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Why?

Why?

“Why?” might be the most important question you can ask.

  • Why should someone visit my blog?
  • Why would someone buy from me rather than anyone else?
  • Why ought someone choose this product?
  • Why advertise with me?
  • Why do readers like this over that?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • Why are we in this situation?
  • Why will next year be better than this?
  • Why are you still reading?

Action is often praised and valued over thinking. There is a lot to be said for taking action. Having said that, what do we learn when we just do?

Especially when we succeed at something we need to understand why. Failing forces us to face our actions, success often lulls us into thinking we luckily and magically do all the right things.

“Why” forces us to look at cause and effect. It focuses our minds not on what we want but what we have to offer.

Try it now. Ask yourself why.

Why will you leave a comment sharing what you think? … or why not? :)

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Comments

  1. Because I like to ask myself why.

    :)

    Good one Chris, I have a liking to strikingly simple but powerful posts like this one.

    Cheers!
    Mani

  2. Because I like to ask myself why.

    :)

    Good one Chris, I have a liking to strikingly simple but powerful posts like this one.

    Cheers!
    Mani

  3. Why I come and leave a comment, tell me Chris…

    If you can say something in Chinese…hoho!

  4. Why I come and leave a comment, tell me Chris…

    If you can say something in Chinese…hoho!

  5. WHY must I ask myself why?
    LOL.

  6. WHY must I ask myself why?
    LOL.

  7. I often find the question “why” as the most difficult to answer. Then again, it’s my top favorite.

  8. I often find the question “why” as the most difficult to answer. Then again, it’s my top favorite.

  9. You sure do learn lots by failing. I recommend you do it every day at least once.

  10. You sure do learn lots by failing. I recommend you do it every day at least once.

  11. Chris,

    Beautiful post. The simplicity is astounding! Just asking the question “why” can do so many things. When a child asks why something is the way it is, and they receive a proper answer, they are learning. Thank goodness children have an innate urge that causes them to grow through asking questions.

    Many of us have hit a glass ceiling because we cease to examine why we do what we do, why it works, why it doesn’t work, or why others find value in our offerings.

    Asking ourselves “why” on a regular basis teaches us things too and increases the potential for success. I imagine many wise people are asking themselves (and others) questions all the time… how else does one gain such insight?

    One might wonder why Socrates answered questions in the form of a question, but one does not have to wonder why Socrates was so wise.

    Thanks Chris,

    Stephanie from Voices.com

  12. Chris,

    Beautiful post. The simplicity is astounding! Just asking the question “why” can do so many things. When a child asks why something is the way it is, and they receive a proper answer, they are learning. Thank goodness children have an innate urge that causes them to grow through asking questions.

    Many of us have hit a glass ceiling because we cease to examine why we do what we do, why it works, why it doesn’t work, or why others find value in our offerings.

    Asking ourselves “why” on a regular basis teaches us things too and increases the potential for success. I imagine many wise people are asking themselves (and others) questions all the time… how else does one gain such insight?

    One might wonder why Socrates answered questions in the form of a question, but one does not have to wonder why Socrates was so wise.

    Thanks Chris,

    Stephanie from Voices.com

  13. I think the most important question for people starting out is the question you asked above:

    “Why am I doing this?”

    It’s actually a question I am starting to ask myself more and more in every aspect of my life. Great post…

  14. I think the most important question for people starting out is the question you asked above:

    “Why am I doing this?”

    It’s actually a question I am starting to ask myself more and more in every aspect of my life. Great post…

  15. Why are they lying awake at @ 2 AM, worrying?
    Take that metaphorical knife and shove in in deep.
    Twist it good.

    When you answer that ‘Why?’,
    People will buy.

    Pax,

    Chuck

  16. Why are they lying awake at @ 2 AM, worrying?
    Take that metaphorical knife and shove in in deep.
    Twist it good.

    When you answer that ‘Why?’,
    People will buy.

    Pax,

    Chuck

  17. In college I had a professor who always said, “So what?” She used it in relation to work her students would turn in. She’d say, “When I look at what you say in your writing you better make it good or else I’ll just say… so what.” At the time I thought she was being mean but frankly that’s been the best advice I ever got about writing. Well, that and, “Write like you talk.” Your “why” question is along the same line of thinking and in my opinion, a very smart question to ask yourself. Good post.

