So how should we define our goals? A mental framework worth deploying here is the Five Whys. Khe Hy, author of Rad Reads, gave a good example of this.
Very often the reason we fail to achieve our goals or fail to achieve the underlying satisfaction when we do meet them, is that we are asking the wrong questions and not solving the right problems. Here’s what the Five Whys framework might look like when investigating a car that won’t start:
Why? – The battery is dead. (First why)
Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (Second why)
Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (Third why)
Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (Fourth why)
Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (Fifth why, a root cause)
By getting to the root cause you can better understand the core issues that would likely continue confounding any attempt you made to solve the problem at higher levels of inquiry.
Here’s another example from Khe, this time breaking down the goal of wanting to reach $2000 a month in passive income:
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