This is a familiar question for most people, and anyone who has had any exposure to toddlers will tell that it is a question that can be used to effectively drive you mad.
However, this question is one of the most powerful questions you have available to you to help you get the best possible solution to every single one of your problems.
If you honestly ask yourself this question and spend time to honestly answer it, and then ask it and answer it again, and again, and again, you will help yourself unpack both the critical elements of the problem confronting you, and the critical elements of the solution.
Let’s go back to the example of the toddler. A toddler asks why, and how do we respond? We tell them that x happens because y.
What is the toddlers immediate response to that answer? You guessed it…why? What do you do then? You unpack the next part of the puzzle and provide an answer to that part. The toddler doesn’t say ahhh that makes it clear, thanks! No, they immediately say WHY?
The toddler will keep you engaged in this endless process of asking why until one of two things happen.
1. They completely exhaust your knowledge on a given subject, and you get to the point of saying …. “Just because it is!”, or
2. You have provided a stream of answers that satisfies the childs curiosity on the subject because they “get” it and feel that they understand the thing they were asking about.
If you follow this process of asking and answering why in relation to the problem you are trying to solve you will get to a point where the only answer is because it is what it is, it can’t be unpacked any further.
At this point you will have reached the core of the issue, and should have a very clear picture of the components of the problem.
This process is also likely to get you to a point where you feel like you simply get it, probably because you will have eliminated a great deal of uncertainty by forcing yourself to take a close look at what is truly motivating your responses to the why’s.
I’m encouraging you to ask questions like a three year old and answer the like an adult and see what amazing answers you come up with to you problems!
Let me know in the comments what you find out about your problems when you question the like a three year old.