Why You Should Be An Irritating 2-Year-Old

Posted by:

I work with, and speak for, organizations that want their people to play a bigger game and produce unreasonable results. Because of this, I’m keenly interested in why people don’t do this. I mean, think about it. If you had the power to produce big results, audacious results, even unreasonable results, wouldn’t you do it?

Well, you do have the power. What’s more, you know you have the power. You don’t need me to tell you. You’ve been hearing it from sages, gurus, authors, and speakers for most of your life. So why aren’t you doing it? Why aren’t you aiming higher? Why are you settling for average results, mediocre results?

I’ve found that one of the biggest (although not the only) reasons people fail to produce unreasonable results is because they just don’t have a compelling enough reason. And the reason for this is very basic.

They stopped asking “Why?” too soon.

Motivational Speaker Bill Stainton

“Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?”

Have you ever had a two-year-old human in your life? If so, my condolences. (Yes, I know that every child is a precious gift from God. Technically, so are mosquitoes.) Two-year-old humans may be a blessing and joy, but they are also among nature’s most perfect irritants. The primary flaw of two-year-olds is that they have learned the word “why.” As in:

Irritating 2-year-old: “Why do cats purr?”

Normal human: “Because they’re happy.”

Irritating 2-year-old: “Why?”

Normal human: “Because they get to sleep whenever they want.”

Irritating 2-year-old: “Why?

Normal human: “Because they don’t have jobs.”

Irritating 2-year-old: “Why?”

Normal human: “Because all their needs are taken care of by humans like me.”

Irritating 2-year-old: “Why?”

Normal human: “Because if I don’t your mother will accuse me of not being a good provider.”

Irritating 2-year-old: “Why?”


Irritating 2-year-old: “Why?”

And on and on this little death spiral plays out.

So why on earth would I want you to emulate the irritating 2-year-old?

Motivational Speaker Bill StaintonBecause a chain of “whys,” irritating as it may be, has a way of getting to the core. Ask enough “whys” and you’ll start to find out what’s really important to you. For example:

You: “I want to produce a big, unreasonable result.”

Your irritating inner 2-year-old: “Why?”

You: “Because everybody says that’s what I should do.” [Note: This is where most people stop. Small wonder they fail to produce the result. They stopped asking “Why?” too soon.]

Irritating inner 2-year-old: “Why?”

You: “Because they believe in me.”

Irritating inner 2-year-old: “Why?”

You: “Because they see possibilities and potential in me that I sometimes forget are there.”

Irritating inner 2-year-old: “Why?”

You: “Because sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I forget to focus on why I’m doing it, which makes me realize why I really should produce a big, unreasonable result.”

Suddenly not-so-irritating inner 2-year-old: “Why?”

You: “Because if I do I can help thousands of other people live their passion and produce unreasonable results of their own!”

Now that’s a reason that will energize you, motivate you, and keep you on track! You just have to ask enough “Whys” to get there! (Please note the incredible self-restraint I exercised in not making a “word to the whys” pun.)


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
  Related Posts