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If You Aren’t Getting What You Want, You Might Be Asking The Wrong Question

When things aren’t going your way, what question are you asking yourself?

Most people I’ve come across ask:

Why isn’t this working?
Why does it work for him/her/them but not for me?
Why does it never work for me?

These questions may promise a path to understanding and a potential solution. But do they deliver? Or is the premise that if we knew the “why”, we would have the power to change, valid?

Asking "Why" Fuels the Resistance Cycle™

Look more closely at the question “Why?” Does it really help you change your situation? Or does it keep you in limbo; replaying old stories and perpetuating negative thought patterns?

It’s easy to get trapped in this cycle, and before you know it, hours have passed, and you’re no closer to a solution. The “why” question anchors you to the past, making it difficult to move forward.

Don't Ask "Why", Ask "What" or "How"

Let me offer a different approach. Instead of dwelling on the past and what clearly didn’t work, shift your focus to the present and the future. What do you need, to take the first step toward the change you want? How can you begin to address the issue at hand?

“What needs to happen…?” and “How could I…?” are two powerful question phrases that can liberate you from the shackles of “Why?” and the past. These questions bring you into the here and now and motivate you toward a fresh solution.

Testing the Premise

Let’s take the example of procrastination. You put off decluttering your office or car because you don’t know where to start. You ask yourself “Why can’t I get started?”

Will any of these possible answers get you what you want?

“I’m lazy”. “It’s boring”. “I can’t make myself do it”. “I’m bad at this”. “No one taught me how”. “I never have the time.”

Do those answers create a sense of empowerment or a feeling of being a victim of forces outside yourself?

But what happens inside you when you ask, “What needs to happen for me to start decluttering?” or “How could I make decluttering easier and more enjoyable?”

These questions shift your focus from the past to the present and future. Notice how your energy shifts too. When you ask that question do you find yourself leaning in, eager to find an answer that will get you into action?

From Resistance to Possibility

When we ask “what” and “how” questions, we tap into our creative potential and open ourselves up to new possibilities. We begin to see that the solution lies not in understanding the past but in taking action in the present. The “what” and “how” questions empower us to take control and make progress toward our goals.

Try This Now

Take a moment to reflect on something you’ve been resisting or that’s causing you stress. Has the question “Why?” been circulating in your mind, keeping you stuck?

Take a deep breath, and shift your perspective. Ask yourself, “What needs to happen for me to take the first step in changing this?” or “How could I begin to change this?” Pay attention to how you feel as you ask these questions. Notice the energy shift from resistance to possibility. Now use that eagerness and possibility to generate creative and inspired actions in a direction you like!

Use This to Fuel Your Own Changes Now

The “Why?” question can keep you trapped in the past, preventing you from moving forward. By embracing “what” and “how” questions, you can tap into your creative potential and unlock new possibilities. Remember, it’s not the “Why is this happening?” that holds the key to change, but the “What needs to happen?” and “How can I….?” that will make a meaningful difference.

Take your power back by asking the right questions, and notice what changes even right now!

I’d love to hear about the changes you initiated and the questions you came up with that fueled your action to change. Comments are always celebrated!

P.S. There is a good use for the question “why?” Read about that here.

Comment below or email me at to share.

Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

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