There are 1,068 critical thinking questions in the Mental Toughness University curriculum, and in terms of getting what you want out of life, this is the ultimate. If you can answer yes to this question, you’re probably headed toward a world-class existence. If not, it’s never too late to change. Watch this short video I shot in the rain forest in Lake Arenal, Costa Rica. I’ll look forward to your comments. (and thanks to everyone who weighed in with such passion on the last post from Costa Rica. Another spirited (but respectful) debate. Steve Siebold (2:12)

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Steve Siebold
Author and Professional Speaker since 1997. Past Chairman of the National Speakers Association's Million Dollar Speakers Group. Author of 11 books with 1.4 million copies in print.

22 thoughts on “The Ultimate Critical Thinking Question”

  1. What if I want two things that seem to clash? Like I want to be an amazing full time mother, and wife, and community activist, but I’d love to be a wealthy business woman who makes enough to buy all the fancy things life can offer and then have enough left to convert a small African village into a self-sufficient, disease-free, and literate community. Plus, what if my husband prefers I just stick with my first goal? I feel torn, which leaves me not going anywhere.

  2. Hi Steve and all others who posted.
    Thank you for that amazing, we all need to be reminded of kind of question.
    I appreciate the other’s openess and personal responses. I find myself, that yes some days my actions, habits and behaviours are conguent and other days, where am I? I used to be consisent at being inconsistent! However, each time, I find that gap getting shorter and getting back in the saddle quicker. I think by becoming constantly aware on a daily basis and always asking, when you remember, is what I’m doing, thinking, becoming moving my life and those around me forward or not? Every positive action has a ripple affect. Thanks again.

    Edward Michael Raymond

  3. I have found that what I think, how I act and behave are the keys to a happy life.I do not feel I am always in the flow. Self realization guides me to be a more alive person for the benefit of myself and others. No matter what my goals are ,how I believe is the main ingredient to fullfilling all goals.It becomes habit. When it doesn’t work, change my thought is the key. See another way.There are many ways

  4. Your questions are always thought provoking. It’s a hard perspective about oneself, but you are right on about it’s impact on our believability in the world. It’s The Secret to success 🙂

  5. Hi Steve,

    I have only one thing to say — GREAT QUESTION. I am in the process of doing this and it’s not easy. But I believe once accomplished will remove unneccessary clutter and will open a path for clearer thinking. Again, great question.


  6. Hey Steve,
    When I first heard this question about 9 months ago in 177 Mental Toughness Secrets my answer to the question was a flat out NO. But since then I have been aggressively adjusting my course to become congruent and I if I was completely honest I would have to say I’m about 50% there. I know I still have alot of work to do but hearing this question again has suddenly put things in perspective as it makes me realise that I am so much closer then I was nine months ago. Thanks again for putting things in perspective for me, you truly are a pioneer of introspective thinking.

  7. Ken,
    what an inspiring response. World Class success should not be just measured in monetary success. Being and doing what is right for you and your loved once is also World Class success. Your personal happiness is what counts. Look at Mother Teresa. She never sought financial success, but was beloved by countless people.
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    Mike Jacobi

  8. Hi Steve,
    Great question!
    I too have been going around in circles for the last couple of years – in other words no where! Flitting from one goal/vision to another without achieving any of them. I have in the last few months decided on a concrete goal/vision and I’m slowly and surely becoming congruent with it.
    Thank you very much for the reminder.
    Best wishes, Richard

  9. To tell you the truth, I’m with Cynthia and I think she’s hit on something most in the motivational speaking industry rarely talk about–life getting in the way on a large scale. How does one stay motivated when life gets in the way–on a permanent basis?

    Sometimes I find myself getting caught up in the “rah-rah-rah-you-can-have-everything-you-want” philosophies, and then have to do a reality check. I see people who spend their entire lives dealing with life’s detours just to survive, like the widows I’ve spent time with that give up everything to raise their kids while managing clinical depression or relentless panic attacks. Or the dad who comes down with a crippling disease that cuts his “have it all” dream short. I’ll ask myself sometimes if their habits, actions and behaviors were the cause of their misfortune and the answer is mostly, no. Life happens. But for me, how they handle it is what inspires me and sets them apart as world class thinkers.

