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Pasco Hernando College The Five Why Developing Self Confidence Discussion

The Five Why’s: Developing Self-Confidence

At times, it is difficult to get to the root cause of one’s personal issues. To aid in this process, think of an issue that needs to be resolved. State the issue in terms of its negative impact, e.g. when my best friend expresses an opinion with which I don’t agree, I never challenge her. Next, ask why you never challenge her. Repeat the process in the context of your response to each “Why” five times. An example is below.


When my best friend expresses an opinion with which I don’t agree, I never challenge it.

Why not? Because I am afraid to upset her.

Why are you afraid of the possibility of upsetting her? Because it can make people angry.

Why should that make you afraid? Because I remember an incident from the past when I upset someone, and the repercussions were immense.

Why should a bad experience from the past necessarily be a bad experience today? Because that’s the way things are.

Why are things that way? Because I make them that way by not being sufficiently self-confident to be assertive with people.

Does that make sense? No. By applying this process of deconstruction to unwanted issues, one can find the trigger for the issue. One can then build a new pathway in the brain for the new desired outcome and stop following the old pathway. Think of this as peeling away the layers of an onion.

Part 1

Complete this exercise with an issue of your own. Be sure to write out each question, as explained in the example above.

  1. Describe the issue.
  2. First Why and the outcome.
  3. Second Why and the outcome.
  4. Third Why and the outcome.
  5. Fourth Why and the outcome.
  6. Fifth Why and the outcome.

If this feels emotionally uncomfortable, is most likely the original trigger of the ultimate outcome has been met.

Part 2

Now describe the new positive pathway.

  1. When the “old trigger” arises, I will recognize it as…..
  2. And I will take the following action…..
  3. Write a minimum one-paragraph summary of how developing your Emotional Intelligence can affect how you will continue to develop your level of self-confidence. 


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