What kind of “why” questions do you ask yourself, and how are you acting on the results? You may be smarter than a 5th grader, but do you conduct research better than a 2 or 3-year old?
“Why?” is a powerful research tool; one highly recommended by the leading 2 and 3 years olds across the world. At 2 and 3, information is innocently gathered with one simple word: “why?” As kids get better at talking, listening and watching other people, their why questions become very specific. “Why do dogs have 4 legs and people only have 2?” “Why do brown cows give white milk?” “Why don’t cars run on orange juice if it’s so good for you?” With no expectation of the outcome, their research doesn’t end with just one why? They dish the why’s repeatedly until they get a satisfactory answer and move forward.
At 4 or 5, why’s are still innocent, but come with brutal honesty: “Why is that lady so fat?” “Why does that man only have one leg?” “Why does my brother look like the mailman?” They don’t bother with social judgment and stop at nothing to get their answers, drilling deeper and deeper with the single-word interrogation.
Eventually they (you) grow up and your why questions usually become more politically correct and socially acceptable – at least when you’re talking out loud and to other people. As adults, you obtain information, make decisions and take action based on the factual answers gathered from your why-based research.
But what kind of why questions do you ask yourself when things in your life are amiss? Do you ask powerful information-gathering questions you can base decisions on – or are you beating yourself up with negative why questions like these?
“Why am I such a failure?”
“Why can’t I ever get ahead?”
“Why am I so fat? skinny? poor? sick? lonely?”
“Why can’t I be happy?”
Instead of empowering us, questions like these leave us stumped, feeling stuck and even hopeless. Why?… you ask. Because unlike innocent children, we tend to stop at the first why? Consciously or not, we know the real answers lie within the why’s that follow, and we’re too afraid to peel back the layers and face what they will reveal. Afraid that if we know the real answers, we will find that WE are ultimately responsible for our negative thoughts and actions. Or afraid that finding the answers will mean things will change, and we may have to take action that we’re not currently comfortable with.
So we just don’t go there. We stop at the first why. We feel stumped, stuck and hopeless, and we don’t move forward.
I challenge you today to step back into child-like innocence. Step away from social judgment or expectation of what your answers will be. Peel back the layers and reveal your truth. Drill down deep with why?.
Why? Because the real truth is satisfying and will set you free to act on the results and move forward.
Now the real question is “why not?”