Life has become a hectic ride. We’ve become so used to the state of being constantly occupied that we seldom stop to reflect on our lives. What is worse, vast numbers of people live their lives on autopilot. They are no longer questioning how they think and behave but let routines, patterns, and coincidences shape their lives. Thought-provoking questions can introduce beneficial change to your life. These deep questions will help you to take a more reflective approach to life. They will also challenge you to live more consciously and to create a more meaningful existence. The beauty about these thought-provoking questions is that they encourage you to go beyond your limitations. The questions can ignite the fire within you that helps you to question long-held but false assumptions and beliefs about your life. Here are brilliant and thought-provoking questions that make you think.
Asking yourself thought-provoking questions can magnificently transform your life. These are the questions that allow you to challenge limiting beliefs and thought processes. They can help you to effect beneficial changes and encourage you to lead a more meaningful existence.
Pondering about thought-provoking questions means to shed off false assumptions and beliefs in order to discover the truth.
“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”
Many people shy away from confronting themselves with certain questions. These people are not so afraid of the questions in themselves. What they are afraid about are the – not always comfortable – answers to these questions. They are afraid of questions that challenge their beloved worldview and belief system. These people rather cling on to absolutely illogical assumptions about life than seeking out the true nature of things.
As a result, most people run away from questions that cannot be avoided. One might be able to evade these questions for a couple of years or even decades. Sooner or later, however, these questions will arise again, whether we like it or not.
By humbly seeking honest answers to these questions early on, we can make important adjustments in our lives. We can restructure our worldview and act accordingly.
But those who avoid confronting themselves with the essential questions are in for a rude shock. These people will eventually have to face the truth, which makes it all the more difficult after years of living a lie.
Asking yourself thought-provoking questions that make you think can be a wonderful exercise. It is a liberating experience to finally find an honest answer to a question that has been nagging you for quite some time.
40 Deep and Thought-Provoking Questions That Make You Think
In the following, you can find inspiring and thought-provoking questions that will definitely make you think. These questions will help you to discover areas in your life that need to be improved – or at least thought over.
When confronted with these thought-provoking questions, it is important not to shy away from uncomfortable answers. Be honest with yourself and try to face the truth. It may be difficult at times, but in the long run, you will greatly benefit from it.
The following questions are separated into two categories. The first category consists of really deep questions about life and existence. These questions are often more of a philosophical nature. The second category contains important questions that make you think about your life in general.
Some may say that every question that makes you think is absolutely worth asking. But I would add that it’s not enough to simply ask yourself these questions. What is necessary is to find answers and to take action based on these answers, even if it is not comfortable.
While most people feel comfortable within the confines of their beliefs, there are some who are curious to explore the true nature of things. These are the individuals who have discovered the power of deep thinking and the profound changes it can affect. These individuals are driven by curiosity and their almost unlimited willingness to discover the truth.
Thinking deeply allows you to realize that there is – in many cases – not just one way of thinking. It allows you to explore these other ways of thinking without necessarily having to accept what their ideas imply. In short, deep thinking helps you to broaden your perspective and to see the bigger picture. In enabling you to take a step back, deep thinking can enrich your life.
Here are some deep questions to ask yourself:
1. What lies beyond the observable universe?1
We know that our solar system is part of a huge galaxy. We also know that there are about 100 to 200 billion galaxies in “close proximity” to the earth. This is what scientists call the observable universe.
But what lies beyond that which is observable?
Are there even more galaxies and do these galaxies continue infinitely? Or are these galaxies part of one universe that in itself is again a part of a group of many other universes? This poses the question: Is this universe everything there is or are we living in a multiverse?
One last question: Is the universe/multiverse just incredibly big or is it infinite?
2. What came before the Big Bang?
The Big Bang theory describes how the universe came into existence. It is a model that seeks to understand how the universe rapidly expanded from a state of high density.
To scientists, the Big Bang marks the beginning of everything. But what came before the Big Bang? Was there nothing? What caused the singularity – i.e. birth of the universe – to occur?
3. Are there more than three dimensions?
The question why we are living in a universe with three visible dimensions is in itself quite thought-provoking. However, it may also be interesting to ponder about the possibility that there are more than just three dimensions.
