Why Ask Why (The Ultimate Guide + Image Quotes)

What brings us here? Why do we get up every morning with the intention of accomplishing something? Why do birds appear out of nowhere whenever you come close? Why bother asking why?


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It's a compelling question

Philosophers use it to gain a better understanding of the human condition and to find answers to The Big Question. Scientists use it to cure diseases, and The Carpenters once asked it to write a catchy song for them.

The good news is that we can ask ourselves that question on a regular basis to help us in our all-important mission of getting things done.

Have you ever sat down to make a to-do list or plan a series of goals without giving much thought to why you're going to do a particular task other than the simple reason that it has to be done?

Have you ever been halfway through a tedious, time-consuming task and wondered, “What the hell is the point of this?”

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If not, all the more power to you. If that's the case, welcome to my world.

There is simply too much to do

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has ever found themselves with far more on their plate than they can possibly handle. To-Do lists that were bursting at the seams with an infinite number of actions spiraled out of control. Projects that seemed important sat indefinitely unfinished, and progress on long-term goals had only just begun.

There was simply too much to do. More than I could ever imagine finishing in anything resembling a manageable time frame, and I had to do it all.

I never stopped to consider why I had to do something; I just knew, even if it was subconsciously, that it had to be done. After all, if I didn't have to do it, why would I think of writing it down on a To-Do list?

It instilled in me the habit of giving too high a priority to tasks that were pointless or unnecessary, spending so much time on those tasks that I never had time to complete anything that was truly important to me.

That was, to put it mildly, insane

So I stopped asking why. When it came time to set goals and make a To-Do list, I forced myself to think long and hard about why I was doing all of this.

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  • Why is it critical that I complete this project?
  • Why is it critical that I respond to all of those emails as soon as possible?
  • What is the significance of this long-term goal on my bucket list?
  • Why should I devote my entire day to something that will ultimately be of little benefit?

By employing such thinking every time I came to plan things out, I realized I was wasting a lot of time on things that didn't really matter, either because priorities had shifted, because I'd convinced myself something was important when it wasn't, or even because someone else said it was important.

The latter group was the most difficult for me

After much deliberation on specific tasks, it became clear that the only reason I had to do something was because it was expected of me by someone else.

I had a feeling those people hadn't given much thought to why this had to be done. On closer inspection, it was a completely pointless exercise designed to waste time and keep you busy. People were still expecting this from me. How could I possibly justify not doing it?

I inquired once more

What could possibly go wrong?
What is the worst that could happen if I don't finish this task? Or, as I liked to imagine it, “Will anyone die if I don't do this?”

More often than not, nobody died, nothing terrible happened, and I could thus feel confident in crossing that stuff off my list and focusing instead on what was truly important.


Of course, there is a flaw in this approach; if we spend enough time thinking about something, we can easily come up with a million reasons to justify doing or not doing it.

That is why, when taking this approach, it is critical to be honest, if not harsh, with yourself. Is this really that significant? Will it matter in the long run, or does it only appear to be so now? Is it possible for me to delegate this to someone else? Can I let it all go and focus on what really matters?

If not, do it now. If that's the case, let it go. If you don't ask why, the only person you're really disappointing is yourself. That way, you'll have much more time to devote to what truly matters to you, such as answering life's big questions, such as why we're here or why birds suddenly appear.

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You have heard it all before: "Live life to the fullest", "follow your dreams", "be who you are" and "if it is meant to be, it will be". These are all wonderful quotes that are meant to help you live a happy life but they miss the point. Our lives are interconnected with each other and with the world.

No matter how hard you think you try, there’s always going to be a certain level of stress in your life. And when stress gets out of hand, it can start to negatively affect your life. But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are some easy steps you can take to improve your life in the long run, and we’ve found a few that can help you enjoy a better life and get rid of stress.

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