The Four Questions
May 5, 2023
James Allen, a success coach, productivity guru, and author of the brilliant book Getting Things Done, lays out on simple mantra for anyone wanting to get better at whatever they do. He says
“For true success, ask yourselves these four questions: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?”
This is an all-weather mantra. Whether you want to start a new business, solve a problem, be more productive, etc., asking yourself these questions will help you get started. Let me illustrate the idea with a personal example.
I had this desire to write and publish a blog for many years but could not muster the motivation to start until I came across this powerful message from James Allen. So I asked myself, “WHY do I want to start a blog.” Was it to show off, was it to help others, was it to help myself, or was there some other reason I was not admitting to myself? The day I was able to pinpoint my WHY clearly, I got a massive surge of motivation and drive to get started.
Next, I asked myself, “Why not, and why not me? What potential obstacles may derail my desire to start and sustain a daily blog?”
The constraints and impediments were many- starting with my own fears that I was not competent enough, skilled enough, motivated enough, or disciplined enough. Recognizing the issues and challenges upfront allowed me to devise strategies to deal with them. Asking myself, “Why not me'” allowed me to fend off the virus of self-doubt.
Finally, I asked myself, “Why not now?” There was a voice screaming in my head that I was not ready yet. What if I fall sick and can’t write, or if I develop writer’s block, blah, blah, blah? But there was no reason for me to hold back. The previous two questions I asked myself helped me with the drive and motivation to not procrastinate or wait for the “perfect” moment to start. I took action and started writing 300 to 500 words at a time.
Starting a daily blog has not only helped me to express myself and share my ideas with others, but it has also given me the opportunity to learn and grow in ways I never thought possible.
James Allen’s Mantra of Why, Why not, Why not me, and Why not now triggered me to clarify my intentions, overcome my fears and doubts, and get started.
If you’re looking to improve in any area of your life, ask yourself these questions and see where the answers take you.