Analyze Your Own Answers to “20 Questions”

By Donnie McKinney  c 2005



IMPORTANT:  Make sure you have answered the “20 Questions” on the previous page before you use this analysis in order to get the best results. If you haven’t done so, please return to that page and answer the questions.  Return to "20 Questions"


If you were open and honest with yourself in answering the “20 Questions,” your responses will tell a lot about what has caused you to be unhappy. Your situation, unfortunately, is much the same as a huge number of teens. The hardest part of this on your part will be to even accept what I’m saying and take action to change your life. The fictitious and erroneous thought patterns that have developed in your subconscious mind, unbeknownst to you, can cause you to be unwilling to believe that a major change in your life is even possible. It is.


Here are some thoughts about what your answers “might” mean in your life. The notes in parentheses following each response indicate related articles in "The Real Me" study that will provide you with more detailed explanations of the principles involved.   The Real Me



  • What makes you happy?  Do you seem to need other people or events in your life to be happy?  Happiness is a by-product of doing a lot of different things “right” in your life. When you’re truly happy, you feel that way whether you are alone or doing something with other people. Most of the things people "think" affect happiness simply don’t. For instance, I’ve met really happy poor people, and I’ve met really unhappy poor people. I’ve also met really happy rich people and really unhappy rich people. Material things don’t make you happy. (Attitude, Goal-Setting)


  • Have you had some kind of traumatic event that affects your life? Physical or sexual or even mental abuse, for instance, as a child? Losing a parent or someone else you loved?  Traumatic experiences, and the repressed emotions and intentions that result from them, are insidious in the way they affect your life. For an explanation of how this works, go to 
    Traumatic Experiences


  • Do you know what your unique, natural God-given talents and abilities are?  If so, are you doing anything to use and develop them?  What activities are you involved in that use them?  If there is a key to being happy, successful and fulfilled in life, your natural talents provide the clues. Every highly successful and fulfilled person I have ever met or studied had one thing in common – they did what they loved to do. If you don’t know what your natural talents are, then one of the first things you need to do is to start identifying them, doing activities using them and setting huge goals based on them. (Talents)


  • Do you have a close and personal relationship with God?  Have you never been exposed to God? Does your family attend church? Were you close to God at one time, but got disillusioned or drifted away for some other reason?  Many teens I meet think they are atheists or don’t believe God exists. Sometimes they are mad at God for things that have happened in their lives. Sometimes they are simply turned off to God because of the way “religious” people they know have acted. I have also found that most unhappy or depressed teens’ thinking changes once their minds are cleared up. So, if you fit the “I don’t believe in God” group, my suggestion is simply to not give up on God, yet ;)  Go to "A Personal Relationship with God"


  • Are you in control of your emotions?  Or, do they seem to jerk you around? Do you find ways to respond to feeling out of control; such as, cutting or anorexia or bulimia?  It’s a bad feeling when you think you aren’t in control of your own life. You are. You just don’t know it, yet. All these thoughts are fictitious and erroneous, too. It’s important to understand that cutting and other expressions of this are simply symptoms of the real problem.  (Power of Choice, Self-Esteem)


  • Are you thankful for everything you have, even the bad things?  Do you wish you had more things?  Do you have trouble thinking of things in your life that you are thankful for?  You have two choices in any given situation - you can either be thankful for what you have, or you can regret that you don’t have more. The attitude you choose will determine your happiness in life. It’s that simple. “The Real Me” study explains how to develop an attitude of gratitude. (Attitude)


  • Do you think either of your parents don't love you (or both)?  Is either parent verbally or physically abusive?  This is the one common factor in the life of every confused, depressed, and sometimes suicidal, teen that I have encountered. It is vital in your life to understand that you cannot control other people. All you can control is your reaction to them. Regardless of whether your parents really don’t love you or you just “perceive” that they don’t, the effect is the same. No other human being controls who you are, how you feel or who you become in your life. (Self-Esteem)


  • Are your parents divorced?  This relates to 7, above. For some weird reasons, children feel that their parents’ inability to get along is their fault. That’s not true, but it doesn’t matter as long as they feel that way. Another way this influences self-esteem is the perception that is sometimes held when one of the parents doesn’t come around enough. The reason doesn’t relate to the child, but they can still “perceive” that it means a parent doesn’t love them enough. (Self-Esteem)


  • Do alcohol or drugs help you to cope when things get unbearable?  Again, these are just symptoms of the real problem. The real problem is damaged self-esteem and the resulting feelings of being out of control or hopelessness that follow. (Self-Esteem)


  • Do you feel that you don't really like yourself sometimes?  This is an indicator of damaged self-esteem. It is based on fictitious and erroneous thought patterns and emotions, but it is real as long as you think it is. (Self-Esteem)


