idea to know why you are doing what you are doing—if you are doing it for yourself and others too, you are probably on the right track.
• Opening up to your unlimited potential is a wise thing to do. Getting big results starts from having big dreams.

2. What am I supposed to be doing?

Now we get to the details of going from discovering what our main purpose is to figuring out what all it actually involves. Here are some other questions worth considering:

• What feels good in and by itself to do just for the sake of doing it? Does learning, growing and improving physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, vocationally and spiritually qualify?
• Has someone else tried and succeeded in doing the same thing you think that you should be doing?
• How can you put your own private spin on what someone else has done well, and contribute some improvements?
• Is there something that is very difficult and painful for you to do, but still needs doing and no one else is doing it?

3. How do I know if I am doing it right?

You can only get the answer to this question from three different sources:

• Getting it right is often a trial and error method. But it is very important to learn something positive from your mistakes and failures, because good judgment comes from experience and experience usually comes from bad judgment.
• Fortunately you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. There are plenty of failure- recovery experts who have an abundance of success clues, just for the asking. All you have to do is learn when and how to ask the right person and read, read, and read more. Being open to admitting what you don’t know and having the willingness to be a perpetual learner is very helpful.
• When you start to creatively develop your awareness further, you will start noticing what you have failed to notice all along—the unusual relationships between what and how you are doing something and the results you get. A very good standard is: Always try to do the right thing in the right way for the right reasons to get the right results. Defining these “right” aspects fills in the blanks.

4. What’s in it for me?

We often make the mistake of dreaming up a reward before we even do anything to deserve it. This often limits the size and value of the reward unnecessarily. Here are the main two clues to help you answer this question:

• If you strive to do the right thing in the right way for the right reasons—the outcome will be right. You will get what you have always wanted: A reasonable degree of happiness, contentment and peace of mind.
• When you focus on getting selfish results, there won’t be any; it is smarter to focus on what you are or aren’t doing to not get results.

5. Where do I go for help?

Nothing ever goes smoothly without glitches, conflicts, setbacks and outright failures. Those things are just roadblocks to test your perseverance to get to the finish line. Here is a question and an additional clue that will help you answer this final question (all test questions don’t have to be guessing games!):

• What do you think family, friends, colleagues and work supervisors are for?
• And when they aren’t of any help with the really big problems, praying to God is available to you. The only trick is to learn what to pray for and how to ask for it. Perfecting the right praying technique can take a life time, but maybe that is a good source of help to start with.

How are you progressing in answering these five questions? Maybe if we all work together in finding answers, we’ll all find our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

William Cottringer. Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security, Business Success Coach, Sport Psychologist, Writer and Photographer from Issaquah, WA. He is author of You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, Passwords To The Prosperity Zone, and The Bow-Wow Secrets: How Dogs Live Simple Lives & People Don’t. Bill can be reached with comments and questions at (425) 454-5011 or


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Reviewed by Barbara Henry
Great information provided in an effort to answer some of life's most perplexing questions. Your responses to the questions give the reader an excellent starting point.
Continued success
Barbara J. Henry
Reviewed by Rebecca Burns
As always that was awesome and great advice.

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