A couple of weeks ago we learned why 92% of goals are not achieved. One of the major reasons behind this was that people don’t link their goals to a higher purpose. That is, they don’t have a burning platform or a clear understanding as to why they want to reach that goal.

I wanted to explore this concept in-depth as it’s absolutely fundamental to being able to live the life you want to live. Why? Because you need to understand WHY you want to live the life you want to live!

In my pursuit of providing you with real tools and strategies that you can actually implement into your life, I have developed a 5 whys template for this process which you can download from our free toolkit.


The 5 Why’s Technique


As I mentioned in last week’s post, many individuals have the goal of owning their own business. When asked the question of why, a common response is for the potential of more freedom or a higher income. The problem with these answers however, is that it doesn’t explain what freedom means to you and what it will actually provide you. Similar to when it comes to the potential for earning a higher income we have no explanation as to why you want a higher income. What will reaching your goal provide you and what will you do with it?

The 5 Why’s technique is a common problem-solving technique used to find the root cause of why a problem exists. For example, it might be that your business has an unhappy customer. Asking yourself ‘why’ can lead you to the root cause of the problem:


My customer is unhappy (the problem):

  1. Why? – I didn’t deliver the project on time. (first why)
  2. Why? – The job took much longer than I thought it would. (second why)
  3. Why? – I underestimated the complexity of the project. (third why)
  4. Why? – I didn’t develop a proper plan and quickly made an estimate of the time required. (fourth why)
  5. Why? – I was running behind on other projects and lacked the time to plan. (fifth why, a root cause)


When you arrive at the root cause of the problem, you can then look into what are the strategies for being able to change this or improve the situation. In this case, it is clear that something needs to be done around the process of planning to ensure that projects are delivered on time. This could be in the form of developing a process, template or framework for ensuring that a proper plan and time estimate is developed and provided to the customer prior to making any commitments.

This technique was first developed and used by Toyota in their manufacturing plants to help determine the root cause of a problem. Now, the 5 Whys technique is a integral part of all problem-solving programs.


How You Can Use the 5 Whys Technique to Create Sustained Motivation

The 5 Whys technique doesn’t just have to be used for problem-solving.

You can use the 5 Why’s technique for helping you understand the real reasons as to why you want to do a particular activity, and even better, the 5 Whys technique can help you elicit your purpose in life.

Understanding the real reason as to why you want to perform a particular activity will help you gain emotional commitment and provide intrinsic motivation for pursuing your goal. Intrinsic motivation (that which is derived from ones own interest or enjoyment in a task) rather than extrinsic motivation (trying to achieve an outcome such as money) is a key ingredient for ensuring sustained commitment, motivation and progress towards your goal.

To use the 5 Why’s technique when it comes to goals, performance or an activity, you can simply replace the ‘problem’ with the ‘goal’ and the ‘why’ with ‘why do I want this?’.

Let’s take the example that I provided at the start of this article. If I want to own my own business, what is the real reason that I want to do this?

5 Whys Problem Solving


As you can see here, by performing the 5 Whys technique you can quickly and easily get to the root cause or reason as to why you want to do something. Understanding this root cause of motivation and focusing on this will help you to remain motivated while striving for your goals.

In relation to the above, this is actually my own example. I’m currently going through a process of establishing my own business and The Start of Happiness is a fundamental part of this. I’m currently at that stage in my life where I know I will be having children in the next 2 to 5 years. I want to be able to set myself up so I am in a position to spend as much time with my family as possible. Using the 5 Whys technique and focusing on the root cause of motivation provides that inner, gut-wrenching passion for making my goal a reality.


Take Action Now:

To help you go through the process of asking the 5 Whys, I have developed a template which you can download instantly from our free toolkit. You can download the 5 Whys Template from our free toolkit here.

What’s one of your major goals that you are striving towards? Ask yoursekf why you want to achieve this goal and go through the process of the 5 whys. Does it elicit a new reason or root cause of why you are striving towards this goal? Can you feel the intrinsic motivation and that feeling in your gut come to life?


I’m excited to see how you guys go with this tool.

It’s simple… and effective!

Here’s to living your most fulfilling life!


P.S. I’m currently in the process of going through a transition in my own life and the 5 Why’s technique has been integral in helping me make this decision. I’ll be telling you more about it shortly!


About the author 

Brendan Baker

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

    1. Hi Vinod,

      Awesome to have you here! I’m glad that you found it useful and that you personally use it… Keep it up!

  1. Hello Brendan

    Thanks for the great post! I fully agree that the Why question is much more important than the How and by asking ourselves the Why we can uncover deeper issues that might not be obvious on the surface.

    1. Hey Jennifer!

      Why is the epitome of all questions! Understanding your ‘why’ is the cornerstone of everything you do. If there is no clear reason as to the ‘why’, then why do you do it? I love it! 🙂

      You’re 100% correct… asking why can elicit deeper motivations that previously you did not know. For example, you might have a goal of earning $1million. But many people fail to ask themselves ‘why’? Knowing the true meaning beind this can help drive motivation but also live more in the present.

      Thanks for joining the discussion!


  2. Hey Courtney!

    Thanks for the kind words! I seriously love the 5 Why’s technique and I’m glad you also found it useful. Without understanding your root cause of motivation you risk not staying focused on your goal… or staying focused on your goal for the wrong reasons which leads to different performance.

    Explore the toolkit.. you’ll enjoy! 🙂


  3. Thanks for sharing this Brendan! Your 5 why’s technique has changed the way I view my goals and has really set me up for success this year! It’s so effective at getting to your honest motivations. I look forward to using this tool, as well as all the other great things you’ve got in your toolkit!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get your Free Change Your Life Starter Course

Get instant access to the first four modules of my Change Your Life course - packed with over 50 pages of guides, exercises, tools, and templates to help you design and start living your best life.