The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Is The 'Five-Fold Why' Technique?

The Five-Fold Why is a technique to help you find out what you actually want.

Applying it is easy: whenever you want something, ask yourself "Why?" as many times as needed until you get to the root of the want.

Discover the root causes behind the want, and you'll discover new ways to get there.

Josh Kaufman Explains The 'Five-Fold Why'

Very often, we're not consciously aware of why we want what we want. Conducting a "root cause analysis" is a useful way to discover the motivations behind our desires.

The Five-Fold Why is a technique to help you discover what you actually want. Instead of taking your desires at face value, examining the root cause of what you want can help you define your core desires more accurately.

Applying the Five-Fold Why is easy: whenever you set a goal or objective, ask yourself why you actually want it. In the case of wanting to become a millionaire, you'd ask yourself why you want to have a million dollars.

Don't try to force an answer-just ask yourself the question in a spirit of curiosity, and wait until your mind generates a response on its own. When your mind provides an answer, ask "why?" again.

Continue to ask yourself why until you get a "because I want it" response, which indicates you've reached the root cause your original goal.

Here's an example of how to apply the Five-Fold Why to the classic goal, "I want to be a millionaire":

  1. Why do I want a million dollars? Because I don't want to be stressed about money.
  2. Why don't you want to be stressed about money? So I don't feel anxious.
  3. Why don't you want to feel anxious? So I feel secure.
  4. Why do you want to feel secure? So I feel free.
  5. Why do you want to feel free? Because I want to feel free.

The root desire isn't having a million dollars-it's feeling free.

Is it possible to feel free without having a million dollars? Absolutely-there are many ways to feel free that have nothing to do with money at all.

Taking an alternate approach that addresses the real issue may be more effective than your original goal. Discover the root causes behind your goals, and you'll discover new ways to get what you actually want.

Questions About The 'Five-Fold Why'


"Ask the next question, and the one that follows that, and the one that follows that."

Theodore Sturgeon, author of More Than Human


From Chapter 7:

Working With Yourself


https://personalmba.com/five-fold-why/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

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