Many years ago, I heard the saying: You have a choice: You can live life studying the roots; asking and digging become the path. Or, you can enjoy eating the fruits. But you can’t make a happy life doing both.
What does this have to do with life satisfaction? The fruits of life are where we get value and happiness. It’s the good stuff. We want to enjoy all the fruits that life offers. But yet, why don’t we get more of it?
For many of us, we get caught focused on the ‘roots’ of life. How so? One way we do this is by asking questions that drive us into the ‘roots.’ WHY? WHY? WHY?
We make the mistake of asking ‘WHY’ with relentless pursuit. We do it to ourselves, and we do it to others, constantly exploring the roots. The ‘WHY’ questions can sound like any of the following to give you a sense of how the mind works:
- Why did you hit your sister?
- Why don’t you eat your veggies?
- Why do you have to fight with me all the time?
- Why can’t you do your homework?
- Why don’t you listen?
- Why are you so angry?
- Why do I keep over-eating?
- Why don’t I get it?
- Why do I keep making the same mistakes?
- Why do I keep falling for the wrong type?
- Why can’t I get ahead in life?
Why Questions Virtually Never Lead to Change.
How do I know that this is true? Because everyone asks the WHY questions, and virtually no one finds an answer that leads to real change! When is the last time you asked your children one of the above (or similar) WHY questions and they responded with an answer that allowed for real change? I doubt that you can find one.
I also doubt that you can point to any real change within your relationships or yourself after asking WHY a hundred or even a thousand times. It just doesn’t work.
Notice, however: The WHY questions do keep the mind active. They give us a way to keep thinking about the problems, and we can mentally beat ourselves up or beat up our loved ones, but nothing changes with the WHY question.
Why Doesn’t Why Work?
WHY doesn’t work as a behavior change question because the mind is asking a question it rarely can answer correctly. There could be 100 answers (all theories) about WHY something happens, and yet none can be proven. It’s like going fishing, but there are thousands of fish to catch. When you catch one, you are thinking, ‘this is it.’ But that one isn’t satisfying, so you keep fishing. Sometimes, we do this forever. We are literally ‘fishing for an answer even though this fishing process is torture.
We have to give it up. The ego, or mind, is too clever. And the answer is never that simple.
The WHY questioning is a torturous process, and yet we repeat it over and over. Today, I ask you to consider a different approach and notice how it feels.
Turn to HOW…and Away from WHY.
‘HOW’ questions are the secret juice to getting it done. It’s the rocket fuel of change. It sets the mind in the direction of solving problems and finding solutions. It has inherent movement attached. HOW brings possibility, energy, and directionality. There are options when we ask HOW. Here are some examples:
- How Can I Choose a Diet and Stick to It?
- How Do I Create a System at Home That Brings Harmony to Parenting?
- How Do I Get Up Early and Exercise Each Day?
- How Can I Become a Partner Who Finds Love Everywhere I Turn?
- How Does My Neighbor Find the Time to Get Fit?
- How Do I Create Financial Security?
- How Can I Help My Kids Stop Fighting & Whining?
If I want to change a behavior, it is better to ask HOW do I change that? Now in doing so, you will notice that action is required. The WHY could allow for endless talking at yourself and others. But no action.
If you get serious with the HOW questions, you become compelled to dig into the sound, practical answers for which there is remarkably good information. Excellent instruction awaits, with clear answers to any of the HOW questions you seriously explore. Just ask Google, and the world of options await.
So, the first step, walk away from asking WHY. Just give it up.
Then, if serious about a fundamental change in some area of your life or your family’s lives, start digging into it with a few very focused HOW questions. Between your good brain, Google, and human resources available, you can develop a proven plan that will work. You will know you are serious about real change if and when you start obsessing the how to get it done and abandon the WHY of it all.