Discover your why

Life's Chemistry Press

A practical way to discover your why

By Juman Hijab

Reading time: minutes

Original date: October 15, 2023  

Updated: October 15, 2023

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Discover your why

DALL·E. An image of Earth from Space highlighting the idea of everyone having a purpose on this vast-spinning rock, 10, 2023

Do you know your why?

Do you have a clue why you're taking up valuable real estate on this spinning rock called Earth? What's your superpower, the one thing you can do that no one else can, besides making a killer avocado toast?

Is it the ability to help people discover their potential by coaching them, even when they're convinced that their spirit animal is a sloth? Or is it the ability to create a game that helps each of us discover our stories? Maybe you are the go-to person for those who have more conversations with their pet goldfish than with humans?

We all have our unique gifts, and each one of us has the power to make a dent in the universe. There are some of you reading this article who have done this many times over.

The Five Whys technique

Let's dive into something that's both practical and a tad nerdy—a technique that can help you find your 'why' even when it's hiding in the laundry pile of life. But before we get there, I owe a shoutout to my virtual buddy, ChatGPT, for dropping some humor and wisdom into my speech. When you're wandering aimlessly in the desert of uncertainty, grab your compass—it's time for the Five Whys technique!

Originating from the Toyota Production system, it's like detective work for your brain. I will share with you 3 examples that demonstrate the Five Whys technique, one of which is a personal problem that I am struggling with.

Discover your why: Detective work for your brain, Discover your why: Detective work for your brain  10, 2023

Problem: The robot stopped working.

The first example of the Five Whys technique is a famous one involving a welding robot stopping in the middle of its operation.

Problem: The robot stopped working.

Why? The circuit has overloaded, causing a fuse to blow.

Why? There was insufficient lubrication on the bearings, so they locked up.

Why? The oil pump supplying lubrication to the bearings wasn’t circulating enough oil.

Why? The pump intake was clogged with metal shavings.

Why? Because there was no filter on the pump.

The solution, in this case, was to add a filter to the pump to prevent it from getting clogged with metal shavings, rather than just replacing the fuse, which would have been a short-term fix.

Discover your why: Dealing with insomnia and anxiety

DALL·E. An image of a person sitting up in bed looking at a clock looking sleepless and anxious, 10/2023.

ProblemI always stay up late and then sleep late

Now, onto a more relatable puzzle that your friend might face:

ProblemI always stay up late and then sleep late making it hard for me to accomplish anything

Why? I can’t get to sleep at a normal time

Why? I am too anxious that I haven’t been productive enough during the day to get my commitments done

Why? I don’t know how to deal with anxiety and I’m convinced I’ve won the 'Procrastinator of the Year' award. 

Why? I’ve always been anxious. It seems to be part of who I am  and that I deserve to be anxious.

Why? I have feelings of worthlessness; Deep down, I’ve got an ongoing subscription to 'Feeling Worthless Weekly.’ That makes me reluctant to really work on my problem of anxiety

Those are two examples from an engineering field as well as a friend’s personal example. In each case, the Five Whys technique uncovered the root of the problem.

Discover your why: going down a rabbit hole

DALL·E. Going down a rabbit hole to shed light on science concepts, 10/203

Problem: Why am I writing this Aging book, you ask?

I’d like to share with you an example from my personal life using the Five Whys. Some of you know that I am working on a book explaining Aging and why Aging is not inevitable. One problem I am having is that I keep on wanting to change the focus of the book and I get confused as what I should include in the book, etc. Last week I was wondering whether the problem is deeper than the fact that it is a huge field. I decided to use the “Five Whys” technique. I won’t go over the every single why, but I was able to find a connection that deeply resonates with me.

Problem: Why am I writing this Aging book, you ask?

Why (5th)? Why do I want to decode the protein dance and explain diseases like I'm teaching a 5-year-old how to make a PB&J sandwich?

Because I want everyone to spot trouble in a cell faster than a toddler can find candy. 

The real test? Showcasing how different proteins can hijack a cell and turn it into a disco for diseases.

It's vital for me to dive deep into the cellular rabbit hole and make science as easy to digest as a piece of cake. The Five Whys technique helped me uncover My Why, ensuring I don't get distracted by shiny objects while writing this Aging masterpiece. 

Discover your why: Two most important days Discover your why: The two most important days in your life, 10/2023

Find out your why!

Now, it's your turn. Is there a puzzle in your life you're itching to solve? Whether it's understanding why your neighbor's lawn is always greener or deciphering the mysteries of your job's coffee machine, I challenge you to unleash the Five Whys technique.

Finding your why is your secret weapon for unlocking happiness and success in both the mundane and the magnificent. Remember, as Mark Twain brilliantly said, 'The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.' So, let's go find that 'why' and make our mark on this spinning rock that we call Earth!



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