The Answer is Why

A Great Question

I was doing an interview for a podcast this week and I got a great question:

“What do you wish people would ask you?”

The answer? “Why?”

I strongly believe we don’t ask “Why?” enough. It seems that people are given information and they either reject it or accept it. There’s not enough “Why”.

Blind Acceptance

“Mega TV news just said that the king is blocking all banana imports, we’ll be ruined!”

How many of you have seen a statement like this on social media and just shared it or hit the hate button (or the like, maybe you like a nation without bananas)? Did you stop to read the article, to see why this action was taken (if it even was)?

Don’t feel bad if you say yes in the light of our topic here. It’s easy to do. We find someone we feel we can trust or is an authority figure we respect. Why question this? Who has time for fact-checking?

What we find all too often is that there may be perfectly rational reasons for what appears to be a terrible decision. Heck we might even see that the very statement is false (like if the block was limited to a specific farm that might have health issues).

Some of us might have been raised to believe that to question is to insult. Some religions do this and shame anyone who might wish to express doubts about faith. On all accounts, we should never deter someone from asking why.

On the other hand, if you are the one asking, you should redouble your efforts to learn the truth if you are rebuffed or made to feel wrong for questioning. It is our human nature to understand our world, and we make the world better for doing so.

Easy Mode

Some of us might prefer to not ask why if we just want the simple answer. This happens to me frequently in the computer service business.

“Ok I have the issue fixed.” I’ll always ask.

“May I ask what you did to fix it and how can I avoid this problem in the future?” Says almost nobody EVER.

I usually hear:¬†“No, but thank you for the service!”

Now I don’t blame them but sometimes I think they might like this IT guy more:

I’m really not a fan of this style of support, but I can tell you that some rare folks actually appreciate this style of assistance. They just want it done and have no time for the whys, even if it saved them time and money.

Ask Yourself Why

Part of the Personal Retreat is an exercise in asking yourself why. Why does something make you happy? Why do you hate doing something?

It doesn’t just stop there. I like to call it the “question game”. You ask yourself a question and answer, then ask again.

“Why do I hate clowns?” I’ll ask myself.

“They frighten me” is the response.

“Why do they frighten me?”

“I dunno, maybe it’s because Stephen King’s ‘It’ freaked me out when I was a kid.”

“So it’s not the clowns, but that particular character?”

“I guess so.”

Now that might be something to work with, right? I think it’s a practice you might be familiar with if you have gotten counseling. If you can get into the right frame of mind, you might be able to self-interview your way through some less traumatic questions, like “Why do you enjoy canning beans so much?” or “What is so fun about driving long distances?”

Questions and more Questions

So the more we get hung up on finding answers, the fewer¬†questions we ask. I feel that if we aren’t asking questions we aren’t learning, and if we aren’t learning, we aren’t growing. And you know what they say about things that don’t grow…

So ask questions, all the time. Be brave, and don’t be ashamed to ask them. Ask them about what you read, what you hear, and most importantly, ask them about yourself. Why do you do what you do? You might find out something pretty amazing!

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