Every kid goes through that phase where the response to every question answered is “why?” It’s cute at first, then becomes tiring, and eventually peters out.
But as adults, this is a question we really should be asking all the time.
“Why is the career path I’m considering right for me?”
“Why should I take this persons advice or direction?”
“Why am I not accomplishing my goal?”
It is such an important aspect to leading a life we can love, yet it is often skipped. We make decisions based on conventional wisdom from people that don’t have what we want, and are surprised when we don’t achieve the results we wanted.
There are three areas in particular you absolutely NEED to ask Why?
Ask: Why You Are Doing This?
So many people just accept what they are told is the right path in life. But is it really?
Are you the person that is designed to study numbers or science, get a corporate job, be a doctor or a lawyer? Or are you the person that is willing to struggle for the joy you find in your work?
Either is fine, but YOU have to determine if the benefits you are working toward are the ones that will make you happy; you have to decide what will leave you feeling sated at the end of the day.
This doesn’t just apply to career though.
I have a few friends that have taken steps toward marriage because “it was time.” But that didn’t make a broken relationship work, and fortunately they figured that out before it was too late.
Ask yourself why you are doing anything, whether it be in a relationship, in your career, for your health, etc. And make sure you are doing it for the right reason: because it’s what you want to do.
Ask: Why Should I Follow This Person’s Lead?
I love my parents and my aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. I also respect my former teachers, my bosses, etc.
That doesn’t mean I exactly want to take every piece of advice and direction I’ve gotten from each of them.
Meaning, I would never have taken my old boss’s example when it came to how to sell, because she didn’t know what she was doing.
I also would take financial advice from someone who isn’t managing their money effectively for a profit.
The point is, if you are going to take someone’s direction, make sure they know what they are talking about and have proven it successfully.
Ask: Why It’s Not Working?
Keep Calm and Carry On is not the best slogan when it comes to making big changes in your life.
Yes, of course you should not panic. But you should also not keep slugging it out when your strategy is clearly not working.
What you should do is: Stop, Assess, Adjust, and Start again.
For example, if you are leading a team and you want to achieve a certain goal, but your people aren’t really actively participating, the smart move would be to find out why.
You’re not going to look weak, or like you’re incapable of managing. You are going to be a leader who is diagnosing a problem so you can find a solution and move forward as a cohesive unit.
Or, for example, say you want to save up enough money to go on vacation, but you keep spending the $50 you want to put into savings. Why do you keep spending it?
Once you figure out why, you can determine what you need to do to get back on the right track and reach your goals.
Most Importantly, Ask Yourself…
Why do you do it? Why do you get up and keep living day after day?
If you have the answer to that question, all the decisions you face will be made clear.