Sunday, February 26, 2023
Let's say, for example, that you avoid conflict at all costs. It frightens you, and you run from it.
This is something I've struggled with in my life.
Do you struggle with it too?
I used to struggle with it, but I don't have as much of a problem with it anymore.
I can deal with conflict and know that on the other side of a conflict is resolution and a way to move forward.
But it wasn't always that way. For years, I would run from conflict.
Eventually, I realized that avoiding conflict was starting to mess with my life and my goals.
I knew it was a problem, but I didn't know why I did it.
That's when I remembered a technique I learned in college in my computer science systems analysis class called the 5-WHYs.
The 5-WHYs technique
The 5-WHY technique was initially developed in the 1970s by Sakichi Toyoda to help improve Toyota production.
It is now taught in business schools and is one of the best tools for doing root cause analysis.
It's also used in psychology and counseling to figure out the root cause of problems in our lives and in our minds.
Here's how it works
Start with the problem you have and analyze it from a prevention and detection perspective.
Continue to ask "why" to each previous answer until the root cause is obtained.
Let's go back to the problem of avoiding conflict and start with the first question.
Q1) Why do you avoid conflict?
A1) I avoid conflict because it makes me uncomfortable.
Q2) Why does avoiding conflict make you uncomfortable?
A2) Avoiding conflict is uncomfortable because I don't like how I feel when conflict arises. I get nervous, anxiety starts to creep in, and I feel like it's going to start an ugly fight.
Q3) Why don't you want to hurt others or cause relationship problems?
A3) I don't want to hurt others or cause relationship problems because I value my relationships and don't want to do anything that could damage them.
Q4) Why do you think conflict will hurt others and cause relationship problems?
A4) I think conflict will hurt others and cause relationship problems because I worry that I won't be able to handle the situation and will end up saying or doing something that will damage the relationship.
Q5) Why do you feel this way?
A5) I feel this way because I've had experiences in the past where I didn't handle conflict well and it ended up damaging the relationship.
And you don't need to stop and 5.
Keep asking until you find the root cause
Q6) Why do you think you didn't handle conflict well in the past?
A6) I think I didn't handle conflict well in the past because I didn't have the necessary communication skills. I would either shut down or become aggressive, which only made the situation worse.
Q7) Why didn't you have the necessary communication skills?
A7) I didn't have the necessary communication skills because I wasn't taught how to communicate effectively when I was growing up. My family never talked about their problems, so I never learned how to resolve conflicts in a healthy way.
Q8) Why do you think your family never talked about their problems?
A8) I think my family never talked about their problems because they were afraid of confrontation. They didn't want to make things worse, so they just ignored the problem and hoped it would go away on its own.
Q9) Why do you think they were afraid of confrontation?
A9) I think they were afraid of confrontation because they didn't have the necessary communication skills either. They didn't know how to handle conflict, so they just avoided it.
Q10) Why is it important for you to learn how to handle conflict?
A10) It's important for me to learn how to handle conflict because it's a necessary skill for any healthy relationship. Avoiding conflict only creates more problems in the long run, and I don't want my relationships to suffer because of my inability to handle conflict.
By asking the "why" question five or more times, we were able to dig deep and uncover the root cause of the problem.
In this case, the root cause was a lack of communication skills, which was passed down from the persons family.
By understanding the root cause, the user can start to work on developing the necessary communication skills and improve their ability to handle conflict in a healthy way.