10 provocative questions that will bend and blow your mind

provocative questions: thinking man with scales

Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and ponder the world around you. Sometimes thinking about the world around you blows your mind. We’ve come up with ten provocative questions to get those brain cells creaking. We’d love to hear your answers – leave a comment!

provocative questions: Lego sinking titanic1. If anything’s possible, what’s important?

We’re often told you can do anything you put your mind to… But if you really, actually, could how would you prioritise? It’s easy to get caught up in the possibilities, but by having clear goals, when you need to prioritise, it’ll be easy to know where to start.


provocative questions 2-w4802. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?

They say that it’s through mistakes and failure that we learn some of our most important lessons in life, but what if you could learn those lessons without the ego bruising? What would you do? Would it be as exciting without the risk of failure?

provocative questions 3-w4803. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

We place a lot of importance on time, but remove some of those markers of time and what are you left with? Does it matter how old you are? Is it how old you feel that matters? Is that just something people say to make themselves feel better?

For businesses, age is often an advantage, so why are we so averse to aging? A few wrinkles are a small price to pay for experience, surely?

provocative questions 4-w4804. Will people remember you in a million years? Do you still want to be famous?

It is said everyone gets their five minutes of fame, but what if you were one of the few who got a little longer? How long would you want that to last? If it didn’t last that long, would you still want it?

In the grand scheme of things fame should be the result, not the goal. Do something remarkable well and it’s hard not to leave a lasting impression.

provocative questions 5-w4805. Is it worse to fail at something or never attempt it in the first place?

People hate failure. But fear of failure may be worse than the actual experience, according to Seth Godin. How do you learn to fail better?

provocative questions 6-w4806. How do we know that pleasure is good and pain is bad?

While I’m sure scientifically there must be an answer out there for this one, it raises an important point and feeds off the age-old question: can you experience happiness without ever having known sadness, or the good without the bad?

Sometimes you need to embrace the bad if you want to experience the good, and a little analysis is needed to figure out what isn’t working; without knowing where you’re going wrong, how could you possibly fix it?

provocative questions 7-w4807. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make them?

Nobody likes to be wrong, but is this aversion to ‘wrongness’ actually doing us a disservice and stopping our development? If so, why are we standing in the way of our own progress?

Mistakes are inevitable, but fear of them should never stop you from evolving. Instead you should be analysing risks, because in business, as with life, sometimes you should feel the fear, and do it anyway.

provocative questions 8-w4808. Which is worse: forgetting everything or never remembering anything new?

Any form of amnesia is undesirable, but if you had the choice would you say goodbye to everything you’ve ever known, or never learn anything new again? What makes this question so difficult is that memory is so important, and too much unbalance with it can be problematic; remember too much and you can stultify progress with too many rules; remember too little and you never learn the lessons from your past.

provocative questions 9-w4809. Do the right thing? Or do things right?

Ideally both right? But which is more important? Without doing it right, is there any real point in doing the right thing? Equally, doing something perfectly is amazing, but really don’t you want it to be for the right reasons?

In business no one likes to feel they’re working for the bad guy, but no one revels in half-hearted effort either. There’s a line to tread here if you want to motivate people, but which side should you be veering towards?

provocative questions 10-w48010. Why is there something rather than nothing?

Being in business is a constant battle against nothingness, but nonetheless, I guarantee you that if you spend too much time thinking about this one, your head WILL explode.

(Hat tip, in order of appearance, to: ericconstantineaujjackowskigrooverfwpauloaranast3f4n98327290@N02blackzack00mrzeon and hoyvinmayvin for the photos)

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9 Responses to 10 provocative questions that will bend and blow your mind

  1. Geraldine says:

    Love the Lego images – haven’t seen those used in a blog before!

    The question that I found most mind-blowing was the memory one… really thought-provoking.

    One to add (similar to nos. 5 and 7): Is it better to regret something we’ve done than to regret not doing something?

    • Charlotte Littley says:

      Hi Geraldine, thanks so much for your comment.

      Number eight was definitely the hardest one for me too. It doesn’t seem like there would be any winners from that choice.

      That is always an excellent question, hinges so much on personal experience I think. I personally would always rather take the risk than regret not taking it, but maybe that’s because I’ve been lucky with my risks paying off so far!

    • Babika says:

      better to regret something we have done than to regret not doing it

  2. zach willis says:

    How do we know that once something leaves our sight it doesn’t seace to exist. And your mind makes up everything and you don’t know it.

  3. Banandos says:

    If there are infinite alternate realities then aren’t all books non-fictional?

    If Pinocchio said “my nose will now grow.”, would it?

    Is it possible to freeze fire?

    If there was nothing, where would everything go?

    What shape is our field of vision?

    Isn’t it untrue that gravity is the strongest force on this planet, because technically it’s IN this planet?

    • TomG says:

      1. I would say no as imagination has fewer limits than physics.
      2. Yes. As when he says it it is a lie.
      3. Yes. You just have to freeze it really quickly
      4. If there was nothing. There would be nothing. It is not a subjective state.
      5. Two overlapping cones with the points at the center of each eyeball.
      6. Gravity is generated by the mass of the planet but forces always act on objects. Thus the planet has mass and because of this is subject to its own gravitational field.

      Hope that helps.


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