Day-to-day life shows us that we are clearly living in a world with three dimensions. Height, depth, and width influence everything we do. But is there more to that which is visible?
Theories of everything suggest that there may be more – much more. Interestingly enough, when string theory is applied to less than nine spatial dimensions, everything starts to fluctuate. The entire mathematics of the theory go wild, suggesting that the fabric of the universe would break apart without these nine or more dimensions.
4. Is your perception of reality akin to other people’s experience of reality?
Granted, we all are living entirely different lives. We all grew up under totally different circumstances and have different opinions about basically everything.
But what is really interesting is to question if we all perceive reality similarly.
For instance, due to the fact that our brains are quite different, every one of us perceives colors differently. Surely, we all know what a red or yellow T-shirt looks like. But do we all perceive this particular color similarly? I doubt it.
At the same time, everything we experience in life is not objectively interpreted. Instead, the happenings of the world are always subjectively interpreted by our brains. Based on our attitudes, beliefs but also the culture we grew up in, we may perceive similar experiences quite differently.
5. How did life on earth evolve?
To this date, science struggles to explain how life evolved on planet Earth. Scientists have a good understanding of human evolution, but how life itself arose on earth remains one of the greatest mysteries.
If you’ve ever heard about the development of the planet Earth, you’ll know that earth formed as a result of frequent collisions with other celestial bodies around 4.5 billion years ago. Back then, it was a molten and highly toxic planet. Its environment was so toxic that it simply could not support any kind of life. But how was it possible that life could arise from nothing? What sparked the initial development of life?
While scientists know approximately when life started to appear, they simply cannot answer how life arose. The origin of life remains largely unknown. There are certain hypotheses but no definite answers.
6. Is there life after death?
The question if there’s life after death is perhaps the greatest mystery of them all. While we all have certain opinions about the concept of death, no one really knows for sure what happens when we die. Some people firmly believe in the afterlife whereas others are similarly convinced that there’s nothing at all. We never know for sure until we find it out, or rather until we have to find it out.
7. What is the nature of reality?
Some of the greatest minds pondered deeply about the nature of reality. It’s the ultimate philosophical question that cannot be easily answered. For centuries, men and women alike tried to understand the nature of existence, life, consciousness, and reality. But only a few found satisfying answers.
Is life really just a physical1 manifestation of matter and energy? Are there also mental elements to existence? Or is reality entirely mental?
If life is entirely physical, it can only be investigated by – more or less empirical – scientific methods. However, if there are also mental aspects to reality, introspection might be another way of understanding reality.
8. Why do sun and moon appear to be the same size?
It’s fairly safe to say that we all know that the sun is much larger when compared to the moon. However, when viewed from Earth, sun and moon appear to be approximately similar sized.
The reason for this is that the sun is roughly 400 times larger than the moon, while at the same time being roughly 400 times farther away. As a result, the sun seems to be of the same size as the moon.
But isn’t it a strange coincidence that the sun is 400 times larger and 400 times farther away? Is it just a coincidence or a thought-provoking question to ponder about? You decide.
9. Does life exist in other galaxies?
To most scientists, it’s not a question of “if,” but a question of “where.” What is even more interesting is to think about is what kind of life this could be.
Are there other organisms, such as microbes and bacteria, on planets in galaxies far, far away? And is it possible that there is even intelligent life out there? How would it look like?
10. Do you shape your own fate?1
Another interesting question to think about is the subject of destiny. Do you think you are in control of your fate or do you believe that your future is already set in stone?
It’s a thought-provoking question about free will and the power to shape your destiny.
11. Are humans getting better through the generations?
If we look at human evolution, we can see that the last centuries were characterized by continuous progress. Surely, there were ups and downs but it cannot be denied that there were significant improvements.
In this technological age, it may, however, be interesting to reflect if humans are actually getting better with each generation. This question is not so much directed at scientific or technological progress. It focuses more on human qualities and behaviors. Have we really evolved throughout the decades? Were our forefathers morally and intellectually less gifted?
12. Is human morality learned?
Where does morality stem from? Is it something that we pick up from our families, friends, and teachers? Or is it something that lies innate within us?
