The Five Whys for Personal Development

The Five Whys was initially developed as part of the Toyota Production System in the 1950s. The idea behind the process is that the nature of a problem and its solution are not always immediately visible. Sometimes probing is required to see the thing behind the thing.

I learned in a recent course that this line of questioning is also a great tool for understanding our own personal motivations and goals.

You start by stating a question and just keep asking why like a curious toddler.

For example, let’s take a look at why I wanted to join the Supercharge Your Productivity course and learn more about productivity:

  1. Why enroll? I enrolled in SYP because I wanted to learn more about the $10k framework.
  2. Why $10k? I am tired of being stuck in $1k development work and not any having leverage.
  3. Why leverage? I want leverage because when I am not working I am not earning money.
  4. Why less work? I want to spend less time working so I can spend more time with my family.
  5. Why more family time? I want to spend more time with my kids and make them more of a priority.

You can use this line of questioning on anything — ask why you want to start a new job, why you want to make more money, why you can’t sit still.