Use the Five Why Questioning Technique

Photo: Frank and Eileen’s Rose by Lynn Davison

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Socrates, at his heresy trial for teaching young people to challenge the thinking of the day.

” Nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small it takes time — we haven’t time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.” ~ Georgia O’Keefe

Last week you started categorizing your daily tasks into eight categories (finance, food, health, home, jobs, keeping, learning and legacy.) Take a moment now to examine one financial habit to discover its root cause. Let me give you an example.

“Paying bills,” is likely one financial habit on your list. Let’s take it through the five question technique to see what we discover.

1. We paid our bills last week. Why? Because we didn’t want them to be late.

2. Why? Because we want to avoid paying late fees and getting dinged on our credit records.

3. Why?  So we can borrow money when we need to, rent an apartment if necessary, and/or get a job requiring a credit check.

4. Why? So we can live in our own home, take advantage of the tax deductibility of mortgage interest and get a good job.

5. Why? So we can live the lifestyle we want.

Therefore we cultivate responsible financial habits, like paying our bills on-time,  so we can enjoy the lifestyle of our dreams.

Take one of your financial habits and apply the five why questioning technique. I bet you’ll discover that you have very good reasons for doing what you do. So, where does this examining process lead you?

First, you’ll understand better why you’ve adopted the habits you rely on every day. Now you know why you must advocate these habits to your children (if you have any,) or to anyone you mentor. Examining the core benefit of each of your habits helps you understand fully why you must master them and cements your motivation to practice them.

By grouping your habits into categories you can see your life pattern more clearly. Once you pull all your habits and motivations together into a plan, you’ll be able to examine them .

  • You could see where you’d like to add habits or strengthen your resolve to practice some more regularly.
  • You may notice where you’ve been able to teach habits to your children/mentees and where you need to re-double your efforts.
  • Perhaps you will even see where you have been trying to do too much yourself and need to delegate or subtract habits to better balance your output to your capacity.
Perhaps most important, you could share your discoveries with your life partner, your life coach or your family. What you could learn from each other while discussing your life plan is infinite.
Let me know how it goes.
Auntie Lynn