Questions to Ask Your “It”

A few weeks ago I shared with you that my upcoming book, It Builds Character: A Father Considers His Own Advice is about how we all have our it, struggle with our it, and that our it, as annoying and scary and heartbreaking it is, has entered into of lives to, ultimately, teach us something.

Now, our first instincts might be to hide or run or simply ignore it. Because, let’s be honest, it is probably unwanted. It eats our stress and anxiety the way my teenage children eat chocolate chip cookies.

It is uncomfortable, levels us vulnerable, and, like a cow without a map, causes utter confusion.

My life with an incurable brain disease has taught me that if we can find the courage and empathy (both of which, like chocolate chip cookies in my house, aren’t always easily found) to explore our it, we can find a new perspective, renewed purpose, and a restored love of ourselves.

In my suburban quest to answer, “Does it build character?” I’ve learned that asking it questions is essential for building character. But before it can build character, asking it meaningful questions is elemental. Questions are not only fundamental for learning; they’re fundamental for building relationships. And like it or not, we are in a relationship with it. Like any relationship, we have to attend to it. Listen to it. Pay attention to it. Building a healthy relationship with our it is essential for becoming a better version of ourselves.

And so, sometimes the bravest thing to do, after you’ve eaten all the chocolate chip cookies, is ask it a question, listen to the silence, and just wait, for however long, until you discover the answer.

Questions to Ask Your It:

What little things can I do today, and tomorrow, to positively deal with it?

What can I do today, and tomorrow, to feel emotionally and physically stronger?

Do you love myself enough to forgive myself?

Who do I admire? Why?

Who don’t I admire? Why?

What do I need to accept right now?

If a person I love was dealing with it, what advice would I give them?

Does feeling sorry for myself make me feel good?

Am I doing my best?

Am I making myself proud?

What is it asking of me?

What am I grateful for?

What healthy habit could I begin today and continue tomorrow?

If I can be kind to others, why is it so hard to be kind to myself?

What is it’s name? Why?

What feelings or attitudes about it do I need to let go of right now? 

 What is it trying to teach me? 

Be well,


Greetings to everyone who found me on the University of Pennsylvania’s Ataxia Clinic’s website! Thanks for stopping by. Though I’m not a doctor, I hope my words comfort, encourage, empower, and serve as good company on your journey.

Buy Here!

May Book Promos for You:

Are looking for inspiration? Are you searching for a better version of yourself?

This month I joined literary forces with some best-selling authors in two awesome book promotions. Click the link below:

Book Haven

LINK: Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take…

A few months ago, with low expectations, I took a shot and entered “Bedtime Stories for the Living” in the highly regarded, highly competitive international book contest presented by Readers’ Favorite. Readers’ Favorite is an established force in the publishing industry. They have worked with Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors.

Anyway, just before I was about to take a midday nap, I was informed that this suburban dad had won…

First Prize, the Gold Medal, in the Non-Fiction/Parenting genre!

Here’s what I’m currently reading:  A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman 

If you like this post, you may also like:

It Takes a Village to Stay Alive


The One Thing We Need To Be Happy


I’ve Never Seen a Wild Thing Feel Sorry for Itself


Jay Armstrong is a speaker and an award-winning author. Despite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. The leader of the Philadelphia Ataxia Support Group, he hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life.

For Jay, a good day consists of 5 things:

1. Reading
2. Writing 
3. Exercising
4. Hearing his three children laugh
5. Hugging his wife
(Bonus points for a dinner with his parents or a drink with his friends)

Jay hasn’t had a bad day in quite a long time. 

You can also visit Jay at

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