Moving from “Why?” to “What Now?”

Have you ever asked “Why” when bad things happen?  I’m sure most of us have but for sake of argument, how much practical good does it do us to ask why?  Do you feel better? Do you resolve issues?  Do you get unstuck and start to move forward?  Not likely.

A better question that moves you from a place of questioning “Why?” to a place of action is “What Now?” 

Asking “What Now?” does a number of things:

  • It calls you forth to dig deeper and find purpose in your pain and struggle.
  • It gets your focus off the blame game and onto solutions – “Fix the problem, not the blame!”
  • It gets your focus outward instead of inward and the resulting pity party.
  • It opens up new options and opportunities for personal growth and change.
  • It creates movement toward healing and wholeness.

What keeps us stuck in the “Why?”

  • Bitterness
  • Unforgiveness
  • Pain
  • Short-sightedness
  • Frustration
  • Ignorance
  • Negativity

Four Steps to Take You Away From “Why?” Towards “What Now?”

1.       Step down

The first step in this process is making the choice to step down from asking “why did this happen?” and start asking “what now?” It may not feel right to stop questioning why due to your pain or anger or frustration but being stuck on “why?” is not a healthy long term solution for life. If your heart is filled with hatred, bitterness or a victim mindset, there will be no room left for forgiveness and fresh thinking which leads to renewed living.

2.       Step back

Once you’ve chosen to step down from your “why?” you are in a place where you can step back and see your options for “what now?”  This whole new dance starts by seeing what’s going on and at what you have to work with.  It`s the helicopter view of your life that can help you gain clarity for answering the “what now?” question.  It’s taking inventory of your talents and what you need to do next to move ahead.

3.       Step into

Once you step down from asking “why?”, step back so you can see your options, you’re ready to step into action.  In the words of Mark Twain, the secret of getting ahead is getting started.  Stepping into what’s next is about action which leads to positive feelings that have been out of reach for far too long.  Stepping into action leads to finding new meaning and making a positive impact on others.

The only way to get positive feelings about yourself is to take positive actions.  Man does not live as he thinks, he thinks as he lives.  Vaughan Quinn

4.       Step together

Right from the start of creation God said “It is not good that man should be alone.”  Our need for traveling companions under normal circumstances is significant.  Raise the importance of having loving friends tenfold when you are going through a season of adversity.

In order for us to stay out of the “Why?” ditch and on the straight and narrow “What Now?” pathway, we need likeminded traveling companions.  We need family and friends who will believe with us for a purpose filled answer to “What now?”

Which question do you find yourself living with more often? What is the answer to your “What now?”

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About Cam Taylor

I'm help people live inspired, focused and tenacious lives. I work as a coach, facilitator, author, and speaker.
This entry was posted in Adversity, Change, forgiveness, Growth, Hope, learning, Perspective, purpose, self-awareness, suffering and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Moving from “Why?” to “What Now?”

  1. Very good and encouraging advice. Important to move forward and leave the “why”, but not easy as it requires courage and determination – as well as support.

    • Cam Taylor says:

      Thanks for your reminder that moving to “what now” is very difficult and in terms of the tasks of grief probably comes a bit later in the process. That’s the dance between keeping hope alive yet dealing honestly with brutal facts that come into our lives.

  2. Michael Abercrombie says:

    I think you are bang on Cam with your words which are encouraging us to NOT get stuck in the “why” quagmire. I appreciated your Mark Twain and Genesis references. From your experience, is there any value in attempting to visit the “why” question at all, and if yes, how does one know when it is time to leave this question behind?

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