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Self Reflection Writing Prompts

Do you welcome surprise?  

“Surprise is God’s way of saying ‘hello.’ The response is optional.”
— Joan Chittister

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That depends, you’d probably say.

It depends if it’s a pleasant or awful surprise.

We typically embrace and welcome the former.   We all like pleasant surprises.

But often we can only appreciate the latter only upon reflection, when much distance and time have passed.

10 Writing Prompts – For Your Exploration


  1. Surprise in the Mundane

How did a routine activity or place suddenly reveal something surprising or extraordinary to you?

  1. A Professional Pivot

Write about a career change or unexpected opportunity that led to your professional growth and success.

  1. The Surprise of Resilience

Write about a challenging situation you faced and how you surprised yourself with your resilience and strength.

  1. Navigating Uncertainty

When in your life did you face unexpected uncertainty? How did you cope, and what lessons did you learn about resilience and adaptability?

  1. Unexpected Connections

Explore the idea of meeting someone unexpectedly and the impact it had on your life or career.

  1. Hidden Gems

Share a story about discovering something valuable or meaningful in an unexpected place or situation.

  1. The Shock of the Unwelcome

Not all surprises are “good”. What unpleasant surprise shook you and how did you recover?

  1. The Power of Perspective Shift

Reflect on a time when a change in perspective or mindset led to a surprising transformation in your life.

  1. Unveiling the Unseen

Share a story about uncovering a hidden talent or passion later in life, and how it brought you joy and surprise.

  1. The Power of Connection

Share a story about a time when a connection with someone from a different background or culture surprised you with its depth and significance.

“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen in The Dance of Life

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