“So why did you go bankrupt?” I asked my mentor-man.
“Because I was a drunk. But really, because I was greedy. I equated power with speed. I should have done half as much twice as well.”

Note to self: Slow down, your time is coming.

“Why did you partner with her?” I asked the mega-firm CEO.
“Because every time I brought an idea to her, she made it better without losing the spirit of my reasoning.
She consistently inspired me to be impeccable.”

Note to self: Partner with people who make you feel more like yourself. Seek the excellent ones.

“Why did you walk away?” I asked lonely dude at the cocktail party. “Because I was afraid of having what I wanted. I left too soon. I regret it.”

Note to self: Self-sabotage is a bitch. Stay the course. Open up to being truly satisfied.

It’s easy to find out what people are up to. But finding out why they’re up to it is where the wisdom and innovation are waiting. My mentors’ mistakes have saved me money and heartache. Knowing the reasoning that steered people’s failures and successes not only flattens my learning curve into a smooth highway, but it shakes up my thinking—and ideas begin to surface.

Forget restraint and shelve your fear, and endeavor to really know more about the person in front of you. Analyze motivations. Dig deeper. Why did you sell? Why did you change your mind? Why that price? Why now?

Asking Why is the most simple and powerful act of connecting that you can make. There is a lesson behind everyone’s motivations that can affirm your sensibility, shatter your beliefs, or spark your next Big Thing.