Why I do it

All positive and negative feedback is welcomed. The more brutally honest, the better.

Email me here: dave[at]whyyoudo.it

 

“If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters–don’t wish to seem knowledgeable. And if some regard you as important, distrust yourself.”

– EPICTETUS, ENCHIDRION, 13a 

 

I’ve always been bad at conversation. If I have to keep one going with someone I’m not completely comfortable with, I’m in Strugglesville.

But I’ve always loved asking questions.

13 years ago, I was about to fly up from Melbourne to Sydney to interview Les Murray (the Soccer guy) for an article, and at the last minute, my girlfriend at the time gave me some advice: ‘Don’t ask any stupid questions. You do that a lot…’. In a split second, my confidence about the interview was shot (I did actually ask stupid questions though. And still do).

Looking back now though, I’m taking that as a huge compliment.

The writers I admire the most are John Safran, Neil Strauss, Louis Theroux, Shakespeare, Seneca and Socrates. And it’s because these guys ask or address (or asked or addressed) ‘stupid’ questions. Questions coming from true curiosity. The obvious questions that you want answers to, but you’re afraid to ask, for fear of looking like an ‘idiot’.

In Ryan Holiday‘s book, The Daily Stoic, he says, ‘One of the most powerful things you can do as a human being in our hyperconnected, 24/7 media world is say: “I don’t know”.’

Guys like Safran, Strauss, Theroux etc. acknowledge they don’t know something, so they ask about it. Simple as that. Without worrying whether people will think they’re dumb. That doesn’t happen enough.

If you ask someone a question that starts with ‘what…?’ (e.g. What do you do? What is that? What does it do?’ etc.), most of the time you get a pre-programmed response, straight off auto-pilot. You can leave things there, sure, but if you then genuinely ask them ‘Why?’, most of the time you get a real response from within them, about their real motivations, reasons and beliefs about that thing. And even if you don’t get it first time, asking again (and even again) will eventually get you to the truth, where you learn something real about them, it can help them learn something about themselves, and in turn it may even help you learn more about yourself. All because of one simple, stupid question.

That can be annoying, but it works. And really digging deep and thinking about why we actually do what we do is what helps you constantly become an even better version of yourself and live a better life.

So this site is dedicated to the ‘Why?’. And the stupid, annoying and uncomfortable questions that get deep to the heart of why you do what you do.

That’s why I do it.

Yours in stupidity,

Dave Martin
Sunshine Coast, Australia