Ask Why

One of the things I tell people when I start coaching them is if I tell them to do something and they don’t know why, they need to ask.

Anybody can do things the right way for a short time but if they don’t know whey they are doing it that way, they haven’t actually learned anything and will inevitably deviate from that way at some point because they don’t know why they are doing it that way anyway.

Learning takes place not when the person does it the right way but rather when they know why they are doing it that way and what make it the right way.

In school, some people will memorize answers to questions, take a test, get an “A” and never learn a thing. It’s the people who actually understand the how the answer was arrived at (in other words, they not only know the answer but they also know the reason for the answer), who have actually learned. The difference between the people who memorized the answer and the people who actually learned the reason why is the people who learned the reason why will be able to do it the correct way over and over again, even when minor variables changed. The people who just memorized the answer wont get any further than that one day.

If you are taught something and you just do it and don’t take the time to ask why, it’s your fault you aren’t growing as a person.

There are still many people who think an adequate answer to “why” is “because I said so”. While the people who respond this way think it’s their way of showing authority, the reality is, in most cases, it shows a lack of knowledge. When someone says “because I said so” I hear “I don’t know so will pretend instead”.

If I tell someone to do something and they ask me the reason behind it, I see this as a learning opportunity for them. The exception is if they are asking “why?” as a stalling technique (meaning rather than doing something, they simply keep asking why, similar to what a little kid might do), if they do this, then I will take a harder stand and simply insist they do the task.

On the rare occasions I ask someone to do something, they ask me why and I can’t explain, I will step back and reexamine why I asked and frequently, will change the request.

The other exception to this (besides the stalling) is that occasionally, I will ask someone to do something and once they do it, it will become evident the reason why they did it. In cases like that, I will explain that they will understand shortly and if, after doing the task, they still don’t understand, I will then explain in full.

Asking why is a great way to learn and not doing so will result in many lost opportunities.

Have a great day!


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