  18. In college I had a professor who always said, “So what?” She used it in relation to work her students would turn in. She’d say, “When I look at what you say in your writing you better make it good or else I’ll just say… so what.” At the time I thought she was being mean but frankly that’s been the best advice I ever got about writing. Well, that and, “Write like you talk.” Your “why” question is along the same line of thinking and in my opinion, a very smart question to ask yourself. Good post.

  19. I think we all ask the question “why”. Some of us probably more than we should. LOL I know why I come to your site as well as some others and thats whats important to me. “Why” does anyone do anything in this world? Sometimes even the simplest question(s) can lead to so much.

  20. I think we all ask the question “why”. Some of us probably more than we should. LOL I know why I come to your site as well as some others and thats whats important to me. “Why” does anyone do anything in this world? Sometimes even the simplest question(s) can lead to so much.

  21. Yikes. I’m faced with my first blogging dilemma…do I post a comment that goes a bit against the grain? I think I’ll take a risk. To tell the truth, I really am against the why question. I think it makes people defensive. The answer usually starts with because and doesn’t go a heck of a lot further. I agree it is important, no imperative, to explore cause and effect. I just like to get there through the what, where, when and how questions. What are my clients getting by visiting? What caused this situation? How can I improve my service? I know it’s semantics, but I think the why question can be limiting and I’m all for expanding my thinking. Why? Because…

  22. Yikes. I’m faced with my first blogging dilemma…do I post a comment that goes a bit against the grain? I think I’ll take a risk. To tell the truth, I really am against the why question. I think it makes people defensive. The answer usually starts with because and doesn’t go a heck of a lot further. I agree it is important, no imperative, to explore cause and effect. I just like to get there through the what, where, when and how questions. What are my clients getting by visiting? What caused this situation? How can I improve my service? I know it’s semantics, but I think the why question can be limiting and I’m all for expanding my thinking. Why? Because…

  23. A post clearly NOT written by the parent of a 4 year old.

    When every statement you make is met by a “why?”, it can make you CRAZY! :)

  24. A post clearly NOT written by the parent of a 4 year old.

    When every statement you make is met by a “why?”, it can make you CRAZY! :)

  25. Good post. Inverting why is also a good way to learn. When I buy something online or in a physical store I ask myself why? Was it the price, site’s ease of use, etc. When I subscribe to a blog I ask myself why. Why does this blog about subject X catch my interest when another blog of the same subject doesn’t.

    In my business, http://www.geometricinformatics.com, I am fanatical about excellent customer service. When a customer receives better service than they expected and ask why, I simply tell them that I’ve received terrible customer service from companies and I know what it felt like. I won’t inflict that on my customers.

    I try to emulate the postive answers to the whys that I’ve experienced and learn from the negative whys that I ask myself when I review my mistakes.

    So when you have a great idea and everyone says it can’t be done, just ask them – why not?

    Alan

  26. Good post. Inverting why is also a good way to learn. When I buy something online or in a physical store I ask myself why? Was it the price, site’s ease of use, etc. When I subscribe to a blog I ask myself why. Why does this blog about subject X catch my interest when another blog of the same subject doesn’t.

    In my business, http://www.geometricinformatics.com, I am fanatical about excellent customer service. When a customer receives better service than they expected and ask why, I simply tell them that I’ve received terrible customer service from companies and I know what it felt like. I won’t inflict that on my customers.

    I try to emulate the postive answers to the whys that I’ve experienced and learn from the negative whys that I ask myself when I review my mistakes.

    So when you have a great idea and everyone says it can’t be done, just ask them – why not?

    Alan

  27. “Why” can at times raise defenses a bit with one’s customers (although it can be deftly handled, too), but it’s an excellent question to ask _yourself_.

    I like Jennifer’s “so what” too. Brutal, but good.

    Another excellent one is “then what?” When you want to keep digging–“Our company/blog/nonprofit/project will create X, Y, Z, Q, R & S for our target customers.” OK. Then what?

