In high school, in social studies class, our teacher would often throw up a question that began with WHY, and he would pose it to a student – no doubt to see if they were paying attention to the material being discussed and to test whether they’d read the prep work for that day’s class. My friend Pat, when called upon, rarely knew the answer. It helped that he was a popular, friendly guy, which compensated, I suppose, for him not being the sharpest blade in the drawer, and he would answer, “Why not?” to a cacophony of laughter.
We do things, react and respond to things in a world where conformity – is fostered in school, family and the corporate world. We’re trained to go along to get along, to be nice while gritting our teeth in frustration or being put on the spot for a reaction or an answer. Sometimes we say, sure. Sometimes, we say no, or let me think about it, or I’ll do some research and provide a response before the end of the week.
Conversely, cooperating or rolling over in compliance when we feel the opposite – we need to push back with what our gut tells us – sometimes that’s rooted in emotions of the moment, sometimes experience has taught us, and some days it’s time to let ‘er rip!
Ultimately, we need to stick up for ourselves and those we represent – we always prefer to do that calmly and politely when warranted. However, sometimes, more dramatic measures are appropriate, and we react without any guarantee of anything. But, if you don’t ask, you don’t get – and we’ll often not firstly be offered the result we believe is correct and fair, but we’ll never get the result that is right if we are silent or acquiesce …
What if, we did things differently sometimes?
What if, we reacted differently this time – or next time, or all the time?
What if?, is a good question; so is Why?, How?, and What are the alternatives?