“Learn to ask of all actions, ‘Why are they doing that?’
Starting with your own.” -Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Reading those lines this morning reminded me of some great Stephen Covey insights I wish I was more inclined to consistently apply in my life.
I’m paraphrasing, but Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggested when you’re inclined to judge, stop yourself and attempt, instead, to try to understand.
“Why?” is the king of questions. And if you ask “I wonder why…?” on a regular basis, you will open yourself to possibilities and to compassion, for others and for yourself.
Asking “I wonder why that driver is driving so recklessly?” can transform you from an angry observer to a curious one. What if the driver was on the way to the hospital for an emergency? Unlikely? Sure. But just framing the question can give you pause and defuse an unhelpful emotion.
Got some bad habits or frustrating tendencies in your own life? Wonder why and you just might go a little easier on yourself while sparking the possibility for genuine understanding and possibly a breakthrough.
Instead of labeling or judging or reacting, use the gap between stimulus and response to try to understand.
Want to spark more meaningful conversations? Ask “Why?” often, not in a pestering way, but with the intent to truly understand the other.
Want a clear vision for your family or your organization or your work? Ask “Why?” and pursue the answers relentlessly.
Why not make “Why?” your go-to question, the spark for possibilities that otherwise would remain undiscovered.