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Day 4 of 14 - Taking inventory of yourself...

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

In this series of short articles I will reflect on my daily thoughts and observations, look at things that happen around me from different perspectives and add things that I find worth reading or that help me in my day-to-day life... I will try to keep it up for 14 days as a little experiment - please enjoy.

This is #4.


Having too much time on your hands and not getting bored can be a challenging task at times. But why not use this time and try to take inventory of yourself for what happened in 2019 or - if you have already done so - for the beginning of 2020? I haven't been asking myself a lot of critical questions in the past about how successful a certain period of time has been, how many of my goals I have achieved, what the distractions were that kept me from achieving more...

But now might be a good time to start so here's a little guide to do exactly that - it's from the book "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. If you find some of the questions antiquated or not very fitting, you can try to come up with versions that suit you better - remember: the book has been written over 80 years ago and the author aimed to primarily promote tools and methods for "business men" in the period after the "Great Depression" - examples given in the book primarily focus on sales and marketing professionals.

A few rules to take stock of what you've achieved: Your self-analysis should be made at the end of each year or at the end of a longer, definite period of time, so you can include in your (New Year's/Phase's) resolutions any improvements which the analysis indicates should be made. Take this inventory by asking yourself the following questions, and by checking your answers with the aid of someone who will not permit you to deceive yourself as to their accuracy.

As for the results: generally speaking, with any kind of self-assessment that takes your development over a longer period of time into account you will figure out whether you've been going ahead, standing still or moving backwards in life. The goal should be to disclose a decrease in faults and an increase in virtues.

So, with no further adieu, here's the"Self-Analysis Questionnaire for Personal Inventory" from the Book "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill:

  1. Have I attained the goal which I established as my objective for this year? (You should work with a definite yearly objective to be attained as a part of your major life objective.)

  2. Have I delivered service of the best possible quality of which I was capable, or could I have improved any part of this service?

  3. Have I delivered service in the greatest possible quantity of which I was capable?

  4. Has the spirit of my conduct been harmonious and cooperative at all times?

  5. Have I permitted the habit of procrastination to decrease my efficiency and if so, to what extent?

  6. Have I improved my personality, and if so, in what ways?

  7. Have I been persistent in following my plans through to completion?

  8. Have I reached decisions promptly and definitely on all occasions?

  9. Have I permitted any one or more of the six basic fears [poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love of someone, old age, death] to decrease my efficiency?

  10. Have I been either “over-cautious,” or “under-cautious”?

  11. Has my relationship with my associates in work been pleasant, or unpleasant? If it has been unpleasant, has the fault been partly, or wholly mine?

  12. Have I dissipated any of my energy through lack of concentration of effort?

  13. Have I been open-minded and tolerant in connection with all subjects?

  14. In what way have I improved my ability to render service?

  15. Have I been intemperate in any of my habits?

  16. Have I expressed, either openly or secretly, any form of egotism?

  17. Has my conduct toward my associates been such that it has induced them to respect me?

  18. Have my opinions and decisions been based upon guesswork, or accuracy of analysis and thought?

  19. Have I followed the habit of budgeting my time, my expenses, and my income, and have I been conservative in these budgets?

  20. How much time have I devoted to unprofitable effort which I might have used to better advantage?

  21. How may I re-budget my time, and change my habits so I will be more efficient during the coming year?

  22. Have I been guilty of any conduct which was not approved by my conscience?

  23. In what ways have I rendered more service and better service than I was paid to render?

  24. Have I been unfair to anyone, and if so, in what way?

  25. If I had been the purchaser of my own services for the year, would I be satisfied with my purchase?

  26. Am I in the right vocation, and if not, why not?

  27. Has the purchaser of my services been satisfied with the service I have rendered, and if not, why not?

  28. What is my present rating on the fundamental principles of success? (Make this rating fairly, and frankly, and have it checked by someone who is courageous enough to do it accurately.)


If you can't find any inspiration in the questions above but you find the idea in itself helpful - to take a step back and review the past couple of months or the whole year - here are some other methods, questions and ideas to take a personal inventory.

The first one I found on - it's quite an exhaustive introduction on how to reflect and taking stock of your areas of interest, testing your personality and conducting an interest inventory.

Here's another one from James Clear, the author of "Atomic Habits". He usually asks himself three questions at the end of each year - "What went well?", "What didn't go so well?" and "What am I working toward?" - and answers them focusing on his key areas of interest:


If you are interested in any of the above mentioned publications and some more content from the above mentioned authors, here are some of the books they've written:

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (Amazon Affiliate Link:

Atomic Habits by James Clear (Amazon Affiliate Link:

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