when what not why

15 when we explore

If you had these two questions to choose between, which one would you pick?

Why did this happen to me?

What am I now going to do?

In reality, we don’t have to choose one over the other, but we can get so over-focused on the first that we lose sight of the second.

The first allows us to dwell on what others, circumstance or the system has done to us.  The second puts the responsibility upon us and the kind of action we’re going to initiate – because we can’t wait for others.

This kind of Why question creates a loop that can both comfort and trap; offering the appearance of moving towards what we want, it becomes difficult to escape.

Marshall Rosenberg identifies nine needs behind our wants: affection, creation, recreation, freedom, identity, understanding, participation, protection, and subsistence.*

What is my need?

‘The lesson is to know your own motivations.  That way, you’ll keep going even if no one else cares.’**

Identifying our needs helps us to begin moving from Why did this happen to me? to What am I now going to do?  If we’re not clear about our needs, and therefore, motivations, we can lose our way when difficulties come along.

Something else to help us move on.  Forgiveness is an important tool for freeing us from the cycle of Why:

“[I]f a society does not have an apparatus for forgiveness, then its members are fated to live forever with the consequence of any violation.”^

I’m thinking of organisations and individuals too, employing this means by which they can voice their hope and dream wants.

When we clear the gravitational pull of this kind of Why then we find traction towards the future.

(*Referenced in Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit.)
(**From Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)
(^Hannah Arendt, quoted in Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination.)


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