“I want to quit my job. Make me a CV,” he said.
“Sure, but why?” I asked.
“Because my boss accused me of taking the easy way out.
“Why would he say that? Were you taking the easy way out?”
“If what he said was true, why are you upset?”
“I think my feelings got hurt.”
“So, do you need a new job or?”
Of all the questions I’ve asked or answered, ‘why’ is the one I like most. There is nothing that clarifies things for me more than the ‘why’ question.
Asking myself why I do something has helped me understand myself better.
Asking why clients need what they ask for has helped me suggest better solutions to their problems.
Asking my team why they didn’t do something helped me understand their situations better.
It’s not an easy question though. I’ve not met many who don’t think that I’m being rhetorical the first time I ask them that question. Well, “why couldn’t this get done?” sounds rhetorical, even if I genuinely want to know the answer.
It takes a bit of effort to get used to asking and answering the why question. But, when you get comfortable, it opens doors to deeper understanding. It enables more meaningful introspection. It allows you to forgive yourself for things you’ve done — because you know why you did it. It encourages you to get help for things you can’t manage yourself.
So, next time, don’t say, “I’m such a loser.” Ask, “why do I think I’m a loser?” And be kind with the answers.
P.S: The absolute joy of writing at The Whole Works is the conversation I get to have around it. Here’s an article that kind of encourages the opposite of what I recommend. Do consider it!