This one question is the creativity hack we've been trained out of as adults. It's the key to uncovering amazing knowledge and stories. Kids ask it all the time: “Why?”
One of my top tips for creators, interviewers, and entrepreneurs is to trust the process of curiosity. This is how I approach everything I do. It's how I get guests on the podcast to open up and share valuable information. It's how I come up with content and discover fresh business opportunities. And it all boils down to asking why.
In this episode, I want to challenge you to tap into your inner child and look at your work through the lens of curiosity. I challenge you to ask why.
So be sure to listen in for more on how I apply this technique to everything from podcasting to parenting. This is a mindset game-changer because it affects how you see the world and introduces you to an abundance of new possibilities in life and business.
And if you haven't already, tune in to episode 708 for another essential question you need to ask to uplevel your entrepreneurial skillset!
SPI 722: Just... Why.
Announcer: You're listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that's all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host. Yes, he does have a couple of songs published on Spotify that he wrote himself. Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: Why? Why? What am I talking about? I'm talking about the question that you should all be asking when you are doing your research, when you're interviewing, when you are creating, when you are doing something to serve others, you need to answer that question, why? And you need to ask that question, why, if you don't know the answer.
It is your job. It is your duty to get to the root of things and it's not going to happen upon that initial answer or search or whatever it is. Now you might be like, Pat, are you okay? What are you doing? Yes, of course. I'm okay. I'm always okay. I'm just grateful to be here and thankful to be sharing information with you that's on the top of my mind. And this is at the top of my mind because I've been getting a ton of comments from many of you listeners, and I'm just so grateful for you for this, the recent, I don't know, energy, I guess you could call it, in some of the latest episodes of the podcast and you're going to hear this as more episodes go along because, of course, you're listening to this, sort of, the timing of all this is weird, anyway, that, that, that doesn't matter, but what does matter is that there is a renewed energy, not even renewed, there's just a, a new boost of energy, nitrous oxide has been pumped into my interview gas tank, if you will, to accelerate what I feel like is required and what I wanted to pass on to you, which is just to go deeper, right?
Which is why that question why is so important. You know, when we are kids, we often will continue to ask why until we figure things out. And then as we grow into adults, we learn that we need to keep our mouth shut, whether that's in class or at work. And so we don't ask why we just do what we're told. And that, as a creator, is not the right mindset because you just are doing what everybody else is doing and you are often afraid to go deeper because you just weren't trained to do so. It's really important to understand that all the best information, all of the best juiciest storytelling comes when you continue to ask why.
And it's so sad that what we had as kids, that basic human curiosity gets stunted as we grow up. And so you kind of have to unlearn that, especially as a creator and especially if you are somebody who is an interviewer. And if you're doing interviews, I want you to pay attention to some of the upcoming episodes or maybe even go back and listen to some more recent ones and how much I dig deeper into some of who it is I'm speaking to and the topics that we're talking about.
Do I know we're going to go down that direction? No, in fact, I have no idea where exactly the podcast episodes and the answers and where the direction of the show is going to go. All I know is here is a person who has an expertise and I want to uncover how they got to that point and what we can all learn from it.
From there, I trust the process of curiosity. Let me say that one more time. I trust the process of curiosity. When I first started podcasting, I was so worried about what questions I was going to ask. I would often write down those questions ahead of time. And thus, the podcast was already determined where it was going to go.
I didn't know the answers, but I knew what my response was going to be. Oh, that's cool. Well, here's my next question. And when you have a podcast that's like that, where all the questions are the same, or you write them ahead of time, you're not allowing the guest and just the energy of that show to flow to where it might need to go.
You are directing it into a particular place and it might be too direct. Yes, you want it to go eventually to a place where it's serving your audience and it's helpful and you're uncovering this story that perhaps you know about already. But in many cases, some of the best episodes that I've recorded have been related to interviews where We go down a path that I didn't even know we were going to go down.
