The Five Whys

We’ve got a problem.  
We want to solve it, but we don’t know how.
That sucks, so let’s make it a game. 

The goal of the game is to land on a “what” or a “how”.  
We are looking for a statement of “falsifiable fact”.  
Not because I said so, or it just is. Not popular opinion, cultural myth, or dogma.
We are looking for facts, foundational knowledge, so we can solve a problem…

The goal of the game is to land on a “what” or a “how”. We aren’t looking for “why do I feel this way” in this game. We are looking for a statement of “falsifiable fact”. Something we can prove so we can separate reliable knowledge from assumptions.

If we get “because I said so“, or “it just is” as an answer that’s an assumption that may be based on popular opinion, cultural myth, or dogma.

We are looking for facts, and foundational knowledge we can build upon to solve our problem.

First principle thinking keeps us focused on facts we can prove, so that we can solve the problem as efficiently as possible. The “Five Whys” is a quick way to get there.

We’ve been playing “Animal Vegetable Mineral” for a while in my family. I think this will be our new game. We ask the “why’s” anyway, so we might as well practice a little reasoning in the process.

I found The Five Whys in The Great Mental Models (P 82) by Shane Parrish and Rhiannon Beaubien, and I highly recommend it for getting out of ruts and thinking outside of the box. I hope it helps you too.

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