Ask 'Why' obsessively

Posted on 2020-08-19 by Vlad Călin

When we were kids, we were curious about everything and probably asked "why" a hundred times each day, to our parents exasperation. Why is the sky blue? Why is the sun so bright? Why do I need to go to school? We got some answers for some, some remained unanswered, but we still found out a lot of things. But gradually, while we were growing up, we started to as the "'why" questions less and less, until we eventually stopped asking altogether.

But why did we stop?

We needed to focus our attention and energy on other more important things such as our job, getting a car, relationships, paying bills and other things. We probably thought that once we finished high-school or college, we were done with the learning. Unfortunately a lot of people see learning as a chore because of the "defunct" education system and they rejoiced happily when they did were not forced to learn anymore. They were happy they were finally free to do whatever they can. And so they shifted their focus toward other things and stopped trying to learn new things.

They consume what they are being given from mass-media, but don't ask "why should I believe this?

They listen obsessively to whatever new popular song or artist plays on radio or TV, but don't ask "why do I like this?"

They see a beggar on the street, but don't ask "why did he end up like that?"

They feel purpose-less and miserable, every day going through the same motions but they don't ask "why am I doing this every day"?

We stopped asking "why" a long time ago and stopped being hungry for knowledge. We like being spoon-fed information and opinions, and we just absorb them. But we don't really know why nor really care.

I was such a person as well. I was raised to believe that the ultimate goal of any person is to graduate college, get a stable job, go to the same job every day for 45 years, buy a house, a car, marry young and have children, and then retire and hope for the best. I didn't ask myself "Why do all these?". I was just going through the motions.

Until I picked up a book, called "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek. I was intrigued by its title, because that word, "Why", haven't popped up in my mind for a very long time. I picked up a copy of the book and started reading.

If you haven't read the book, probably it's for the best stop reading now, because there are some spoilers laying ahead.

The book revolved around the concept of "why" as the intrinsic motivation of somebody to wake up in the morning and live each day. Unfortunately there is no direct and easy way to find out your own personal "why" but it's the biggest self-reflective question somebody can ask. Why do you wake up in the morning? Your job? Your family? It's the answer we all need but nobody is seeking for some reason.

When we were little we were asking all the whys about everything around us because we weren't really aware that we are a valid subject too. When we grew up and our own personalities developed, we already didn't bother to ask why. No surprise we didn't ask the most important whys, about ourselves.

But it's never too late to start doing it again.

You'll be amazed how many meaningless and useless things we spend our time and energy on. All you have to do is ask why like crazy and you'll start to learn more and more about yourself and what you have to do to actually wake up in the morning with a smile on your face be happy.

Because it's an old forgotten skill, I'll give you a push with some "why" questions that you should ask yourself:

  • Why do you go to your job? Enjoyment? Purpose? Money? None of them? Then why don't you search for another job?
  • Why do you spend so much time on social media looking at other people's lives? People you don't even really know.
  • Why do you go into debt to impress people you don't even like?
  • Why are you afraid to show your real self to your friends and family?

Of course, some of these questions might not apply to you or you might have already figured out the answers to these, but nevertheless, it's a good self-reflective exercise to ask yourself some "why" questions from time to time.