How to Move from Asking “Why?” to “What?”

July 29, 2019

Categories: Power

We all experience difficult times in our life. Pain and struggle are universal to the human experience. Even Jesus promised his followers, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). We can’t get away from pain, or completely remove it from our lives. And sometimes, when people try to escape their struggles, it actually makes their life worse.


So, what do we do with this reality that we will experience pain and struggle? For many people, they ask “why” questions. Why is this happening to me? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why am I suffering so much?

Why questions aren’t usually effective. They don’t move us forward. The reality is that most of the time, there isn’t a satisfying answer to the why question. Even if we can find someone to blame for our problems, answering the why question still doesn’t help us figure out what to do next. And a lot of times, there isn’t a clear answer on why something happened. It just happened.


If you find yourself asking why questions, it can help to shift your focus to “what” questions. What is my next move? What could I do to improve my situation? What could I do that would move my life forward? What benefit could there be in what happened?

Ask Empowering Questions

These are more empowering questions. They shift your focus from trying to find a reason or explanation for your problem, which keeps you stuck, to exploring what to do next. You might even find an opportunity in your obstacle that you weren’t aware of previously.

Questions are important because they guide our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Why questions are disempowering. What questions are empowering. Empowering questions are better than disempowering questions because they get you active and moving.

Action Step

For today, keep track of the types of questions you ask yourself. Are you more likely to ask yourself why questions or what questions? Are your questions empowering or disempowering?


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