Find Your “Why”

The 5 Whys


The “5 Whys” is a system originally developed by Sakichi Toyoda in 1930 for the Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan.  His method gained popularity in the 1970s and is now used worldwide, primarily in the business world.


Although mostly used in the workplace, the 5 Whys technique can help you problem solve in your personal life.  It’s very simple to implement and really cuts to the core of why we want something.

The idea is that when you want to accomplish something or if you’re having difficulty with something, you ask one why.

“Why do I want to achieve this?”

Then, with whatever response you come up with, you ask why to that answer. And you do this 5 times.  Generally by the 5th answer you will have a more insightful and meaningful reason for wanting change.

Here’s an example by someone wanting to lose weight:

I want to lose 20lbs.

  1. Why do I want to lose 20lbs?
    Because I want to fit into the clothes I had when I was 20lbs lighter.
  2. But why do I want to fit into those clothes?
    Because when I’m wearing them, I’ll look better.
  3. But why do I want to look better?
    Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.
  4. But why do I want to feel good about myself?
    Because when I feel good about myself, I’m more assertive and confident.
  5. But why do I want to be more assertive and confident.
    Because when I’m more assertive and confident, I’m in control and better able to get what I want out of life.

In this case, losing 20lbs isn’t so much about fitting into clothes as much as it is about feeling better and getting the most out of life.

Now it’s your turn.   Find a goal you want to achieve and give the 5 Whys for it.  Take some time, give it some thought.  Find out what really matters to you.


I want _____________________________________________________________

Why? ______________________________________________________________

Why? ______________________________________________________________

Why? ______________________________________________________________

Why? ______________________________________________________________

Why? ______________________________________________________________



Here is an example for me, Lynne, from my bodybuilding days.

I want to compete in bodybuilding.

1. Why do I want to compete in bodybuilding?

Because I love to win and I love to see my body with muscle.

2. Why do I love to win and see my body that way?

Because I have never been good at any competitive sports and I’ve always disliked my shapeless body.

3. Why have I disliked my shapeless body?

Because people always teased me about being skinny with very hurtful words.

4. Why did people tease me about being skinny?

Because I let them say those hurtful words.

5. Why did I let them say hurtful things to me?

Because I’ve always let people put me down for being thin and shapeless and never stood up for myself.

Insightful isn’t it?


Give it a try.  Find meaning and purpose behind your goals.







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Post by Lynne_Loiselle

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