When a client comes to me with a problem, I can determine fairly quickly which tool I’ll need from my “toolbox” to guide them in solving it. I show up fully equipped with powerful questions to ask, worksheets for days and life-changing concepts to teach.
But, I have found one tool in particular to be the mother of all problem-solvers- the tool that reveals the most answers, insights and “Aha” moments of all time. The one tool that I could run an entire session on!
Are you ready for it?
It’s the question: “Why?”
Now don’t go rolling your eyes just yet. My guess is you’ve never asked yourself this magical question if you’re doubting its power.
So, how can this one question possibly be a life-changer?
Well, for starters…
Most of us are so concerned in finding the solution that we never stop to take a closer look at the actual problem. And this is a huge problem!
Growing up in school, we weren’t praised or rewarded for exploring each problem further, but rather taught to get good grades by seeking the right answers only.
As adults, we still operate this way…concerning ourselves with the wrong end of the equation- obsessed with the solution.
It’s the Band-Aid method- a quick, short-term fix, while never uncovering the real root to the problem. Then, we wonder why we keep getting the same “boo boos” over and over again and in all the same places.
I’m always broke.
I always end up with guys who treat me badly.
It’s one bad job after the other.
We usually just chalk it up as bad luck or as the cards we were dealt in life. We “solve” it by leaving the relationship or job (just to find ourselves in a similar one) or we take out a loan (just to find that money being spent too).
This can all be avoided (and corrected) by simply exploring the problem further.
By asking the question WHY, we reveal the root to every problem. When we get to the root of the problem, we have the ability to change our lives for good.
Got a problem in mind? Ask yourself the question “Why?” five times to uncover some major insight.
For example, let’s say you’re in the wrong job.
Don’t ask yourself: How do you I get out of this job?
(This is looking for a quick solution)
Do ask yourself: Why did I end up in this job?
(This leads to the root of the problem)
A possible set of answers may look like this:
Why did I end up at this job?
My parents told me to apply to as many jobs as I could after college.
So that I could establish myself in a “good” company.
So I could work my way up the ladder.
So I could make money and be successful.
To be happy.
This is gold.
Now, you know why your problems exist in the first place. For example, you allowed your parents to steer your life in accordance to what they believed was best for you. You adopted their definition of a good job. You believe that happiness is something to chase after. You didn’t have a clear understanding of what you wanted from the beginning.
With ALL of this newfound information, you can solve the problem with the assurance that you won’t make the same mistakes again.
If you had never asked yourself “why?” then you’d either remain at the same job to keep your parents happy or you would’ve left only to continue allowing your parents to steer the course of your life, all while not knowing what you really want.
This one question can completely alter the trajectory of your life.
Don’t run from your problem…embrace it. Learn everything you possibly can from it so that your solution is getting you closer to where you want to be and not farther away.
I challenge you to play the detective of a problem you’re currently facing. Why do you have this problem? What’s perfect about the problem? From the insights you’ve gained, how can you move forward without making the same mistakes?