Everyone keeps talking about Generation Y. I think it’s time to think more in terms of Generation WHY?
Concerned Parent: Megan, it’s time for bed.
CP: Er . . .because it just IS!
Sound familiar? It’s definitely a regular occurrence in my house and I have to confess I am often too lazy to give a reasoned answer.
One of the most amazing gifts of youth, the constant need to ask that one simple question must surely be one of the main driving forces behind our development as a sentient race and yet we are often far too quick to dismiss it as simply a distraction or annoyance. For many of us, this means that the desire to constantly question tends to recede with age. We become fearful of looking stupid or of upsetting the status quo.
Unfortunately being so self-conscious and tip-toeing around the feelings of others can lead to missing many opportunities and lessening the impact of the projects and ventures you are involved with. After all, that one question could be the one thing that everyone else has missed – the killer idea that takes everything to a new level.
If you take just a couple of minutes to think about all the successful people that you know, you may realise most of them have managed to retain this innate ability to continually question why things are the way they are and to ask if there is another, better way of doing something.
WHY are you so annoying?!
Sure, it can get very frustrating to be around someone like that; ‘We can’t make that deadline, boss’ – WHY? ‘There’s just no way of making this work any better’ – WHY? And it would be unrealistic to say that every conceivable problem can be solved in this way – but the point is you can only discover that if you take it all the way and keep asking that one question:WHY?
Getting to the bottom of your problem
It doesn’t just need to be scientific discoveries or better work practices that benefit from this approach either. It can apply to any life situation and even your emotions and feelings. For example the phrase ‘I hate my job’ – WHY? Many people will just revert to the standard lazy parent answer: Because I just DO! Not good enough. Why do you hate your job? What exactly do you hate about it? Working hours? Pay? Your boss? The type of work? All of the above?!
Only by being specific can you move closer to ensuring that your next decision (in this case which career to try next) will be the right one. There is no point moving to another job in the same field just because it pays more, if it’s the actual type of work that you dislike so much. Then you’ll just be rich and miserable. Although, when you put it like that . . .ahem, no of course that would be the wrong thing to do.
If you can’t beat ’em . . . join ’em
My 7 year old daughter constantly questions the world around her. To her, it’s perfectly natural. Many things are still pretty new to her and like most children she looks at life in a very matter of fact ‘black and white’ type way. Like when she asked me if it was normal for me to go to work with my shirt on inside-out. Especially when I’d got an important meeting with a new client.
So I tend to listen to her a lot more now and even when I’m tired and irritable I also try to answer when she perks up with her favourite question: WHY?
I’ve also tried to increase the amount of times I ask that very same question on a day to day basis and hope some of you will do the same.
WHY, you ask? Good question. Keep asking.
You may also want to check out SmallBizBee’s post: Patterns of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs for other examples of success generating behaviour.
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