Among the multitude of questions children ask their parents, "why" is prevalent for most of them.
These questions can range from, “Why is the sky blue?” to “Why doesn’t that man on the street have a home?”
Whether the questions require a complicated explanation or not, it’s no secret children are often curious about the world around them.
As we grow older, we tend to silence our inquisitive sides. While we focus on appeasing others by doing what is asked of us, sometimes this can make us feel like we are just going through the motions.
In new jobs, our supervisors consistently tell us, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We want you to learn.”
Of course, this applies to the confusing software systems, ambiguous instructions or even what “Casual Friday” entails.
However, what about when you want to learn something that goes beyond your job description or even the corporate setting?
What if you want to truly understand something or someone on a deeper level?
Here are four reasons you shouldn’t be afraid to ask, "Why?"
1. It allows you to view things from a different perspective.
You know that one friend who just seems to have it together all the time? Instead of getting jealous of her “perfection” and irrationally hating her for it, try treating her as a mentor.
Maybe she manages her time well and your chicken-scratch “to do” list accidentally got drenched in ranch dressing sometime around noon. Spend time with her, and focus on how she prioritizes things. Beyond mirroring her actions, try to learn why she chooses to do things a certain way.
For instance, maybe she tends to the longer, more difficult tasks first; whereas, you have always gotten the quick, easy assignments out of the way first. She may explain tackling the hardest project first optimizes her experience.
She feels a large sense of accomplishment early on, and she is more motivated to face simple tasks at the end of the day.
Asking why allows us to see things from different angles and can potentially improve areas in our own lives. So, don’t be afraid to get others’ input.
2. It helps you make corrective actions.
When we are unsuccessful in accomplishing something, we all know the importance of analyzing our past approaches or actions. However, don’t just leave it at that.
Maybe you had a fundraising goal to meet at work. You reached out to prospective donors through phone calls and emails, but you fell short.
You can tell yourself it wasn’t a good tactic and to consider another one next time, or you can dig a little deeper to uncover the reason why your approach was unsuccessful.
For instance, in this situation, delivering words behind a screen was not a convincing enough pitch to meet your objective. Being present at relevant events and reaching out to individuals face-to-face could increase your credibility and successfully increase your numbers.
Instead of simply concluding that a particular tactic didn’t work well in a situation, direct your efforts to fully understanding why you are considering a different approach.
We all know to learn from our mistakes, but first, we have to understand why something was a mistake in the first place.
3. It improves your communication with people you care about.
Your boyfriend makes a comment about how he doesn’t like you and your ex occasionally texting.
Your reaction may be, "Whatever, he’s just being irrationally jealous. Let's kiss and make up."
But, there may be a larger issue in your relationship you are choosing to ignore. Is he insecure, or is he onto something?
Ask your boyfriend why it bothers him, but also ask yourself why his concerns bother you.
Asking why strengthens relationships. By asking, you show you truly care about fixing a problem. Plus, it helps you to reflect on your own behavior. As a result, you can address issues before they get worse.
4. Channeling your inner child isn’t always such a bad thing.
Asking “why” as an adult keeps your mind active. Don’t lose that spark of curiosity that kept you engaged as a child.
The problem is, as adults, we become more concerned with fitting in than questioning certain aspects of life. Growing up doesn’t mean we have to stop asking questions.
Ask about someone’s hobby and why he or she is drawn to it. Discover the true value of something that has no direct impact on your life in order to improve your general knowledge.
Plus, let’s face it: Knowing random facts is never a negative thing. Next time your friends suggest trivia night at the bar, you’re ready to kill it.
As we grow up, our questions become more complicated than, “Why is the sky blue?” However, we can use that same curiosity to make improvements, challenge ourselves and continue to learn new things every day.