How did we start going down that direction? It was through curiosity. So be genuinely curious when you are recording an episode, or when you are writing, or when you're doing your research, and that will guide you. And if you are in tune with who your audience is and what they might need help with, I mean, that's a recipe for massive success, a strong rapport with who it is that you're talking to. And it's just fun, isn't it? To figure things out. You have the ability as a host of your show. You have permission. It's your show, number one. You don't have to do it like anybody else. But number two, why can't you go deeper? Why can't you dig in a little bit?
I mean, I know sometimes it's because we don't want to pry, we don't want to be disrespectful. But, I mean, if you set the tone up front, especially before you hit record, that you do want to kind of go deeper and you want to understand more about the psyche or, or, or the decision making that that person made, or truly get into some of the stories that perhaps have not been shared before, then, you know, this person might be more open to it.
And this is why, of course, feeling comfortable with the host is really important for a guest because then they'll open up a little bit more, which is why whenever I start a conversation, you'll see this in my course, power of podcasting, some tips with interviewing, I always start off the conversation by literally saying, Hey, I haven't hit the record button yet. I just want to take a moment to say thank you. And also let you know that this will be a lot of fun. I'm, I've been looking forward to this and I want you to feel like we're at a coffee shop, just having a conversation and immediately I can always see almost 99 percent of the time, well, almost 100 percent of the time.
So 99 percent of the time I could see the person respond when I say that I'm not recording. This is going to be casual. We're going to have some fun. I often see the shoulders of that person who either was nervous or was kind of putting up a front, you know, because they're going into this professional setting, they don't know what to expect.
I see the shoulders go down, physically go down, which means the tension is starting to be released, which means I'm more likely to, have that person open up and tell an amazing story, but why why did you do that? Why did you think that was the right decision for you at the time? Why did you stop when you could have kept going you see how powerful those why questions are we need to tap into our inner child our inner curiosity and use that because I promise you most people are too afraid to go there because we're just trained out of it. So that is my challenge to you. The next time you are with a person, and maybe even practice this with somebody close to you. Somebody at home, a spouse, a child. Maybe you can flip the script on the child that's asking you why all the time, and you ask them why.
Not like in a playful way like where they go, why? And you go, No, well, why you? Why you? I know you are, but what am I? Not that. But genuine curiosity. One thing that we did with our kids that was really, really helpful that I want to pass forward to you, in case you have kids, and I know we're in the middle of sort of a new school year for a lot of you, this might be helpful.
And I did not come up with this, somebody else did, but I do not know who to give credit to. But whoever you are, thank you, because this changed our conversations with our kids. When they started coming home from school, instead of asking, how was your day? Fine. What'd you do? Nothing. Right? Which is traditionally and stereotypically what we hear from kids at a younger age and an older age who come home from school and we ask those questions.
They don't want to answer your questions. They've answered questions all day at school. The phrase and question that we asked our kids empowered them and they loved it and we trained them from early on when we started sharing this and I'm going to share it with you right now. What can you teach me today?
What happened in school that you could teach me today? What can I learn from what you just learned today? Oh my gosh, the eyes light up. They just spit all the things, not like actually spit, I mean maybe sometimes. They're just pouring out because you've given them a chance to now teach you. And I love that.
And I see that in our kids. And now I see how helpful they are and they want to help others. They want to teach others. Should I bring my son back on the show and even my daughter? I hadn't had my daughter on the show before, I believe. Maybe she was on at one point, but it was like when she was like two.
And my son hasn't been on for a very long time. He's about to turn 14 at the end of this year. I think he has like a deeper voice than I do. And I'm like now switching to my deeper voice because I don't want him to stand me up in the deep voice contest. There is no contest, but yeah. I'm so proud of where he's at, how he's becoming a young man, and what he's doing in this.
Decisions he's making and yeah, he still messes up every once in a while is now a learning experience. He sees those things as learning experience and I share the same thing with my son, too when I make mistakes I share with him what I've learned and how I could do better. Because I try to talk to him as if we're equals because we are we're both humans. We're both learning and I just have a few more years ahead and I can share that wisdom with him. But he's learning stuff that he could teach me. To anyway, I'm on a tangent now. Why, go there. Go to why. Cheers. Thank you so much. I look forward to serving you in the next episode of the podcast. Make sure you hit subscribe so you don't miss out. I appreciate you.
Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!