Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  an understanding that basically us humans are clueless when it comes to answering the Big Questions.  [Life-Its-Own-Self is a big Mystery.  Wonder and awe are appropriate responses.]


I confess:  I was that Question-Box Kid who kept asking adults the stumper “why” questions all the time.  It is not a good survival trait in a culture where young ones are supposed to watch and listen and learn.

I don’t think I was built for all that big-eyed, bated-breath wonderment stuff – the one where you go, “Oh, wow, Big Person, tell me what I need to know.”

I thought the Big Guys were keeping me from figuring out the all-of-everything.  It was all a conspiracy, I figured.  I was going to hammer the Big Stuff really fast so I could just go out there and DO stuff, just like them….maybe better than them.  Ha-ha!

Mario Boxes by Jodi Green via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
I was, I think, an annoying piece of work.  I survived my childhood mostly because I was surrounded by people who were too slow on their feet to catch and strangle me.


Later on, I finally did figure out that the WHY questions have no pat answers.  You can ask WHAT, WHO, WHERE, WHEN and HOW questions from sunrise to sunset and get some pretty solid answers from other people.

The answers you get to those kinds of questions are productive.  You can do stuff with them and make things happen.

WHY questions, on the other hand, are always….debatable.  They lead to arguments and dissension and lots of disagreements between people.   Wars have been started over differing WHY-question answers.

Big Question Mark by Benjamin Reay via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]


The thing is, the answers to WHY questions are not necessarily “right” or “wrong.”  Like the answers to the other questions, the answers to WHY questions either work or they don’t work.  The problem is the answers to the WHY questions only work for some people and not for others.

The answers to the WHY questions are always one Truth or another.  But, each person sees Truth in their own way and sometimes one person’s Truth will absolutely contradict another person’s Truth.

Finding the WHY-question answers that work for you are a lot of work.  The deal is, though, those answers are the absolute bottom-rock foundation for adding meaning and mana to your life.

The wise guys say that all the answers to the WHY questions are already inside of you.  For some reason, they’re obscured by assorted issues and assumptions and other-people stuff.

It’s the price of admission for coming into this world, that.  That’s what you get for coming into the world as this helpless little being that has to depend on all these other people to keep you alive.

Golden Admission Tickets by City Foodsters via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
(To avoid all that, the wiser guys point out, you would have to come into the world as a fully-realized being, already self-sufficient and smart enough not to say much.  That comes with a different set of problems that might end up with you getting burned at the stake or crucified or something.  REALLY not a good thing.)

Things being the way they are, it means that you have to develop “creative discovery skills.”  Since nobody else actually knows the answers that are going to work for you, you have to go find them your own self.   It requires you to ask the right questions.

Here’s a TEDx Tokyo talk by James Curleigh about “Asking the Right Questions.”  (At the time the video was made, Curleigh was the president and CEO of Keen Footwear.  He has since become Levi’s brand president.)  It really sounds like the guy asks a lot of questions too….


Creative discovery skills are actually just a matter of asking questions that look past previous assumptions.  The more forethought you put into the questions you ask, the better answers you get and the more options you uncover.

It’s kind of like turning over rocks and leaves and overturned boxes and such and finding out what’s under them, then taking all the stuff under them (plus maybe some of the stuff you overturned as well) to make a whopping cool new thing.

This is pretty much the definition for how scientists and inventors and artists and craftsmen and business innovators came up with all these fantastic new ideas and products that surround us today.


It’s a lot more fun when you can share these skills with other people.  To do that, you mostly have to just ask their permission to play in this new way and then invite them to join in.

When you encounter stuck-in-the-mud resistance, the best response is usually asking another question.

Keep asking questions until the other person starts thinking too…even if they’re only thinking of ways to block you.

Remember that they are doing you a favor when they try to block you.

You get to think about their objections and propositions and see whether you can find ways around them.   Their objections help you refine your own way of dancing and point out your mistakes or missteps.

Eventually, if you both stick with this way of playing, you may find some common place where you can stand together and start making something together.

There is a very useful communication skills article (as well as a very good video by Yashwant Schinde) on the Mind Tools Club website that you might want to check out.   You can click HERE to do that.

