“Freedom lies in being bold.”
When we’re kids, daddy and mommy’s answer to the “Why” question is usually “because I said so.”
I used to hate that so damn much. I thought it wasn’t fair that just because dad was head honcho he could just say “Off with his head” and no one would question it.
As a little scientist, “because I said so” wasn’t a good enough reason for me. It didn’t provide any answers, just more questions.
Even to this day, It’s one of those sentences I will try my absolute best not to utter to my kids. When they ask a “why” question, they are going to get a well thought out response.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about right now.
I’m here to talk about something else…
Why the hell not?
As I started getting older, I learned that there was an even more powerful question than “why” that left people speechless. It had the power to stop people in their tracks, shrug in agreement, or even cause people to reevaluate their lives.
Ya, it’s pretty awesome.
And here’s the secret question..
“Why the < insert favorite expletive here > not?”
Now you have an awesome incantation to utter whenever you want to magically justify something that you can’t with logic or any other tools.
Friend: ” Wanna go cow tipping ?”
Me: “Uhhh, why?”
Friend: “Wrong answer, biatch! Why not!?”
Me: “Ehhh, alright.”
(And then 1 hour later I totally regret even asking “why” in the first place)
Over time, I even started to learn the phrase in other languages, just because it became a fun little game:
Italian: perché no
French: pourquoi pas
Spanish: ¿por qué no
Chinese: 干吗不要？(The closest translation my Chinese friends and I could figure out)
American English: Why the F*** Not?
(Edit: my international comrades, please correct me if I have any misspellings or accents I left off)
Your secret power
I bet you today if people were still having massive Roman orgies to Dionysus, the code words to enter the hall would be : “Why not?”
Such a simple concept, yet it has the inherent quality of breaking you free from routine.
So few words, but with the power to create a new life of excitement, variety, and conversation worthiness.
There are a couple reasons why it is imperative that you embrace the power of “Why not?”
- Physically – it pushes you to new levels of experience. Maybe today on your walk you decide to run. Maybe tomorrow at work you decide to ask your boss if you can work at home. Maybe you decide to have a day of the week totally to yourself. It is very low risk and there is way more to gain.
- Intellectually – It stimulates your mind more. It makes you think outside the box. It makes you more creative.
- Psychologically – You become enlightened. Seriously. Often times the “why not” part of the equation is more important than the “why” part of the equation. It is considering the outside space, the unnecessary, the blind spots, the unusual places that people’s minds don’t often find themselves.
“Why Not” is the ultimate sign of your intuition working. I can’t even count the number of times I have said “why not” to a route, routine, or schedule change, and have ended up meeting someone I haven’t seen in a decade. It’s freaky. But it’s awesome.
For example, I once decided to take a different line in the Beijing subway – out of the blue, a “why not” question – and the only other white person on the entire subway was a childhood friend’s older brother. And somehow we knew each other. Synchronistic awesomeness.
Stuff like that happens ALL THE TIME when you constantly ask yourself “why not?”
But the single greatest gift of “why not?” is its ability to make your life worth living. If you constantly need justification for everything you do, you’re probably going to live a pretty low-key, routine-dominated life that limits you intellectually, physically, and psychologically.
“Why” inherently means you don’t want to overcome inertia and change your routine.
One of the funny things is this: You know that your reason for doing (or not doing) something is pretty lame when you can’t answer the “why not?” question.
Take out a business card from your wallet, write “Why not?” on it, and put it as the first one in your wallet.
It’ll help you remember that the only way to completely free yourself when you’re stuck in life is this:
Every day, ask yourself “Why not?”
It makes your life awesome.
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