A QUESTION THAT NATURALLY comes to mind
when something goes wrong is Why? But its a
question fraught with danger. Research has repeatedly shown that
the human brain is designed to answer a question with whatever
knowledge it has (no matter how little) and come up with a plausible
answer (however wrong). Self-blame or victimhood is a frequent
For example, you can ask why youre
overweight and, without any problem at all, your mind will come
up with answers. But all it can give you are theories. Whats
the real answer? Is it because you werent loved
as a child? Is it a genetic weakness in your family? Is it an
evolutionary holdover precaution against famine? Is your mouth
The problem with a WHY question is that
you get too many answers you can do nothing about. You cant
change your childhood or a genetic weakness.
There is only one good thing about asking
WHY: It can be entertaining. Its intriguing. Its
like a mystery and mysteries capture our attention like nothing
else. But if what you want is to handle the situation well or
solve the problem and get on with the business of living, ask
HOW not WHY. Its more efficient.
Since your mind will try to answer any
question you put to it, the kind of question you ask makes a
big difference. So ask what you really want to know: How
could I get slimmer? Or How can I avoid this problem
in the future? Or How can I solve this problem now?
Or How can I make things a little better? Let your
mind go wild on one of those questions. The answers will be more
With HOW, you go straight for a useful
answer. You avoid getting sidetracked into what can become an
endless search for understanding. With HOW
your answers lead to actions. And it is actions that solve problems
and produce real change.
Instead of asking why you have
a problem, ask how you can get what you want.