Mind Tools is an online educational/business training organization that was established in 1996.  It works with top global corporations as well as individual entrepreneurs and careerists to help them increase productivity, improve management and leadership skills and all that good stuff.

If you like what you see, you can even join the club for a not-unreasonable price. (The standard membership is $19/month after the first month for $1.)  You can also subscribe to their free newsletter.


You do have to watch out and make sure you’re not being a pest when you play this game, but sometimes even being a pest will get the other person off their duff.

If you get really good at it, their getting off their duff is not going to be because they are so mad at you they want to beat you into the dirt.  (You know you’re good when you can take off your running shoes and not bother with them any more.)

Running Shoes by Danielle Bardgette via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Here’s a poem:


In the World, where most people live

There’s Science and Security,

Answers, Deadlines and Objectivity.

There’s hustle, bustle and activity.

Things happen “because” and “so that.”


And the people think

They can run from Death,

Not realizing that they are

Carrying him on their backs.


In the Real, where some people go,

There are questions and puzzles

And no thought and no time.

Things happen as they happen

And they are all connected

And the connections are all there is.


And Death is an ally

That helps you dance more deeply.

And when one day you’re done,

He’ll be the one to take you home.

by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  Sunrise from Mount Haleakala by Brian Snelson via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you….)



Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts.







  1. Hi Netta,
    Wow, you have created yet another article that causes a person to sit down and reflect.

    It makes so much sense as to the “why” questions being so different than the others – who, what, where, when and how.

    As you stated the answers to why questions come with different interpretations and meanings for different people and in fact throughout the course of human beings inhabiting this planet since the dawn of time, the reasons “why” disagreements lead to arguments, then fights, then on the grandest scale wars.

    Then again human beings being flawed and having an elevated level of egotistical belief that one’s answer to a “why” question must be right versus the other person’s being absolutely wrong are the reason why we have never gotten along as a species.

    I loved your subtle reference to Jesus Christ being the person crucified and buried all due to the fact that He did have All the answers to the “why” questions. Only He was humble but nevertheless scorned by some mere mortal men, “haters” as we say now because of the misguided belief that He was despised and doubted simply for who He was.

    So as far as developing discovery skills perhaps it could lead to people becoming more self-sufficient in being able to succeed during the course of a lifetime. There would be less need to ask others “why” questions which throughout history have led to so many problems.

    We need to start being able to rely on our own selves in seeking answers. Yes, a 4 year old could not yet do this. But I see no reason that a 40 year old could not!

    Great article, Netta,


    1. Hey Jeff: Thanks for the visit and for your comments. Please do come again….

  2. Hello there poetry extraordinaire Netta,
    What you have presented just now is a beautiful flashback that I couldn’t help but miss. All I can say is “I miss those days”. Might I mention our poem? Reading it was very eye opening and inspirational. You seem to sum up life in it’s entirety with just a few words. Please don’t stop doing what you are doing because you never know who’s day you are making.

    1. Lloyd, thanks for your visit and your kind words. I do appreciate them! Please do come again….

  3. Wow, a great post, so inspirational.
    When I was in school, I was so shy to ask the questions to my teacher. I’m afraid that another people will think me not smart, stupid… But the older I was, the more I realize that if I ask more, I will get more. asking the questions is the way you show your opinion and you will receive useful information and understand more.
    if you don’t ask, you get nothing. Just ask the questions, you will get more than you can think.
    Thanks for your post.

    1. Hey Johnny:

      Thanks for your visit and sharing your thoughts.  When you ask, you do get more! 

      Please do come again!

  4. Well this is a very interesting topic but I think also a little emotional. I remember those days when I as a kid was asking those questions but especially WHY? Now I understand everything. We should always find a way to give our kids an answer but that answer should be adjusted to their age. Thank you for this article, it really brought me back in the past.

    1. Hey Daniel:

      Thanks for your visit.  I am glad you were affected by it in a good way.

      Please do come again….

  5. Before saying anything, let me firstly commend the poem. It summed life in a matter of words and that us simply awesome. 

    The article in general is inspirational and I must say that I just got answers to a whole lot of questions that disturbed my sleep while growing up. I just didn’t know that the Why questions wouldn’t sum the answers for me.  Rather, they would get me confused. 

