People love what or how or when…but they rarely ask WHY. And yet, it’s the most powerful word we have. Forget ME or GOD or SEX or F#*K or YES or NO. Repeated use of the word WHY drew us out of the cave and into space, and if used judiciously it may yet return us to our planet.
Habitual use of the word has sent many mad, but it can bring enlightenment. At the very least practicing its use will make you a much more successful communicator.
Asking why reconnects actions to core purposes. Why are we doing this film for this cause? Why are we using this celebrity to endorse this product? Why this location? Why this camera technique? Why this voiceover? Why this wording? Like a child asking questions of the world, it can get annoyingly specific, as this sketch from Louis CK explains (language warning!), particularly if there is no good answer.
The trick is to know when you’ve gone far enough with the why – to realize when you’ve hit the nugget of truth and insight that you need to cut through and connect. Most of the time it’ll be obvious as the purpose resonates – a little light bulb will go off and what you’re engaged with either aligns with the cause at its centre or it doesn’t.
It’s when that alignment has drifted that you really need to start asking questions. Why not?