Rudyard Kipling, the famous author, has quoted in his poem, “The Elephant’s Child” -
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
Kipling, the author of the Jungle Book series, highlighted a really important aspect around the growth of children. This poem has a deep meaning, that of questioning!
Right from the time we started speaking, questioning has been a part and parcel of our speech. We used simple sentences followed by “Who”, “What”, “Where”… extensively.
However, as we grow, that innate ability of questioning keeps decreasing in most of us. We get confined to the norms of the world. We take things as they are, without questioning their purpose and application.
This is what we need to change. Accepting things as they are kills curiosity and stops reasoning ability from growing. Life is about solving problems. Without the ability to question or reason with the current circumstances, how can we proceed to the solution?
To put it in simpler words, I’d say that one needs to constantly ask himself these six questions – What, Why, When, How, Where and Who.
Coming back to the six honest serving-men,
- Who? Refers to the ‘people involved’
- What? Refers to the ‘event/happening/entity’
- Where? Refers to the ‘venue/location’
- When? Refers to the ‘time and date’
- Why? Refers to the ‘reason/purpose’
- How? Refers to the ‘process/course/route’
This concept is widely used in journalism, research, police investigation, strategy building and other fields as well. The very basis of these fields is – Questioning Everything. Unless and until you question, you will not get the answers. It is based on these answers that you need to build your foundation, and, eventually, reach a solution to a problem.
So, always remember – the first step of the problem-solving process is questioning. Develop a sense of curiosity. Keep questioning and seek the answers.