“He who has a why can endure almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Why is it important to be successful? Why is it important to get a good job? Why is it important to find your purpose of your life? Why are you dating this girl? Why are you asking yourself “why’s” on these questions? Why are they important?
Asking “why” is the one of the most fundamental human instinct that we are born with. No matter what you do, how old you are and which cultural background are you from, you will have to ask a lot of questions that start with “why”.
When we were young, “why” is one of the most frequently used adverb in any questioning sentences. Eg. “Why do I need to dress up? Why do I have to go to school? Why do I need to be polite?, etc. According to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary, “why” is defined as “reason, cause”. Thus, without even referring to any study, we immediately know that knowing the cause or a reason for any action is vital for human being to stay alive. Without a purpose, we are nothing but a flesh with a dead mind.
In our last post on “Create Your Own Vision“, we have discussed about the importance of having a clear vision for what we want to do with our life. Yet, without a strong purpose to drive our vision to its realization, our vision are nothing but dreams or ideas that is and will never manifested. For us to generate the motivation and the drive to take action on our vision, we need a strong motive for our actions to be effective.
Inspired by John-Paul Flintoff‘s “How to Change the World (The School of Life)“, I am going to apply the mental exercise that he suggests on this self-discovery journey. He recommended us to ask ourselves every so often: “Why am I doing this?”
This simple exercise is extremely helpful for you to tap into our most fundamental purpose or reason to live as You. (Yes, I am talking to You and no one else. I am using the second person pronoun here to make sure that You are paying attention to this part of the article.) With this question in mind, we will naturally ask another fundamental question that is often daunting to many of us: “Who I am?” I am not trying to write this to raise an existential issue with your mind but you are going to do it either consciously or subconsciously.
If you want to have some authorship of your life, it is probably wise to put some effort and time on this matter. Some of us might find our talent or skills to be the core factor of determining who we are and some of us might contribute our identity based on relationship. If we use me as an example, one of the obvious answers to “Who Am I” question would be: “I am a writer, a blogger, a website editor, etc.” (Let us just use my identity in writing for MalaysianStudent.com) To dig in my ‘ultimate’ reason why I choose to own this identity, I would have to ask “Why”. Referring to John-Paul Flintoff and my identity as the example here, this exercise might go something like this:
What do I enjoy? Writing
Why? Because I feel that I can freely express myself with written words
Why? Because I enjoy having my thinking out “silent” while being read
Why? Because I want my thoughts, ideas, and perspectives to be inspiring
Why? Because I was inspired by written words myself
Why? Because knowing that the words I am writing are inspiring others to find out their passion and live their desired life fuels me and keeps me feeling alive!
This is just one of the exercises that you can do on any activities, events, relationships, or identities that have made you feel truly alive in the recent or distant past. With an opened mind, you might find more alternatives that you have never tried to be the answer. You just have to keep asking “Why”. And with this “Why”, I can promise that you will be fired up and motivated all the time to do whatever it takes to be successful on the actions that you have chosen to commit on.
And most importantly, 100% honesty is definitely the best policy. (And for those who have watched “Interstellar” by Christopher Nolan, you gotta give 100% to create a brand new world, if not for the whole humankind, at least, do it for yourself).
I hope this quick article has planted some seed of greatness in you or has rekindled the existing passion within you. With a modified quotation from the ‘Introduction: Why Start With Why‘ in “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek, I hereby leave you to keep asking the most intriguing word of English language no matter what you are up to: “WHY?”
“Great leaders, (or just common individuals), in contrast, are able to inspire people to act. Those who are able to inspire give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit to be gained.
Those who truly lead or able to create a following of people who act not because they are swayed, but because they were inspired. For those who are inspired, the motivation to act is deeply personal. They are less likely to be swayed by incentives. Those who are inspired are willing to pay a premium or endure inconvenience, even personal suffering. Those who are able to inspire will create an act for the good of the whole not because thy have to, but because they want to.”
~ Simon Sinek
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