Comments on: Boost Your Brainstorm Effectiveness with the Why Habit Exploring ways to use our minds efficiently. Mon, 16 Dec 2013 07:19:11 +0000 hourly 1 By: Luciano Passuello Sat, 03 Apr 2010 23:37:20 +0000 Hi Alexandre,

Thank you so much for your comment — lots of food for thought in the “16 desires” link (as well as Seth’s, with his spot-on conciseness!)

I also like your approach of thinking “otherwise…”; I tried it two times today and it’s amazing the perspective it brings! I ended up doing neither two tasks that I had in mind — thanks! 🙂

Glad to have you here sharing your thoughts!

By: alexandre steinberg Sun, 28 Mar 2010 17:19:54 +0000 Hello Luciano,

Your “why” method is definitively a good approach for simple daily issues, however it assumes that motivation is built up exclusively on rational aspects. Unfortunately it is not. There is no conclusive theory about motivation. The human being is too complex to be analyzed on just one dimension.

The layered theory for motivation began with Aristotle, who divided motives into ends versus means. Recently, Steven Reiss proposed a theory showing that all motivation can be reduced to 16 basic desires (

Personally, I use another method combined with the “why” approach: I try to complete the sentence “I must do this, otherwise…” If I can’t complete with a good reason, the problem isn’t so important and the pressure normally is “magically” gone.

I recommend also a good post from Seth Godin related with this subject: Try different (



By: JJ Thu, 25 Jun 2009 10:44:42 +0000 Man, this is sooo disappointing. How can someone write about the habit of asking “why” and not even mention the Toyota Method? (it’s a link to Google Books)

By: Nick Pagan Sun, 17 Feb 2008 01:40:54 +0000 It’s nice to be reminded of the underlying reasons for doing something that come forth from asking ‘Why?’ I spend so much time focused on the how and what that I often lose perspective on my original reasons.

Asking ‘Why?’ in response to disappointment can send a person into perplexing self-analysis if the cause and effect is not clear. Thankfully, with your recommendations and method, you ask ‘Why?’ as a basis for connecting with purpose and that is a great idea.

By: isabella mori Thu, 03 Jan 2008 18:51:34 +0000 asking “why?” with an open and curious mind (rather than the querulous “why me?” type of why) is an absolutely wonderful thing to do. and in my experience, one of the reasons why this works so well is because it makes us





By: Luciano Passuello Sun, 16 Dec 2007 12:37:39 +0000 Iain: Thanks for your great comment!
Your example of “becoming a millionaire” is a perfect one. In fact, too many people have similar goals without understanding their underlying motivations.

Regarding the “time audit” you mention, it’s a great way to compare if your “top down” view of values and goals match with your “bottom up” reality of everyday actions.
I did this exercise once and it was a great wake-up call, as the mismatch was huge. Thanks for reminding of it! I will certainly do it again and blog about it — this is a great exercise that everybody can benefit from!

By: Iain Hamp Sun, 16 Dec 2007 04:34:53 +0000 I love this, Luciano! Asking why when it comes to any resource you have just makes you a better steward of it, be it time, money, etc. David Bach talks about this a bit in his Smart Couples Finish Rich book. Okay, so you want to be a millionaire – why? What dreams would it help you fulfill? How will it better the things you care about most in life?

At work I’ve been walking people through a series of exercises. First, list the five or seven things they value most in life (mine, for example, are my faith, my wife, my extended family and friends, my health, and my work). Then (in a seemingly unrelated exercise), do time tracking for at least a few days to see how you spend your time during the week. Then the a-ha moment – put the two next to each other and compare how you spend the 24 hours of your day to the list of things you yourself just said were the most important in your life. For example, the average American (according to the US Census Bureau and AC Nielsen) watches over four hours of television a day, but I bet “spend a sixth of my life watching TV” isn’t on many “Top five things I value most in life” lists.

Asking why is one of the essentials in life. As my four year old nephew reminds me, it’s why we’re so good at it at a young age.

By: Luciano Passuello Thu, 13 Dec 2007 13:40:44 +0000 Thanks all for the feedback.
Fier: I had never heard about Value Analysis before — it seems like a robust idea (if readers are interested, check out this page: Value Analysis). Thanks for the idea, I’ll definitely investigate it!

Giuliano: I enjoy 5W2H, too. Quality Control is a field that has many, many ideas that can be applied in our personal lives: this very article is somewhat based on the known “Root Cause Analysis” concept. QC literature is sometimes too formal, and I believe it’s valuable to translate its concepts into a more approachable format.

Samir: I wholeheartedly agree with your comment — thanks for sharing your insights!

By: Samir Wed, 12 Dec 2007 23:55:56 +0000 Good article, Luciano.

We are, each and every one of us, creatures of habit. As much as we would like to think of oureslves as free-thinking and open-minded members of a higher life form, we still are very much in a mode of instinctual animal behaviour in most situations — we just have more complicated sounding instincts now, like “career”, and “job security” and “spending power”.

Asking “why” is generally the last thing we think of, which is why it is the first thing we should be thinking of. Most people only ask “why” when it is part of a complaint about why someone else is asking all these ridiculous questions! 🙂

The best answer is always the simplest, for a question like that: “Why not?”

By: Riyaz Wed, 12 Dec 2007 13:54:01 +0000 Great, i realized WHY helps me to find myself, thanks