why

But, why?

Okay, but why? This is the first question that jumps to my mind. Knowing that something is true isn’t good enough, I have to know why.

The way I see it, there’s no way to win a game unless you understand the rules. For instance, when I first started looking into coding, my first questions were who creates coding languages and what makes them work? Technically, I don’t need to know the answers to these questions to write good, clean code, but I wanted to be able to understand the context my code exists in.

In high school history class I had a pretty solid go-to formula for a thesis statement. It went like this, “Although statement 1, statement 2 and statement 3 are true, because statement 4.” It’s the fourth statement, the why, that gets you the extra points. Being able to analyze a situation and pull out the underlying causes is one of the best skills I learned in high school.

From a marketing perspective, we all want to know why even if we don’t realize it. Simon Sinek’s Ted talk is about how the best leaders inspire people by telling them why first and then how and then what.

Taking the time to ask and explain why makes you think critically about the subject. If you can explain the underlying concept, you’ll be able to use your knowledge more widely and pull in other ideas, knowing how they connect.

So even if it means it will take a little bit longer, next time you learn a new skill or interesting fact, take time to ask “why?” It will serve you well in the long run.

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