By Bradley Harrington
“Living a successful and happy life depends on understanding the WHYS: The causes and reasons why things are what they are and do what they do.” — Betsy Speicher, “The WHYS Way to Success and Happiness,” 2015 —
Studying journalism back in the day, I was taught that a properly-written news story must address the following points in as objective a manner as possible: “Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.”
And, of those six items, the most important one is the “Why.”
Why is that? Because it’s the “Why” that supplies the causal explanation for the event. Yes, the other five items are critical, but they function as the particulars: It’s the “Why” that links the various aspects of the story together and transforms it all into a cohesive, understandable whole.
Well, that applies even more so to all aspects of our daily lives and decision-making processes, too: When you know the “Whys,” you are able to think for yourself; connect the dots between ideas, people and events; and, finally, to apply that knowledge in the pursuit of your goals.
In spite of that, however, you will search our so-called “educational” systems in vain for a comprehensive, graspable presentation of how one trains oneself to arrive at those “Whys.” (Indeed, sadly, much of that “educational” content, and most of modern philosophy as well, will simply waste your time by trying to convince you that knowing how isn’t even necessary.)
Yet, without those “Whys,” we’re powerless, lost in a barrage of indecipherable concretes, with no standards or integrating principles to correlate the mass of data that our view of reality demands.
Clearly, there’s a void here — and Betsy Speicher’s book, “The WHYS Way to Success and Happiness,” is just the thing to fill it.
The back jacket of “The WHYS Way” describes itself as the “ultimate how to book” that will “show you how to find answers, be confident, improve your memory, master your emotions, reach your goals, solve your problems, be creative, persuade people, and raise terrific children.”
That’s an awfully ambitious agenda and a lot of ground to cover in a mere 149 pages, but I’m here to tell you: Unlike most “self-help” books, Speicher delivers on her promises … And all in an easy-to-read style, packed with plenty of real-life examples that any reasonably intelligent teenager can understand.
The book’s first five chapters concern themselves with the introduction of a rational and simply-stated view of “Why,” i.e., of cause-and-effect — and rightly so, given the relevance of those “Whys” to our choices and actions.
Not willing to just stop there, however, Speicher moves on through the following chapters to employ those “Whys” lessons as the foundation for a host of excellent methods and ideas that would not be possible in their absence. For example:
■ Do you understand the way in which your mind stores information, and can you successfully retrieve it and apply it when needed? You’ll find those answers in “Data Mining.”
■ Are you aware of how your emotions operate and what they are telling you, hundreds of times a day, about the events in your life? If not, you’ll find “WHYS Emotions” quite useful.
■ Do you know how to set objectives that make sense for you and your values — and then complete them? “Achieving Goals” will give you what you need to tackle them all and bring them about.
■ Is it hard to deal with your issues, whether they be personal, financial or social? If so, “Solving Problems” will give you the tools to break them down and get them handled.
■ Have you ever wondered how to: Be more creative? Teach or learn successfully? Properly handle, without being taken in by, “experts” and “advisors”? Persuade people? Raise a happy and independent child? All that and more are covered in subsequent chapters as well.
And, finally, speaking of “happiness,” that often-elusive emotional state most of us seek: As Speicher puts it in her chapter on “The WHYS and Happy Life”:
“If your ultimate purpose in life is to be happy, pay attention to what you want, identify and reality-test your desires and purposes, identify the characteristics of the things you’ll use as you make step-by-step plans to achieve your goals, deal with and overcome problems as they arise, and measure your progress as you keep moving closer and closer to what you want.”
Without those “Whys,” we drift as victims of circumstance, helpless playthings at the mercy of forces beyond our control. WITH them, things make sense, we can plan and reach our goals, and happiness itself is in our reach.
But don’t take my word for it, Dear Reader: Buy the book now and read it for yourself, for I strongly doubt you’ll find such a low-cost investment with such magnificent returns anywhere else.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on May 14, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.