Here’s an example:
Imagine your critical friend is asking you about your training session or programme.
They first ask you a simple “So why are you doing bench press, squats and deadlifts in that programme? You answer it very simply something along the lines of “so that we build serious strength”.
Your friend then asks “why is serious strength important?”
You then answer “ because the guys in men’s health said so”
Of course your real answer would be more like…..“Because strength allows us to be more efficient in everything we do and makes us more resilient to injuries and able to perform and move better”.
Okay good answer. But now for the real test.
Your friend hits you with a third degree of why.
They ask really simply, “okay so why does it make you more efficient and resilient and more able to perform and move better?”
And of course you answer with words to the effect of…“well….how long have you got? An increased ability to produce force means that every step you take is a lower relative effort for your body. Not only that but you have a higher overall strength level meaning that if you need to perform movements requiring high force production or explosive power in your sport or life you are more able to do so.
In addition to that an improved sychnronisation of motor unit recruitment is enhancing your co-ordination and overall stability.
Finally, in terms of injuries you’ll be better placed to withstand them as when that stress occurs it takes you less relative force to resist the trauma be it repetitive stress or contact based.
With all that said, there’s more to a strength programme than bench press, squat and deadlift but that’s for another conversation.”
You take a deep breath…(implying you need some endurance in your programme too)
“Does that answer your question?” You ask your friend…
And they reply….”Errrr…I think so!”
You take a bow.
And that is it.
The three degrees of why is your process to learn whether you have deep knowledge in your subject.
Test it out with your colleagues.
Try different areas. It might be strength and conditioning, it might be speed and agility. It may be marketing, finance or strategy. Whatever works.
Of course you don’t usually have to do to the third degree but it’s important that you can, for your own competence and confidence.
This is the process we go through in our Level 4 strength and conditioning course with our students. Imagine the confidence and capability that unlocks when you can get to the three degrees in those key areas relevant to your success.
Of course knowledge is one thing, applying that knowledge is quite another. The topic for another article possibly.