In his famous poem “The Elephant’s Child,” Rudyard Kipling quoted, “I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.” Indeed, Kipling’s quote has a deep meaning, and it is ‘questioning.’
Right from the time we start speaking, questioning becomes a part and parcel of our speech. We use simple sentences followed by “Who”, “What”, “Where,” extensively.
However, as we grow, our innate ability of questioning keeps decreasing. We tend to get confined to norms of the world. We start taking things as they are without questioning their purposes and applications.
We need to change this habit. Accepting things as they are kills our curiosity and deters the growth of our logical and reasoning abilities. Life is about solving problems. So, if you do not have the ability to question or reason the current circumstances, how can you proceed to the solution?
In a nutshell, it is necessary for everyone to constantly ask oneself all these six questions – What, Why, When, How, Where and Who.
- Who? Means who are the people involved
- What? Means what the event or happening is
- Where? Means the origin of the event. More specifically, the venue or location
- When? Means the time and date of the event or happening
- Why? Means the reason/purpose
- How? Means the course, process or the route
The concept of 5 Ws and 1H is quite popular in the fields of journalism, research, criminal investigation, strategy building, among others. The underlying principle of all these fields is one and that is questioning everything. If you face a problem, start questioning related to the problem. Soon, you will start getting answers, which will help you come out with a solution to the problem.
Indeed, the first step of any process—it may be problem solving, learning, decision making or others—is questioning. Build a sense of curiosity. Start questioning and always seek answers.
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