    I know my posterity won’t remember me for the business I owned or any personal monetary achievement, but they will remember what kind of a husband and father I’ve been. I’ve never been perfect and I am frustrated by my weaknesses and blunders. But I try on a continual basis to maintain a vision of what I want to be and kick myself on those days when I take two steps back instead of forward and you know me well enough to know the backward days stand out!

    Medical issues have been my lot. I spent 20+ years of my life researching a cure to overcome something that made my life a living hell and I had to take valuable habits, actions, and behaviors and put them to work to do what 46 doctors/practitioners said couldn’t be done. Spending six figures out of pocket on medical disasters kinda limited my options and postponed some dreams. Life does have a way of getting in the way. Having a family and raising kids with one of them on life support from an accident–sometimes things go wrong that prevent world class successes from coming about regardless of how perfect one’s habits, actions, and behaviors are.

    I lost a dear friend this week to pancreatic cancer and she was the model of success, but her abilities were crippled from her illness. Her business failed. She may not have been a millionaire, or a star speaker on stage, but how she courageously faced her misfortune, being a great wife, loving mother, kind neighbor and one who put others first, even to the day before her death put her character in a world class level that can’t be measured by temporal “world class” standards.

    When I see single moms trying to make a go of raising a few kids by themselves and doing the incredible balancing act of making time, little money, food, health, nurturing and everything else work in harmony without complaining makes me ashamed of myself if I complain about what I haven’t achieved. When I see one of those single moms keep positive upbeat attitudes while dealing with a handicapped child in a wheelchair, putting her own life on hold for the life of her child makes me really stop and think about how I define success or how to truly answer your question with the depth that it deserves.

    Sometimes world class people aren’t the most visible but I don’t have to look far to find such stellar teachers like these whose actions, habits, and behaviors set the best examples for me. When I do all I can to align my attitudes and character to be like them, those are the days I can answer yes to your question.



  10. Thank you Steve for asking the question and thank you Mike for reminding me I can’t trick the Universe.

  11. Hey Steve, What a ‘Wake -Up’ Call ! This short video clip has just made me realize the extent of my self sabotage. After losing my business, with mountains of debt and foreclosure, I have gone into a high speed negative spiral with multiple bad habits, loss of focus and massive self pity. You’ve just punched me right..where it hurts. I’ve printed the CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION on a small card and read it out loud every hour of the day ( and night ‘ when I can’t sleep )
    THANK YOU !!

  12. These were great words for all of us to think about. Setting your goals high enough seems to be the answer if you want the actions, habits and behaviors to follow. The question for me is “Will you believe you can attain them when you set them high?” Along with the actions needed to get to the highest point, I believe it is the belief in yourself and setting small goals each day that can be achieved and measured. Anything else you can add to instill a higher belief system would be great.

  13. Great, great question. Mike, your post really resonates. Think big, Act bigger. My new mantra! Steve enjoy your trip and as always you are inspiring!

  14. Steve,
    like always a great post and a great questions. Here is an objective reality answer: If your habits, actions and behaviors are not congruent with your vision, the Universe will reduce your vision based on your actual habits, actions and behaviors. So, even if you say, I will not reduce my vision, but your are then not picking up your pace on the habits, actions and behaviors, your vision will be reduced so it is congruent with your habits, actions and behaviors. You can’t trick the Universe.
    Mike Jacobi

  15. Hi Steve, I currently find myself in the same spot as Cynthia. I am an entrepreneur at heart, and for the past couple years I have been attempting online marketing for profit.

    Fortunately I have made some money which lets me know it’s possible. But back in JUly of this year I just kinda lost my motivation, it may have been because of the extreme heat of the summer or, I jokingly say, I might need to take some better vitamins.

    It’s good to know that at anytime one can change ones thoughts and thinking for a better life.

    Before reading your post here, I have to honestly say, I’ve never considered if my thinking, goals and vision were congruent. I just assumed they were, as long as I was moving towards them in a positive light.

    Guess I have some more thinking to do, some corrections to make.

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. What a reality check. My goals and vision are not congruent lately. I have been many times in my life however lately it’s been harder. What suggestions do you have other than get back to work. I think everyone knows thats the only solution. How do you get re motivated when this thing called life gets in the way?

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