13. Is life better now than in the past?
When we superficially look at this question, we may come to the conclusion that life is much better now than for instance 50, 200 or even thousand years in the past. However, this judgment is mainly based on advancements in various areas, such as technology, healthcare, human rights and ease of living.
But if we deduct these advancements from our considerations, is modern-day life still much better than it was in the past? Are we happier today than people were 50 years ago? Are we leading lives that are more fulfilling and meaningful?
Perhaps, you might come to the conclusion that our forefathers were equally happy about their lives, despite the much tougher circumstances.
14. How will the apocalypse look like?
Scientists keep telling us that the sun will eventually use up the hydrogen that fuels it. Once this point is reached, the sun will die. But before that happens, the sun will start to expand until ultimately, it destroys everything that is left on earth.
It’s really interesting to ponder about how the apocalypse will actually come about. Will it really happen in 5 billion years from now, or have human beings settled over to other galaxies by that time? Perhaps the apocalypse is even much closer than many may think. Will human beings cause such an apocalyptic event or is it possible that asteroids cause it to happen?
As you can see, these are some pretty thought-provoking questions.
15. Will humans ever be able to populate other planets?
With the impressive advancements in space exploration technologies, is it possible that humans will eventually start living on other planets as well? There are ongoing plans to send a manned mission to Mars. Are these plans only the beginning of a great colonization of other planets?
This development does not necessarily have to be limited to Mars only. Perhaps, humans will once be able to identify earth-like planets in other solar systems and live on these planets as well.
16. Should high-risk individuals be jailed before committing a crime?
Philip K. Dick’s science fiction short story “The Minority Report” poses thought-provoking questions about dealing with crime predictions. If we were to assume that one day in the future, advanced algorithms – or something entirely different – could predict crimes, would it be morally right to jail individuals long before they actually commit a crime?
17. Is there something greater than ourselves?
If you’re looking for a really controversial subject, it’s the question if a supreme power exists. A large number of people alive today feel (at least in some way) connected to something greater than themselves. And while there are roughly 900 million atheists, the number of people who believe in a higher power is much bigger.
While both nonbelievers and believers are firmly convinced of their beliefs, it’s not so easy – or even impossible – to find a definite answer to the question.
However, I find it just as interesting to think about a world that emerged from brilliant coincidences just as it is interesting to ponder about a supreme power that set it all in motion.
I hope you enjoyed the deep (philosophical) questions mentioned above. Let’s move on with thought-provoking questions that make you think.
18. What is worse: Failing or not even trying in the first place?
You may deeply despise failure, but is it really worse than not trying in the first place? While failing can be incredibly painful, the regret of not having tried last a lifetime.
19. What small changes could drastically improve people’s lives?1
Often times, small changes can have a huge impact. Do you think there is something really small you could change about this world that could potentially benefit hundreds or even thousands of other people?
20. What would you change about this world?
Let’s say you were given the power to change one aspect of this world, what would it be? Would you change something about yourself and your own life? Or would you change something that helps other people lead a better life, even if you did not benefit from it?
21. For what cause or person would you sacrifice your life?
Is there something you would give your life for? Is there a person in your life that you would sacrifice your life for?
22. To what extent does fate shape your life?
What do you think, do you shape your destiny or is it all already set in stone?
23. What’s the single most important issue the world needs to address?
There are many issues mankind needs to address. But what do you think is the single most important issue that immediately needs to be addressed? What issue needs to be addressed so badly that all the other issues seem more or less secondary?
24. Is it more important to do things right than doing the right thing?
By doing things right, you can accomplish great successes. At the same time, doing things right does not always imply that you are doing the right thing. Just because someone has attained greatness or even perfection in a specific activity does not mean that this activity is necessarily the right thing to do.
So what do you think, is it really more important to do things right instead of doing the right thing? Is it better to do the right thing even if you cannot always do it right?
25. What event in your life shaped you the most?
The circumstances of our lives and the experiences we make in life shaped us to a great degree. Sometimes, it can be incredibly interesting to ponder about the single most important event in your life that greatly shaped who you are today.
