The Power of “Why?” and “Why not?”

I love the questions: “Why?” and “Why not?” My love affair with these questions goes back to junior high school. Mr. Terry Smith taught us… hmm, I believe it was called “Industrial Education.” He was also a great out-of-the-box thinker who allowed some of us to explore more than just working on wood working projects though.

During our classes he would always ask you why you were going to do something, and why not something else – constantly challenging our thinking. It was kind of annoying at first, but then it was just contagious. Especially to that pre-teen mind of mine looking to outsmart the adults around me. As he challenged my automatic pilot thinking, soon I was too. Then I could not stop asking “Why?” and “Why not?” in regards to EVERYTHING.

Needless to say, this drove my mom NUTS! I think she was actually quite proud of the fact that I was questioning things, but when you are a parent and you just want your kids to do something, you probably don’t want to hear the constant “Why?” and “Why not?” questions. (Oh, this was great fun! If you are a teen, definitely try it!)

And if something did not make sense I would just refuse to do it (still do that to this day). Or, I would reason things out with these questions until I came up with a course of action that did make sense. As my mom would shake her head at me, I would triumphantly claim, “Well, it makes sense to me, Mom.”

It was a smart ass pre-teen who got a thrill out of the questions, but an adult who really started to see the power in the questions. When you start to ask why you are doing something, you get to the deeper desire. And, as we have learned, when you get to the deeper desire it opens up many more alternatives to fulfill that desire; not just the autopilot way you were going to do in the first place.

When you ask, “Why not?” you often get to those “buts” – which we also know are hiding our desires. It also opens you up to new possible solutions.

So much power in two little questions!!

When you are continually asking why you are doing one thing, and not another, it tends to lead to more purposeful living.

Stop living on autopilot. Ask yourself “WHY are you going to do X?” Is X really what you want to do? Or what is the desire you are fulfilling with X? What other ways can you fulfill the desire behind X? Now explore, “WHY NOT do one of these other solutions?”

If you keep following these questions you will get to solutions that you might enjoy more than X.

Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.

 – Anthony Robbins

Takeaway: By asking “Why? and “Why not?” you can uncover the desires behind your actions and you can getting to a state of more purposeful and blissful living.


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