A couple of weeks ago, I purchased an iPad. My first iPad. I love gadgets and have more than my fair share. Perhaps that is why my husband was always asking me why I needed an iPad so desperately. Was it just because of the coolness factor? How could I justify the expense? Just how could I rationalize the investment?
And he did not just ask me once. He asked for five separate reasons.
Did I want it? Or need it? What was the root cause of my desire?
Such a simple word requires critical thinking. Sifting through the layers of junk assumptions and symptoms requires more than answering a single why question. This exercise is not a magic button solution and should not be the only problem solving method employed, but it should lead you down the road of thinking through a process at a deeper level. Ask more questions until you find the right answers. You are cheating yourself if you settle on the first answer.
Take a moment and watch this TED talk by psychologist Alison Gopnik. Her research explores the decision-making process of children at play. Babies are always asking why? In fact, they are asking why about everything! Gopnik describes this as lantern consciousness. Rather than getting kids to think more like mature adults, how can we start thinking and exploring like children? How can we get back to the why?