26. If you could advise your younger self, what would you say?
There may be some mistakes you made in the past that you regret deeply. If you could go back in time, would you advise your younger self to act differently? And even more importantly, what kind of advice would you give?
Also, do you think you would have turned out to be the same person as you are today if it wasn’t for these mistakes?
27. Can true happiness ever be attained from things outside yourself?
We often pursue ever more in the hope that by adding something new to our lives, we will ultimately become happy. It seems, however, that this rat race is never coming to an end. At the same time, we seek to fulfill all our desires, without even realizing that they are more or less insatiable.
A thought-provoking question may be to ask yourself where true happiness stems from. Can true happiness only be found within yourself, or are there external sources that allow you to be magnificently happy?
28. Will it ever be possible to discover the truth about everything?
Will scientific knowledge advance to such a degree that we are able one day to explain every phenomenon in existence?
28.1 Is it okay to do something wrong if no one finds out?
Is it okay to do something immoral here and there if no one will ever find out? Could these acts even be considered wrong if no one ever knew about them?
29. Will the future be much better than the present?
Life today is already much better than it was 50 years ago when considering the great advancements we made in areas such as technology and healthcare. Will this rapid progress continue in the future so that our descendants will lead much better lives than we do today? How would this life look like?
30. How do you know your beliefs are true?
You may know how quickly your beliefs about certain things can change. You may once have firmly believed in something, but eventually discovered the true nature of things.
How can you be so sure that your present beliefs are absolutely true?
31. What lie do you repeatedly tell yourself?
We all lie to ourselves, day in and day out. Sometimes, you might have unrealistic expectations about your life. In other cases, you might hold on to aspects of the past that no longer exist.
Do you realize when you lie to yourself?1 And even more interestingly, what’s the number one lie you repeatedly tell yourself?
32. Do villains consider themselves to be heroes?
In most movies, the villains are portrayed as truly evil and wicked beings. There are only a few movies that take the time to explore the underlying motives of the antagonist’s behaviors.
The same holds true for reality. While there are horrible psychopaths that do evil things for no good reason, there may also be people who do evil things because they believe that it is the right thing to do.
It might be a thought-provoking question to ask yourself if there are some evil people who actually believe they are the heroes.
33. Are you truly free?
If you’re reading this, chances are high you’re living in a free and open society. But sometimes, people live within the confines of mental prisons. They might perceive themselves to be free, but their thinking limits themselves. At the same time, there may be boundaries that society imposes upon us, without imprisoning us in a physical prison.
Can you truly say for yourself that you are leading a free life? How could you increase your level of personal freedom?
34. Does everyone have a purpose in life?
Does every single human being have a purpose in life? Is everyone’s existence meaningful?
Discovering your life’s purpose is definitely not an easy task. At the same time, can the purpose of your life be discovered or do you have to actively create this purpose? To what degree do you think are you responsible for creating your purpose in life?
35. If no one observes an event, did it happen?
Every day, things happen in life that no one – not even animals – observe. But did these things happen if no one is there to notice it?
36. Are you the same person you were 7 or 10 years ago?
Every day, cells in the body die and are replaced by others. It is a normal process that goes on during our entire lives. Interestingly enough, white blood cells have an incredibly long lifespan of more than a year. This means that all the cells in your body are replaced after a little bit more than a year. Other cells last much shorter, some are even replaced within hours.
Are you still the same person even though every single cell in your body has been replaced?
37. If you could live forever, what would you do?
Eternal life is quite an interesting concept. But what would you do if you could live forever? Do you think the advantages of not dying outweigh the potential disadvantages? Would it be easy to see all the people you’ve come to love die over and over again?
38. Will there be a time where there is no war?
If there’s one constant about human history, it’s the fact that there were always wars. Will there be a time where there is peace everywhere? What do you think would promote such a peace?
39. What makes people evil?
What causes people to do evil act? Is it something that comes from the inside? Or could it be potentially the influence of external circumstances?
40. If your resources were unlimited, would you live a different life?
Would you greatly change your life if you were granted access to unlimited resources? Would you become an entirely different person?
I hope you enjoyed this article about thought-provoking questions that make you think.