Find Your Why

Cory Mazure | 21 Feb, 2023

All through our life, we are told by others what we should do

  • You should exercise
  • You should go to college
  • You should get a job 

Many of us accept what we are told simply because that is what everyone else does. 

  • We go to the gym, but give up after 2 weeks because it feels “boring” 
  • We go to college, but do not know what we want to study, and eventually drop out 
  • We apply for jobs without considering what impact we will have, and end up hating our careers 

As we follow down this path that others have laid for us, it is easy to lose motivation. Simply knowing what we should do is not enough, we must know why we should do it.

  • You should go to the gym because it brings you energy and self confidence to perform in the rest of your life 
  • You should go to college to expand upon your curiosities and narrow down career choices
  • You should apply to jobs with the intention to creation something that aids the progression of humanity 

When you understand why you are doing what you have been told to do, motivating yourself to do it becomes a lot easier. 

If you fail to think critically and ask why, you will find yourself drifting aimlessly through life, ready to accept whatever conditions other throw at you. You will suffer from a lack of motivation to accomplish any more than the bare minimum. Worst of all, you will continue to participate in systems which prevent the self expression of others, and doom them to the same fate as your own. 

But it does not have to be this way. Despite the suboptimal conditions of the world around us, we can still strive to become better. We can tap back into our childlike curiosity about the world, and pursue activities that hold a higher purpose. We can work towards the formation of a vision, and make the world around us a better place as a result of that pursuit. 

It all starts by getting clear on our “why.” 

  • Why are you doing what you are doing? 
  • What is the purpose behind your actions? 
  • What end result are you working towards? 

Through this article, I am going to take you through the importance of having a “why,” how not all “whys” are made equal, some examples of leaders with phenomenal “whys” and what you can do today to gain clarity on yours.

This article is for the individual who is fed up with the world around them. