Take the Challenge: the Proust Questionnaire
35 Intense Questions That Showcase Your Personality
What’s this Proust Questionnaire?
I first became aware of heard of the Proust Questionnaire because I had stumbled upon David Bowie’s answers. I even posted my own answers on a long lost blog.
Call it a parlor game, call it an edifying pack of interview questions. The Proust Questionnaire is named after Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist. The questions reveal one’s personality, Proust believed.
I’m going to use the version of the questions from the Vanity Fair article ) and answer them here.
Here we go:
Q 1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
“Perfect” happiness? That’s wild. The word “perfect” chokes me, puts a hand around my neck and wants to make me pick just one ideal of happiness. No, there is so *much* happiness.
Petting a dog or cat — everyday simple pleasures. Drinking iced tea, smelling fresh cut grass, seeing corn growing in a field. (Yes, I’m from Ohio.) Driving under a clear blue sky, pausing to hear birds chirp, being barefoot in my ownr own home. Dinner with friends, conceiving of a creative project, quiet time along, a loud concert by a favorite band.
Is perfect happiness obtaining $100 million? Is cash the answer?
Well, some say it might — the cliche of the lottery winner who goes bankrupt quickly. But I’m talking building something, brick by brick. Is that happiness? I’d say it might well be, if what you build is for a reason. If building that entity brings value. “Massive value” as Tony Robbins et. al. might say. Like Tom Bilyeu helping to build Quest Nutrition to help his mother and sister, concocting something healthy that they would choose because it is also tasty.
So, happiness to me would be taking that time to smell the roses or as Jon Acuff might say, to pet all the dogs.
Q 2. What is your greatest fear?
Not a big fan of heights. Hard to drive on bridges now and then. Shrug.
But I’m not gonna fall. Probably the worst thing that would happen to somebody is not living full out, not being “fully alive,” like the St. Iraeneus quote. The idea is not to “die with your music still in you,” like Wayne Dyer warned. My fear would be not to write something edifying.
Q 3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Well, I’ve read before of people who did not “suffer fools gladly.” I’m one of those people. I can suffer fools, but not gladly. And I refuse to be one. Maybe it’s when I lack patience that I deplore that lack? More than that, I deplore whatever missing the mark I committed that put me in a situation to have to suffer fools. That’s my answer of the moment.
Q 4. What is the trait you deplore in others?
Dishonesty. Lying is deplorable. Cheating. Angling.
Q 5. Which living person do you most admire?
Currently Lisa Nichols of Motivating the Masses. Lisa Nichols is a speaker, CEO, mom of Jelani. She communicates deep concepts that improve people’s lives, and she does this important work while having fun. Lisa recently lost around 80 pounds, and I admire that. I admire her intelligence, and the way she steadily worked her way out of having less than $12 in the bank to where she is now — a nationally known speaker with multiple books under her belt. She’s positive, honorable, and has a mission that matters.
Q 6. What is your greatest extravagance?
Not much extravagance going on in my current state of mind. I do like to have a meal with friends at our local Tex-Mex chain though.
Q 7. What is your current state of mind?
Oh, I’m like that R.E.M. lyric — “hopeful despite the times.”
Q 8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Patience. I’m not down on patience like Tom Bilyeu is down on that virtue. Patience is near forgiveness, which is certainly valuable as taught by Marianne Williamson in the Course in Miracles teaching. But patience as in just waiting is often useless.
Q 9. On what occasion do you lie?
“How are you?” “Fine thanks, how are you?” Not the kind of conversation I’d want to have, but it’s a habit we have in society, an empty way to say hello. We are rarely “fine.” Our “fine” is a bland , withholding lie.
Q 10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I could stand to lose about 50 pounds.
Q 11. Which living persons do you most despise?
DJT. Enough. No need for more than one person.
Q 12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
Q 13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Same. Conversation with enthusiasm and intelligence.
Q 14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“I wanna” or “I’m gonna.”
Q 15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Life is long. What comes to mind with all sincerity is learning to love myself. Didn’t imagine I’d be referencing Whitney Houston in this answer.
Q 16. When and where were you happiest?
My mom recently showed me an old, black and white photo booth photo of my brother and me from our early twenties. Those were the happiest times of my life.
Q 17. What talent is it that you would most like to have?
First response is to play guitar — acoustic or electric. Second response is to learn to sing. But third response is to learn how to write well.
Q 18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to become more and more the person I’d like to be. Listening to Tom Bilyeu, I’ve heard him talk abut “I’m the kind of person who ___.” I even wrote a post about it:
How do you finish the sentence? How do you fill in the blank?medium.com
I am becoming the person I have always wanted to be. Being physically fit is that one thing.
Q 19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Graduating college? Becoming a better kitty mom? Maybe the best is yet to come. I plan to create writing that moves people.
Q 20. If you were to do and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?
Might as well be a butterfly. Love the book “Hope for the Flowers” by Trina Paulus.
Q 21. Where would you most like to live?
Right where I am in my hometown, Cincinnati, Ohio. No plans to move. I’d like to visit the southwest, maybe New York. Utah. Mountains. Mesas.
Q 22. What is your most treasured possession?
Nothing. I care about photos, things I’ve written, a favorite shirt or pair of jeans
Q 23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Unwillingness. Willingness is the basis for everything. To change our mental/emotional state, to change our life situations. Don’t give up. Keep going. Be willing.
Q 24. What is your favorite occupation?
I like to eat burritos and talk about creativity. Excited to write a few parody songs someday.
Q 25. What is your most marked characteristic?
I’ve been called a chatterbox. I type fast. Putting those two statements together, you can imagine I’m hell on wheels on Facebook Messenger.
Q 26. What do you most value in your friends?
Spontaneity. Showing up.
Q 27. Who are your favorite writers?
Not literary stars of fiction. My favorite writers are the growth mindset or personal development advocates that I follow: Lisa Nichols, Tom Bilyeu, Mel Robbins. Cheryl Richardson.
Q 28. Who is your hero of fiction?
Yellow or Stripe of the “Hope for the Flowers” book.
Q 29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
There was a time I’d have said Emily Dickinson.
Q 30. Who are your heroes in real life?
Really into Lisa Nichols and Tom Bilyeu right now. They are not extraordinary.
Q 31. What are your favorite names?
Icarus and Daedalus.
Q 32. What is it you most dislike?
Q 33. What is your greatest regret?
Q 34. How would you like to die?
Q 35. What is your motto?
Wave hi to life.
That’s all 35 questions.
Feel free to post your answers in a comment below — or tag me in your own post.
Keep in mind, my answers are a snapshot of how I feel this minute. My responses might change in a day, a week, a year. Your mileage may vary.