Five Why’s

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, the biggest help I had in building my list was asking myself 5 Why’s. For example, one of my personal goals is to learn the basics of Italian.

Why do I want to learn the basics of Italian?
So I can speak, read, and understand the language.

Why do I want to speak, read & understand the language?
I want to be a more considerate and safer traveler, of course, but also be better able to get off the tourist routes on my next visit to Italy.

Why do I want to get off the tourist routes?
I want a more authentic view of Italians, the Italian countryside and small towns, and their day-to-day lives.

Why do I want a more authentic view?
I want to get past the stereotypes perpetuated in tourist areas, get away from the crowds,  and interact with people in a more meaningful way.

Why do I want to get past the stereotypes, avoid crowds, and interact with people in a more meaningful way?
Because I hate crowds and don’t want to just confirm my biases, grab my souvenir tea towel, and go home. I want to come away feeling like I better understand Italians across the peninsula, the ways they see the world and their place in it. I also want to help dispell the stereotypes that people in other lands have about Americans by letting them get to know me a little.

With a deeper understanding of WHY I value the goal of learning the basics of Italian, I can ensure that it’s not an externally based goal (people-pleasing or societal norms-focused), and I think I’ll be more inclined to put the work in and set the distractions aside to reach it.

When I couldn’t get past two or three thoughtful why’s (and for some things I couldn’t), it quickly became clear that the stated goal wasn’t really something I was going to feel driven to maintain when motivation flagged or that didn’t add much to how I wanted to live my life.

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