A peek into the mind of a sleep deprived software developer, husband, dad and gamer.

The Five Whys Technique

I ran into the “Five Whys” technique in Anne-Laure Le Cunff's 5 thinking tools to add to your metacognitive toolbox.

Yes, I'm aware that the article says 5 thinking tools, but I only wanted to focus on just one — the “Five Whys” technique.

The “Five Whys” is a technique you can use to find an answer or a root cause, to a problem, a question, a desire or a perceived need.

^ Note that this is not how Anne-Laure Le Cunff described it in her post, but this is my own take on how and when to use it.

Has there been something you really wanted or wanted to do, but could not explain why you wanted it? If your answer is yes, then this is the thinking tool for you.

I zeroed in on this, because I believe that it can be used to find answers hidden deep inside your thoughts and feelings. It's a powerful self-reflection tool, that can help you get a better understanding of your own self.

Not knowing that this technique already existed, I've actually been using it in my own journaling practice. I only go as far as 2 – 3 “whys” though. Going all the way to 5 “whys”, I can see how it can be more effective at coming up with answers, to whatever it is you're trying to understand about yourself.

The basic structure of it is like this:

You first list what you want to do, or a question, or a desire or a perceived need. Then you ask your first why. Why do you want to do it? Why do you have that desire? Why do you think you need it? Then after you answer that, ask the second why on your answer. Then on your second answer, ask the third why. Keep going until you get to five whys. By the time you get to the end — and sometimes you might not even need to get to five whys — you'll have a better understanding of yourself.

Tags: #Bookmarks #ThinkingTools #SelfReflection

Discuss... or leave me a comment below.