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Asking why


  • Asking why

    Sometimes asking why is just a useless, frustrating exercise. Why did my mom die so young? Why doesn’t he love me? Why is life so unfair? These “why” questions are more like whining and expressions of frustration than actual questions. They don’t help very much. Stop asking them.

    But outside these questions that cannot be objectively answered, there are those that can really give us an insight into a problem and lead us to finding a solution.

    The Japanese say that if you define a problem and keep asking why it’s happening, up to five times, you will likely find the root cause of that problem.

    The house is cold. Why?

    Because the heating system is broken. Why?

    Because it wasn’t serviced regularly. Why?

    Because I didn’t want to spend the money. Why?

    Because I am very tightfisted and won’t spend unless I must. (Root of the problem)

    The permanent solution to the house being cold then, is a change in my mindset in regards to the use of money. I need to readjust my thoughts and understand the fundamental concept of spending now to save more later. If I maintain the heating system regularly, I’ll spend some money but not as much as when it breaks down for lack of maintenance.

    Of course I can just fix the problem now, and never worry about the root cause. In that case, I’ll be complaining about the same problem some time in the future…

    Asking intelligent “why’s” is a very good way to find the root of your problems.

    P.S. If you answered the question “Why is the house cold?” by saying “Because it’s winter, and it’s cold outside”, you would have gone in the wrong direction, i.e. finding a root cause that you cannot change. (Unless of course you figure out a way of stopping winter…) Always focus on the root causes that you can

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