    I also learned that when my kids start becoming inquisitive too and asking the WHY questions, I should rather break the answers to them in a more easier and approachable way of the 5W questions rather than explaining the WHY. 

    This is great and I am always delighted to read from your blog. Great post

    1. Tracy, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I especially like your idea of using the 5-W questions to counter kids’ Why litanies.  A great use for them, I say!

      Please do come again.

  6. Time’s different now. 

    As a teacher, I love it when kids ask questions. It means, their interest is piqued and are motivated to discuss the topic.  (I’m teaching Grade 10s by the way) 

    Helping them to achieve higher order thinking skills by questioning is a relief for me because it’s one big step to achieve maximum potential. 

    Your input on WHY questions is something I could use to improve class discussion. There’s a lot of truth in it as I go back to my previous classroom activities and strategies – fishbowl, ishikawa, etc. 

    Students would ask the presentors those why and how questions.  

    I should look more upon creative discovery skills to better help in assisting my students and facilitating the class. I think Mind tools can also give a lot of benefits in the work force to produce or improve better skills. 

    This is indeed a great input to build competency.

    1. MissusB, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I like where your thoughts are taking you about the creative discovery skill-sets.  Wonderful!

      Please do come again.

  7. Henderson says:

    Wow, I can really see where you’re coming from with this. 

    As a young one too I always asked many different questions  and sometimes I do pester my elder sister.  She’ll say I ask stupid questions but my mum will say there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Every question is asked to clarify someone’s ignorance. 

    Reading your post, I can agree with the tactics of asking to gain knowledge. Its true that one might be seen as a pest, like in the case of my sister for example. 

    That poem is a great one too. I love your posts, if they’re not inspiring, they’re always educative. Keep up the good work.

    1. Welcome back, Henderson.  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your story.  

      It’s a truth, that…but, then, big sisters ALWAYS think little brothers are pests.  Hee!

      Please do come again.

  8. SeunJeremiah says:

    This is actually an amazing article, the WHY Is the simplest question in the world and the most difficult to answer. Perhaps that’s because it gets at the very core of what life is about, what the real purpose is behind what we do.  Whatever we do, we should have a good reason, and it should be done with intention.

    1. SeunJeremiah, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do agree.

      Please do come again.

  9. Monalisha says:

    Hi Netta

    Thanks for sharing such an important and amazing post with us that causes a person to sit down and reflect. You are absolutely right that kids who kept asking adults the stumper “why” questions all the time. By reading your post it is very clear to me that the why question is different from other like what,  when,  who. I also have shared a poem that was really amazing. 

    Thank you again. I’ll share this post with my friends and family. 

    1. Monalisha, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am glad that the post was helpful to you.

      Please do come again.

  10. Excellent article about the right question, so realistic.  

    The question of WHY is a personal  thing to me. It does not mean a direct answer.  The answers to WHY questions are not necessarily “right” or “wrong.”  Like the answers to the other questions, the answers to WHY questions either work or they don’t work.

    I agree with it.

    I learned greatly from your write-up.  Thank you for sharing.

    1. Abayomi, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I like how you put the ideas into your own words.

      Please do come again….

  11. DarmiMaddie says:

    Thanks for building this kind of right and informative post right now. This makes so much sense to see here and I can only say that I value this a lot. 

    You know, the fact that this can actually help in clarifying a lot of things for me makes me like it particularly. Knowing what to ask and how to ask it. 

    Thanks, here

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, DarmiMaddie.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  12. Hello there, thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful piece of information here with us. 

    I must say I really did enjoyed going through your review as it contains valuable information’s one can hold on to. 

    I agree with you, one should always ask the right questions at all times. I have learnt a lesson from this being that the question why is very different from every other question 

    1. Philebur, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad the post was helpful for you.

      Please do come again.

  13. Asking questions is a great way to come up with creative solutions. But having it as a habit can make a difference between a person that does not advance and one that’s successful. 

    I remember that as a kid, I asked questions all the time. But as I grew up, I just stopped asking questions and conformed to what was accepted.

    1. Hey Paolo, I do agree with you.  Maybe you want to get back to asking questions….

      Please do come again.

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