Humans are complex creatures with complex characteristics. Understanding what “makes a person tick” can take a lifetime for some. Despite this, is it possible, in just three questions, to determine the heart and character of a person? I believe that there are three questions, when answered honestly, that can provide significant clarity about both the character and heart of anyone. These questions provide a glimpse into what kind of employee… what kind of spouse… what kind of friend… what kind of neighbor… what kind of adult… a person is or will be. OK, so here are the questions:
- What is your passion? – You can ask this question in several other ways, such as, “What motivates you?” Or, “What is important to you?” The point is to understand what it is that drives the person. When you understand an individual’s passion, you can peek into their purpose (or heart). If the individual is motivated by short-term, self-focused desires, he/she will likely have difficulty submitting to authority, seeking the input of others, and working well with others. A person’s passion speaks volumes about their motivation, enthusiasm, drive, and spirit. A person is at their best doing what they love. Almost as importantly, learning the “why” behind their passion can help uncover how they are shaped and what or who shaped them. Passion is a great definer that we should seek to uncover.
- Who do you serve? – I believe there are two kinds of people… those who want to be served and those who serve. In other words, there are givers and takers. When you ask a person who they serve, you are asking them to reveal which of these kinds they really are. If they say they serve themselves, their company, their boss, or someone that can impact directly their lives in a tangible way, chances are they are takers… individuals intent primarily on advancing their own cause. You will find most narcissists in this category. On the other hand, if the person says they serve their family, their country, individuals that cannot help themselves, their God, or something relating to the greater good, you can assume they live to give. Finding a person’s “serve” reveals much about how they will treat others. It also reveals much about their trustworthiness and overall attitude about life. You can also learn much about an individual when you learn why they serve who they serve. This reveals something about their heart.
- What are you collecting? – This question may seem out of character for such an important assessment. However, I believe everyone is collecting something. Some are collecting dollars, or things, or material wealth. Others are collecting friends, family, memories, or items we might call intangible. When you learn what a person “collects”, you learn much about their inner drive and motivation, their needs, and their attitude on life. And, when you learn “why” they collect what they collect, you learn key pieces of their character.
So, you can learn much about a person with these three simple questions. Their passions reveal their purpose and drive. Their “serve” reveals how they view others and whether they are givers or takers. What they collect tells you what they view as important. When viewed through these filters, you can almost always identify individuals that will be positive life influences or those that will be negative. These questions can also serve each of us as an internal checklist to help us evaluate whether our own lives are where we want or hope them to be. Try it by asking yourself these questions now, but you must answer honestly.
That’s it! Have a great day and consider how you can make a positive difference for someone else today.