Replace 'Why' With 'How'.

As we all know, we should never ask a person why they did something as this is a word that places blame. Rather, we should use the word how instead.

Never say to a person "Why did you do that?" It is accusatory, sounds condescending or arrogant, and makes the other person feel guilty. Ask the same question using the word how. "How did this happen" or if you must "What was the reason for this happening."

Organisations spend most of their time asking questions as to why things happen rather than how they happened when things go wrong in business. When using the word why what they are actually asking is who is to blame.

In a similar vein, we ask ourselves why when things go wrong in our lives. "Why does this always happen to me, why do bad things always happen when I am a good person, and why can't I get what I want."

The reason why the word why is such a negative word comes from our childhood. When we made mistakes as an infant, our parents would always use the word why in a blameful way. "Why did you do that when I told you not to" we would be scorned. 

The word why limits our thoughts and our brain shuts down our creative side due to the negative connotations associated with this word.

The word how on the other hand has positive associations. Returning to the childhood analogy, when our parents asked us how something happened they often did so in a way that was inquiring so that we would learn from our mistakes.

The next time something goes wrong, use the word how.  How did this happen, how can we avoid this again, and most importantly, how can we move forward.