Shifting from why to why not

Ever since I can remember I’ve been asking why. I was probably not as compliant as my parents would have liked when every decision they made was met with one of these why’s.

At school, I got frustrated and rebelled when teachers couldn’t give a clear reason as to why we were doing something. I found it hard to agree on the rules of the game that were predefined without really understanding the game.

I studied philosophy because I thought it would give me answers, but I ended up with a million more questions.

Ten years later I ended up working in the world of design because it seemed like a place where you could ask why (5 times in fact). Strategically understanding underlying needs or problems so we could design better solutions.

If you’re making a product or designing a service this seems like a really good way to go about it. But when it comes to creativity and starting a creative project, I’ve decided to stop asking why and start asking why not.

Asking why can allow you to talk yourself out of something a lot easier than why not.

The stories we make up seem less powerful from this angle. Ideas become less serious and binary — good vs bad — and more playful. Why not explore the unknown with curiosity not fear? Why not start something creative?

Maybe just showing up and playing any game would be more fun than not. You’ll always do better in the game than out of it.

It seems to me that why is a really good question to get to the bottom of something, but it can also slow you down and stop you from taking action and making change.

Now I ask myself “Is anything terrible really going to happen? No… then why not?”

This post is part of a series of atomic essays on Twitter for #Ship30for30



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