Monday, 4 May 2020

How? - Why is it a Good Question?

I KEEP six honest serving-men
 (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When 
 And How and Where and Who. 

Rudyard Kipling

These verses by Kipling are well known. He used them to help him write. When answering these questions, he would know if his stories made sense to the reader. For any writer or speaker adopting the method of asking these questions will help you sensibly put across your story. 

For me, these questions can also become useful in our daily lives. The question beginning with 'why' produces reasons. Why should I do this? Why will that help me? Having a reason to do something can be helpful and indeed crucial in life. The reason for action will be part of our motivation for accomplishing a task or project. 

I have noticed that some become too interested in the 'why' and fail to ask or focus on 'how'. Let me illustrate that with the following questions. 


Let's ask the question. Why should I be kind? Of course, this will produce some good reasons for why we should. However, the vital question that we will need the answer to is, How can I be kind? It is ultimately the 'how' that will provide us with the knowledge and methods to succeed. 

Another example would be to ask someone who has lost weight why instead of how. Should we ask 'why', it would produce reasons personal to them and might not apply to ourselves? On the other hand, if we ask how they lost weight, that is something that we might be able to replicate and become healthier too. 

Quite some time ago, a multi-millionaire said that people often asked him, why did he become so wealthy. He made it very clear that what they should have asked is, "How did you become wealthy?" Asking why would not benefit the questioners but for sure the "how' certainly would. 

From these examples alone, I hope that you can see the value in asking how more often that why. We will learn much more when we ask how and listen to the answers.

I would love to hear from you, so please do a leave a comment below.

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