Such a simple question. Pretty short. Nothing special. And yet it has incredible power, the potential to change your life.
The question is, “Why?”
It’s not something we naturally ask often (unless you’re four, that is), but it’s one habit that’s certainly worth getting into.
It has the potential to expand your horizons, to open your eyes to new sights, to open your ears to new sounds, to invite new tastes, new feelings, new thoughts… The possibilities are endless when you start asking, “Why?”
Perhaps this is why children ask it so much, because they want to learn, to grow, to discover, and to figure out what this life is all about. Somewhere along the way, we seem to forget how much fun it is to learn new things. We get busy, we get stuck, we grow up, and sometimes… we get kinda boring.
Do you know how many things we do simply because it’s the way we’ve always done it? Or the way our parents did it? Or the way people around us do it? Or the way our coworkers do it? Or the way our church does it?
And truthfully, there is nothing wrong with doing things in a similar way to those who came before us, or to those who we live life with. But wouldn’t you rather do things that particular way on purpose?
This is where asking that one little question can change everything.
Next time you do something, anything, even if it’s as simple as putting your phone in your pocket or tying your shoe… Take a second to ask yourself why you do it that way. And then chase it down with some follow-up questions, just for fun. Why do I put my right shoe on first? Why did I pick these shoes out of all the pairs I own? Why do I need shoes right now? Are shoes important? Why are they important? What if I didn’t wear shoes? What would happen?
Ok ok, I know that probably seems kinda silly. Maybe you come to the conclusion, after all this questioning, that you do need shoes, and you need those particular shoes, at this particular moment, for this reason. Has anything changed? You’re still putting on your shoes. You’re not doing anything differently. But you know what has changed? Your purpose. Your intentions. Now you are putting on your shoes for a reason. It’s not just out of habit or because of something someone else told you or because it’s the way things are done. You are now being deliberate in the putting on of shoes.
Now, why does it matter why or how you’re putting on your shoes? Maybe it doesn’t. But when you start asking why in the small things, it can lead to bigger things. Why do I believe this? Why do I feel this way? Why do I do this?
It can open doors in your mind that you never knew were there, and what you discover inside, is uniquely you.
The things you uncover with these questions won’t always be pretty or easy. There is potential to open wounds, bring back old hurts or traumas, or show you things you may not want to see. But the uncomfortable is worth doing when it gives you a better understanding of yourself and causes you to grow and change.
I know many of us don’t really like change. We like the idea of staying in our comfort zones, where life is safe and easy and predictable. But is it really? Think about it. Isn’t life challenging no matter where we are and what we do? Is there really anything we can control? Can we really predict everything?
If life isn’t comfortable and easy anyways, wouldn’t it be better to risk pushing through our walls to discover something miraculous?
Maybe you’ll be wondering what makes you feel the way you do, and you’ll find that a certain fear is connected directly to a specific event that happened in your childhood. And then making that connection, you can begin to process and heal that wound inside of you that has been holding you back for so long. You could overcome that fear, and find less restriction and more peace in your life.
Maybe you’ll hear about a different way of doing your job, and you’ll find that, while it may have worked before, your methods might not be the best way to do it anymore. Perhaps you’ll try this new approach and determine that it makes you more efficient. It could even make your job more enjoyable!
Yes, it is hard to take that first step. It is uncomfortable to question yourself. We don’t like the possibility of being wrong. We don’t like giving ourselves more work. We don’t like to do stuff differently. But it’s ok to make things a little awkward, a little weird, and a little messy.
How can we unearth anything truly beautiful until we are willing to sift through the dirt?
Just jump right into that mess, whether it be with only the tips of your toes, or all the way up to your neck. You’ll be amazed at what you find when you welcome change into your life with open arms. Channel your inner child and get curious again. Start asking, “Why?”