Pursue Why Instead of How

It is an honor to have Colonel Kevin Benson with me. Col. Benson is highly decorated. His military career spans 30 years, during which he was the Director of the School of Advanced Military Studies and has become an Adjunct Scholar at West Point. As impressive as his career has been, even more, impressive is the extreme wisdom and humility that guides him.

The poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling ends with a challenge to fill the “unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run”. Col. Benson took this challenge to heart, pursuing his Ph.D. as a means of filling that unforgiving minute.

It is important to take the opportunities we have been given and refuse to rest on our laurels, no matter how impressive. Like those who have gone before, it is our responsibility to challenge ourselves and give back. Passing on what we know to the younger generation helps them to succeed as well.

One of the best ways we can grow is to move beyond asking what or how questions. We need to be asking why. Asking why helps us to uncover the reasoning behind past decisions. When we can understand the context of the moment, we can understand the decision that was made and what the end goal was.

Past or present, we can always find the opportunity to learn from others. Embrace that you aren’t the smartest person in the room. Everyone can contribute, and you can learn from anyone and everyone if you set your mind to. A humble leader refuses to throw anything away but evaluates and takes in the ideas presented. The way we approach the minute sets the standard.


Red Teaming by Bryce Hoffman

Colonel Benson on Twitter

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Jody Maberry