5 Simple Questions Successful People Ask Themselves Every Day

UPDATED: August 5, 2021
PUBLISHED: October 11, 2017

SUCCESS.com’s article on 10 things successful people never do again reminded me of Steve Jobs’ often-quoted philosophy about the importance of questioning yourself. “If today were the last day of my life, would I do what I’m about to do today?” It’s true: The most successful people have the ability to objectively evaluate themselves on a regular basis—their skills, their actions and their progress toward goals.

Related: 3 Questions to Wake Up and Stop Living on Autopilot

They don’t sleepwalk through the routine. They’re actively thinking about the things they do. But questioning yourself doesn’t mean second-guessing yourself. It means evaluating your status and objectives, and what you’ll do to reach them with a clear, unbiased mind. It’s a practice that will help make you think and become more successful in work and life.

Here are five simple questions that successful people ask themselves every day:

1. Am I in the right niche?

If you don’t have passion for your job, you won’t be motivated to overcome the natural barriers and obstacles that life puts in the way of success. And even if you started out with passion by the bucketful, that can fade. This is why it’s so important to routinely check in with yourself and your motivation. If you feel like your passion is waning and you’re burning out, a change may be necessary to reignite your energy for business. Finding a niche that sustains you emotionally will give you the clear mind and passionate drive you need to succeed.

2. Am I learning from my mistakes?

Most patterns of success include plenty of failure. That’s completely normal—even healthy. However, the important thing is that you’re learning and you’re rarely making the same mistake twice. When you hit a roadblock, take time to evaluate what went wrong, what needs to change, and how you can prevent it from happening in the future. Try to take a nugget of wisdom from each failure you encounter on your road to success.

3. Am I consistently pushing my own boundaries?

Success isn’t attained by driving the speed limit or sticking to the beaten path. You can rest assured that the people who do well in your industry are constantly pushing ahead and challenging their own boundaries. Creating new, more audacious goals and attempting to reach them will keep your passion ignited and keep you striving toward success. Push through professional barriers and always look to achieve the impossible.

4. What is my game plan?

While you are challenging yourself, you should also map out strategies that will allow you to become more efficient and precise. If you are trying to work faster and better, you need to develop routines and processes that allow you to do so. Sit down and create the physical map that will take you from where you are to where you want to go. Leave room for detours that could end up being shortcuts as you learn and grow.

5. Do I still believe I can do this?

The most important ingredient of success is the belief in yourself and what you’re striving toward. The highest ambitions are nothing without the conviction that you can actually reach them. Take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if your passion and drive match up with your aspirations. Skills and know-how are less than half the battle. If you don’t believe you can do it, it’ll be hard to convince anyone else you can. You have to be your own cheerleader before you can expect anyone else to be.

Related: 10 Little Things Successful People Do Differently

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.

 Abby Perkins is Editor in Chief at Talent Tribune, where she writes about leadership, workplace culture and HR software.