“Because” is a commonly used beginning when answering a question that begins with “why”. Many times a week we try to make sense of the world. Something happens that we don’t fully understand which then leads to asking why did this happen.
Our curiosity in search of a cause is admirable but limiting. Once hearing the answer beginning with “because” we become satisfied. Thinking we now understand what happened we move on. Leaving this two-step process of asking “why” and then hearing the “because” as complete. Neatly contained in one of the cubes in the above picture.
As the picture above portrays, some explanations seem orderly and others more jarring and different than we either expected or have been used to. Breaking the comfort of the logic we cling to in our lives and throwing us randomly in different directions. Notice though, that the cubes retain their shapes in all situations.
Ending our curiosity with an answer beginning with “because” stunts our personal growth. Leaving the original shape of a cube the same. Furthermore, any answer we hear is simply a story. Based on one person’s point of view, experience, and beliefs. Leaving the imperfection of the answer as minor in relation to something much more important.
Ending our curiosity once an explanation is given is limiting. Not with respect to whether a more complete explanation can be given. But rather, we fail to ask a second question after “why” which is more developmental for our personal growth. The important question should be “what can we do to change this outcome in the future?”
We need the cubes to change shape or even to merge into some new unexpected form. This is how personal growth can be visually represented. Asking what needs to be different in the future for a better outcome is where real learning takes place.
In a simplistic example, answering the question of why with “because I forgot” can be reasonable and people accept this out of empathy and compassion, for this has happened to all of us. The more powerful path would then be to explore how not to forget in the future. Requiring a change in our behavior.
Our lives consist of an ongoing/never-ending series of trial and error experiments, We commonly call this experience. It’s the changes in our future responses to similar situations that demonstrate personal growth. How we do things differently the next time makes all the difference in the world.
Taking us away from always feeling we are a victim, to a more hopeful place where with reflection and practice we can develop a sense of confidence and skill in facing what life shares with us next.