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“Why” Conceals; “How” Reveals - Grasshopper

Anyone who’s taken Journalism 101 knows the “5 Ws”: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. The most useless and untrustworthy answers come from a “Why” question.

“Why” will get you excuses and justifications and very little in the way of useful information. “Why did you stay out late?” Why did you fail the Algebra test? “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” These and an assortment of other “Why” questions will take you down the rabbit hole of unreliable refrains.

 

“Why will almost always get you “because”, but rarely will you get to the cause with a “why” question.”

 

As often as you can remember, start asking “How” questions. “How” gets you to the process; “Why” delivers a guess at best.

 

How did you arrive at the conclusion to stay out past curfew? How much study time did you put in preparing for the Algebra test? How can you get more of the results your sister gets? “How" questions deliver more fact-based answers, answers that lead you in a direction, whereas “why” will get you the nutritional value of a sugary confection.

 

There are a thousand reason why, and sorting through them can cause a grown man or woman to cry.

 

Start asking how and you’ll wind up getting more chow to chew on, but if you’re stuck on “Why,” prepare to have someone else eat you lunch.

 

All the best,

John

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