Sometimes our goals help us lie to ourselves.

We say we want one thing but really we want another.

As a result, every time you think you've beaten a level of the game you may suddenly find yourself facing a 'final boss' that you weren't prepared for.

Very often the reason we fail to achieve our goals, or arrive at the finished line underwhelmed and dissatisfied, is that we are asking the wrong questions and not solving the right problems.

So, how do you get to the root of shallow goals?

Try asking why—not just once, but five times.

The Five Why's framework is a great way to test the foundation of your goals and see what's lurking below the surface.

The Five Whys

Here’s what the Five Whys framework might look like when investigating a car that won’t start:

Why? – The battery is dead. (First why)

Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (Second why)

Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (Third why)

Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (Fourth why)

Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (Fifth why, a root cause)

By getting to the root cause you can better understand the core issues that would likely continue confounding any attempt you made to solve the problem at higher levels of inquiry.

Here’s another example from Khe Hy , founder of Rad Reads, this time breaking down the goal of wanting to reach $2000 a month in passive income:

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