You remember when you were a kid? You had this habit of asking the same question over and over: “Why?”. Even when we got an answer it came quick as a whip: “Why?”
Why did we ever stop? Maybe somewhere along the way somebody told us that it was annoying or we got it into our heads that only stupid people ask questions.
This is clearly not the case. Also: It’s fun to stay at the why!
You get to learn so much if you just keep prodding!
Granted, sometimes people can’t give you all the answers. Sometimes you have to venture out into the unknown and find the answers. They may come from books, the internet, animals, nature or out of the clear blue by experience or meditation. It’s all about connecting the dots.
Now, before you start questioning everything there’s something you need to know. This is a powerful tool. How and when you use it determines if it’s a constructive or destructive force.
Cases when it can be destructive:
- Not knowing why you are asking it or asking it just for the sake of asking.
- When you or people around you are trying to be creative.
- Trying to piss people off.
Cases when it can be constructive:
- When we’re presented with a draft, answer or solution that we’re unsure of or don’t understand.
- When we need to be critical and are out of the creative space.
- Trying to get the best out of people and understanding their point of view.
A while back I re-read Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson. I was reminded today about a story where an employee gave an amazing insight.
The story was about how Steve Jobs had a habit of saying “This is shit!” when giving feedback. The employee had decoded it to mean “I don’t understand, please explain”.
What sage advice! People may be overly critical because they don’t understand.
When he presented an explanation to WHY he had done it that way Jobs might still say it was shit. But the next day Jobs would come in loving it and recite the explanation as if it was his own.
Two lessons there. The power of why and always be willing to atleast play with the thought that the opposing point of view might be better. If it’s better than the one you’re currently holding? Make it your own.
So start asking “why” too ‘kay? You’ll learn a lot about yourself, other people and find new and better ways of going through life.
Here are some quotes fo’ ya!
“For true success ask yourself these four questions: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?” – James Allen
“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.” – Thomas Berger
“No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” – Tony Robbins
And the video that inspired it all!
Simon Sinek – How Great Leaders Inspire: