Homework Is a Gift

In preparation for a long meeting, someone who’s trying to get to know my business sent me a long questionnaire. It’s an 80-page document with hundreds of questions. Not all of them apply to me or Four Minute Books, and some of them repeat various times in slightly different phrasing.

It’s easy to open a document like this and think, “Oh god, homework. And lots of it.” But actually, a series of focused questions is usually a gift. A rare opportunity to reflect deeply about your work, life, or relationship with someone.

As I was scrolling through the document, thinking about the prompts, adding notes here and there, I caught myself plenty of times thinking: “Wow. That’s interesting. I never thought about it that way. Great question!”

Whether it’s a questionnaire, self-assessment test, or a thoughtful comment by a friend: Just because the timing of the prompt wasn’t perfect does not mean it’s not a good time to reflect. Without such unsolicited feedback, when will you ever? Life goes fast, and so do you. How easy for a year to pass without serious reflection and course correction!

The next time someone asks you to think about something, see it as a timely invitation instead of an untimely demand. Take a moment to breathe, reflect, and readjust your direction — because just like in school, the homework may seem like it’s only for the teacher, but in reality, it is — and always ways — for us.