Friday, September 10, 2004


‘Why: for what cause, reason, or purpose’.

The dictionary definition of ‘Why?’ seems pretty simple but give it a little thought and you’ll soon realize how powerful that one word is.

What prompted me to write this posting was watching a three-year old learn about the world around him? Every sentence that this kid spoke started with a ‘Why’. Why are we doing this? Why does my toy do this? Why are you being nice (or not) to me? And when you give him an answer, it comes right back at you with a ‘Why’ attached to it. In the process, he has sought the root cause of anything that interests him.

Now, take a look at an adult. How many do you know, who are driven by this curiosity? Look at yourself. How many times have you found yourself seeking the root causes by asking ‘Why’?
Why is someone successful?
Why is someone sad?
Why is a company making money?
Why is a company going bankrupt?
Why are some countries better off than others?
And the list goes on and on.

I believe that when you find an answer to any of these ‘Why’ questions, it makes you more aware of things. What you’ll find is, that with every additional ‘Why’ you are moving down a spiral path, at the bottom of which is your final answer. When you get there, you’ll realize how so many things that we do are related to one cause. Realizing this one cause lets you justify everything else. This kind of exercise would make an individual more knowledgeable and responsible.

Businesses can perform ‘Why’ tests on every process that takes place within the organization and see if the answers lead to their core values or objectives? If yes, they are on the path to success. If not, then that process needs to be redefined.

It’s amazing how much you can learn just by asking ‘Why’. Maybe we should start our days with one question.

Why am I what I am today?

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