    I think all of these annoying little questions are about digging slightly deeper and getting to something more valuable.

  28. “Why” can at times raise defenses a bit with one’s customers (although it can be deftly handled, too), but it’s an excellent question to ask _yourself_.

    I like Jennifer’s “so what” too. Brutal, but good.

    Another excellent one is “then what?” When you want to keep digging–“Our company/blog/nonprofit/project will create X, Y, Z, Q, R & S for our target customers.” OK. Then what?

    I think all of these annoying little questions are about digging slightly deeper and getting to something more valuable.

  29. Why I am commenting is (1) to let you know that your post has been read and appreciated, and (2) to do the virtual equivalent of nodding my head in agreement. Not terribly profound… but at least I’m clear on my own motivation, and that’s a good starting point for any action: “Why?” and (as Jennifer noted, above) that harsh but essential “So what?” Must think more about all this…

  30. Why I am commenting is (1) to let you know that your post has been read and appreciated, and (2) to do the virtual equivalent of nodding my head in agreement. Not terribly profound… but at least I’m clear on my own motivation, and that’s a good starting point for any action: “Why?” and (as Jennifer noted, above) that harsh but essential “So what?” Must think more about all this…

  31. why? …because I recently wrote a post about ‘who’…

  32. why? …because I recently wrote a post about ‘who’…

  33. @Mani – Glad you liked it, I thought I would try a short and sweet one for a change :)

    @sofish – I do not know a single word of conversational chinese :)

    @pelf – Why not? :)

    @jhay – Why can be a hard question, and it often leads to further questions :)

    @Jack – I must be doing it right then ;)

    @Stephanie – Yeah I think we can learn a lot from children, their curiosity, their freedom to ask questions without fear their question is “dumb”, and their open mindedness that they don’t hold all the answers

    @George – Agreed, a related question: “How did I get here?” :)

    @Chuck – Ouch! But true :)

    @Jennifer – Great story. It is a good thing to try to have an answer to “so what”, if we can’t come up with an answer perhaps we ought to go back to the drawing board :)

    @charlie – Maybe the simplest questions get overlooked because they seem so obvious on the surface but hold a lot of secrets :)

    @Erica – Perhaps the route is not as important as the discoveries, however you get there :)

    @Advice – Heh, my little girl is a bit older than 4 but I remember what you mean :)

    @alan – Good example :) In past jobs I was often answered with “because that’s how it has always been done around here”, to which I often came back with “why?”. Funny how few people could answer :)

    @Sonia – Then what is a good one. Keeps us moving :)

    @Jen – A starting point could be the most important point :)

    @ming – Cool, will check it out

  34. @Mani – Glad you liked it, I thought I would try a short and sweet one for a change :)

    @sofish – I do not know a single word of conversational chinese :)

    @pelf – Why not? :)

    @jhay – Why can be a hard question, and it often leads to further questions :)

    @Jack – I must be doing it right then ;)

    @Stephanie – Yeah I think we can learn a lot from children, their curiosity, their freedom to ask questions without fear their question is “dumb”, and their open mindedness that they don’t hold all the answers

    @George – Agreed, a related question: “How did I get here?” :)

    @Chuck – Ouch! But true :)

    @Jennifer – Great story. It is a good thing to try to have an answer to “so what”, if we can’t come up with an answer perhaps we ought to go back to the drawing board :)

    @charlie – Maybe the simplest questions get overlooked because they seem so obvious on the surface but hold a lot of secrets :)

    @Erica – Perhaps the route is not as important as the discoveries, however you get there :)

    @Advice – Heh, my little girl is a bit older than 4 but I remember what you mean :)

    @alan – Good example :) In past jobs I was often answered with “because that’s how it has always been done around here”, to which I often came back with “why?”. Funny how few people could answer :)

    @Sonia – Then what is a good one. Keeps us moving :)

    @Jen – A starting point could be the most important point :)

    @ming – Cool, will check it out

  35. LOL, that was a lot of smilies! WHY?!

    haha :D Great post Chris, got me thinking.

  36. LOL, that was a lot of smilies! WHY?!

    haha :D Great post Chris, got me thinking.

  37. I love smilies :)

  38. I love smilies :)