For almost 6 years, between 2012 and 2018, I used to have a mentor and he helped me with lots of things.

He helped me improve my public speaking skills, the way I organize myself, how I develop projects and pitch them to various potential clients, and much more. In a way, thanks to him, I look at things differently.

I remember that when we started out, he was constantly asking me ‘why?’. Whenever I was telling him that I wanted to do something, start something new, buy something new or anything else, he was asking me ‘why?’.

Eventually, I ended up in a place where I was able to ask myself ‘why?’ every time I wanted to do something and that helped me become more specific with anything.

Here are 3 reasons why becoming specific and asking yourself ‘why?’ will make you smarter.

1. It will give you clarity

You will know why you do the things you do.

While you may think you know why, I bet you don’t know every aspect of what you are doing.

When you reach that point where you know why you do the things you do, you’ll be able to convince yourself to not postpone things, to not procrastinate and to focus on what you want to do.

More important than that, you’ll be able to argue your ideas so well to others, that most nay-sayers will leave you alone.

I’m sure you have someone in your life who’s always saying that you shouldn’t do anything risky and you should always follow the mediocre plan of society.

I’m sure you have heard before the following things:

  • Don’t start [your-dream-related-activity] because you will fail and everybody will be disappointed – even yourself.
  • Make sure you have a family and go to a 9-to-5 job because that’s the only way you’re going to have an income.
  • You can’t work from home and travel the whole world. Only a few people can and they got lucky.

Basically, when people fail, they tell others everything how impossible it is to follow your dreams.

When you’ll know why you do the things you do, you’ll have that clarity that will help you argue your decisions to others so well that they will stop bothering you with their nonsense.

2. It will give you a structure for your thoughts

If, right now, you are starting an idea and are not capable of finishing it because you start focusing on something else, becoming specific will help you sort this problem out.

When you become specific, you know why you are doing what you are doing.

More than that, you know who you are, where you are and where you want to go. This simple formula applies to everything, from who you are as a person, to a complex idea that you want to share with others.

It will help you see things specifically in the present moment. As much as that, it will provide you with a specific long-term perspective.

Here’s a situation. Let’s say you have a meeting tomorrow and you have to share these three ideas with your boss:

  • 1st idea: main point, second point, third point
  • 2nd idea: main point, second point
  • 3rd idea: main point, second point, third point, fourth point

You start with a short introduction, then you get to the main point of the first idea. Suddenly, your boss interrupts you and then you start sharing the main point of the second idea.

In short, you only get to share bites of the information you want to share because you don’t have clarity over what you want to say.

And I bet you don’t usually have the above structure when it comes to ideas. You just sit in front of people and share with them what you want to think should be shared.

If you decide to start asking yourself why, you won’t even need to prepare yourself in order to have such a structure in your head. Having clarity will take care of it.

3. It will help you build things with no effort

When an architect starts designing a house, it would be weird to start it by designing its ceiling, right?

While that is obvious, a great architect doesn’t even think about the ceiling when building a house. He lets the ceiling come to him.

When you have the clarity, the way you design the walls of the house will help you design the ceiling as well, so you don’t have to focus on it.

With other words, when you have the clarity, you don’t need to know everything about what’s going on. You just need to have a strong foundation of what you want to say and do and then everything will align perfectly to that core foundation.

How to become specific?

Asking yourself why it is crucial and I would start from there.

But here’s one more thing you can do to make sure you become more specific than you are. It will require an amazing effort and you have to really be conscious about what you say.

Here are a few sentences. Let’s see if you spot what’s wrong with them.

  • Can you give me that thing over there?
  • You can do both this or that. It doesn’t matter.
  • Are they going to come as well? Cause we need that thing to plug this in.

In these sentences, there are a lot of ‘this’ and ‘that’. If you want to become specific, you can start by replacing ‘this’ and ‘that’ with their actual meaning.

With love and optimism,
David