  • Can you identify a huge goal you are working on right now?  Your mind can only concentrate on one thing at a time. The secret to becoming who you want to become and being happy, successful and fulfilled in life is directly related to setting humongous goals around your natural talents. If you have no goal in mind, you are drifting through life on autopilot. The problem is you don’t know what the autopilot is set on. (Talents, Goal-Setting)


  • Can you think of goals you have achieved in the past that make you feel good about yourself?  Self-confidence is built on accomplishing things successfully. Big successes are built on small successes. If you haven’t achieved any goals you set in the past, then it’s obvious that you need to set some goals and get to work on them. (Goal Setting)


  • Do you think other people are smarter or better at social things, or just have it better in their lives?  This is caused by seeing other people doing things well that they have natural talents for and comparing yourself unfairly to their best traits. You also have natural talents and abilities that allow you to do some things better than they do. They are probably looking at you and thinking they are not as good because they can’t do whatever you’re doing as well as you do. All teens tend to think that way. Being thankful for what you have and having goals to achieve whatever you want in life is essential to overcoming this feeling. (Attitude, Self-Esteem, Goal Setting)


  • Do you feel that you have to be perfect in school work or other things?  This is caused by damaged self-esteem that makes you worry about what other people think and fear failing. Failing at something is just a step in learning new things. The other teens around you are worrying about what you think about them and don’t have time to be noticing what you do. The key is simply to accept yourself exactly as you are right this moment – an imperfect, but changing and growing, worthwhile human being. That’s the secret to healthy self-esteem. (Self-Esteem)


  • Do you feel that you're too fat or too thin?  You’ll probably notice that a lot of these questions relate to self-esteem. That’s because it’s the basis for reaching your potential and being happy, successful and fulfilled in life. Take responsibility for your life, beginning right now. Accept yourself exactly as you are. If you truly are too fat or too thin, then actions and habits in the past created what you see. You can’t change anything that has happened in the past. You can only learn from it and then move forward with your life. So, if you want to be different, don’t waste time fretting over how you are right now. Just set a goal to change to however you want to be. Then work on doing it. Regardless, you are “O.K.” however you are. Love yourself. Work toward where you want to be. Don’t waste time, energy and brain cells worrying about the past. (Self-Esteem, Goal Setting)


  • Do you look for someone to blame for your problems?  One common trait of highly successful people is that they take responsibility for their own actions. Learn to do that. If other people are truly to blame for your problems, then you have no control over your own life. While that may be comforting, it is totally incorrect. YOU are responsible for your own life. Learn from your mistakes. Take responsibility when you screw up. Be in control of your own life. (Human Conditioning)


  • Does life feel unfair sometimes - that other people have it better?  This is a totally false thought. You have within you everything you need to be happy, successful and fulfilled in life. Everybody is different. Everybody achieves different things. You can’t tell by looking at someone else whether they are happy or not. Besides, whatever makes them happy has no relation to your own happiness in life. You can “design” your life to be whatever you want it to be. (Self-Esteem, Talents, Goal Setting)


  • Do you spend a lot of time thinking about things that happened in the past?  Live in the present moment. Worrying about the past is a total waste of time, energy and brain cells. You cannot change anything that has happened in the past. All you can do is learn from the past and use your experiences and the knowledge gained from them to get where you want to be in your life. If a traumatic experience is involved, get professional help in releasing yourself from the “charge” of that experience (2. above). (Goal Setting)


  • Is there just too much going on in your life for you to get it all done?  Are you stressed out?  This feeling is like a huge black cloud that is about to smother you. The way to get rid of the big black cloud is to quantify and qualify the individual tasks that are ganging up on you. As long as they remain undefined you will feel that you have no control and you will be stymied in your efforts to get out of the situation you are in. Your mind will be wasting time feeling stressed instead of working on solutions.

    Sit down at your computer and make a list of every task that is piled up on you. After you get through brainstorming, rearrange them in order of importance. Work on the most important one first. When you get it done, work on the next most important one. There is no better way to invest your time than working on the most important thing in your life at any given moment. You may see that it is simply impossible to get them all done. If so, see which ones will cause the least damage to your life if they simple are left undone. If ignoring them for now won’t kill or seriously maim you, scratch those tasks off your list and don’t think about them any longer. You can only do what you can do. You can’t do any more. So fretting over things you cannot physically do is a waste of energy. You will find that you have taken back control of your life and the big cloud is gone.


  • Do you notice other people in your family being depressed or unhappy?  This question is simply to identify whether there is a possibility that there could be a genetic influence that might need medication to control. It seems that meds are freely prescribed, however, and many times they do not “fix” the real problem. If there is a relationship, however, it should not be overlooked. It is also likely that a teen’s problems can be related to “absorbing” thought patterns and reactions and emotions from other people they are around. Personally, I tend to think this is more likely the case, but I am not a doctor and don’t presume to know everything in that regard. (Human Conditioning)

    Go to "The Real Me"

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