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Life

Ask them why, and in turn, know why yourself.

In the interest of having better conversations, it’s vital that you know what you’re thinking, and why. You can then ask them why. How often has someone asked you what you’re thinking, and you can’t give them an answer? At times it’s because you’re thinking about something that makes you feel vulnerable. Most of the time, you don’t know. Meditation allows you to slow down, and become aware of what thoughts are coming to you. If you’re constantly “busy” and being “productive” you won’t be aware of why.

The why is interesting, because even when you figure this out, it may not be the actual cause of your belief.

When I ask you about something that you believe in — whether you believe or don’t believe in climate change or whether you believe in some political position or other — as soon as I raise the question why, you have answers. Reasons come to your mind. But the reasons may have very little to do with the real causes of your beliefs. And we take the reasons that people give for their actions and beliefs and our own reasons for our actions and beliefs much too seriously – Daniel Kahneman

What if you don’t know why?

Then you challenge the thought. Shane Parrish wrote about the difference between knowing the name of something, and knowing something. There are those who have surface level knowledge, spit out buzzwords and do a phenomenal job of selling. Their actual knowledge of why though doesn’t exist. When you get deeper into the topic and look for explanations, they can’t articulate it in simple terms. Ask them why! Then there are others who have the understanding. Can answer any question in laymen’s terms and will say they don’t know when they don’t know. Smart people aren’t afraid to say they don’t know.

Simon Sineks book, Start with Why, looks at how great leaders have inspired action. They started with the why, not the what. Running could be the what, but what is the why? Weight-loss, cardiovascular health, distance? We can’t expect to maintain habits or succeed if we don’t know the why in what we’re doing.

Hold others accountable too, ask them why. Not to be confrontational, but if you care about your friends and family, it’s in your best interests that they are able to live their best life too.