That big little word — Why.
I’m getting better at using it. It’s such a seemingly innocuous creature, but has such power. Within this past year I have been more challenged to use it, and my life is changing. The trick is that you want to drill many layers down into the why to find real issues so you can find real solutions.
I need coffee I might say as I wake up in the morning.
I need caffeine.
Why #2 – Why do you need caffeine?
I’m not sure why. I actually slept great and feel refreshed.
Why #3 – Why do you need the coffee then?
I don’t really need it, I guess. I just want it.
Why #4 – Why do you still want it if you don’t need it?
I guess I love the taste and the comfort of my ritual of relaxing with a mug of it in the morning.
Why #5 – Why have the caffeine then?
I guess I don’t need it. I’ll have my decaf coffee this morning.
See what I mean? My natural instinct was not what was best for my body, and it was unnecessary. But asking why a bunch of times made me realize that.
Now of course it’s easy to do with little things. What really surprised me when I started doing this was how difficult it was for me to do — even with my own self — when it came to bigger issues. I worked through an exercise like this with my job coach.
The first two or three why’s related to the feelings I was experiencing were pretty simple, but as I got five or six layers down into the whys it got uncomfortable. I found I didn’t even want to hear my own answers.
That’s interesting to me psychologically. How can I improve as a human being when I’m not even ready to face my own realities?
I force myself to face them now as often as possible, and it is changing me. While it’s hard, once I actually face my inner truths I feel freer. I can come up with plans that address core issues that were unidentifiable before the why experience.
While difficult, asking multi-why’s is freeing. I challenge you to try it.