The Importance Of Why


I’m chock-full of why.

As I write this, I’m on my way home from a training event with a partner company. They invited Scott Jedlinski, founder and chief instructor of the Modern Samurai Project, to teach a two-day class on the proper and optimal use of red dot sights on handguns. Being that sighting is an integral part of effective handgun deployment, the class was really about techniques to make the students better overall shooters, even if a red dot sight is not in the picture.

I’ve been to dozens of condensed training events across the country over the past couple of decades, and most of them have been excellent. This one stood out for one simple reason.

Why? Yes, I’m playing games with words, but “why” is exactly the point here. Scott’s underlying philosophy is all about … why. For every technique taught, he communicates a very clear explanation of the underlying reason. On the flip side, he often asked the class about previously learned techniques.

For example, one such query went something like this. “Okay, so you were trained to point both thumbs forward toward the target along the side of the gun. What’s the reason for that? In other areas of your life, daily routine or athletic endeavors, do you often point at things with your thumbs?” The response was a surprise to us, but predictable to Scott. No one in the class could answer the “why” behind the pointing-thumbs technique.

And this continued throughout the two-day session. Time after time, we stood there slack-jawed realizing we were doing all sorts of things because someone credible told us to — without ever explaining why.

I have to say the class was far more engaging than any other I can remember. Every single detail has a strong “why” value proposition backing it up. Doing this adds strength to this muscle group. This position causes you to shoot low under stress. Doing that shaves 0.2 seconds off the time required to complete said movement. You get the idea.

This all got me thinking about how frequently we do and recommend things without really challenging the underlying reasons why. This refreshing change of thought pattern will certainly influence the way I write about certain topics. Throughout the class I found myself wondering why I habitually talk about certain features of guns and gear in the way I do. I suspect I’ll be clarifying why certain product attributes are important better in the future.

Why indeed …

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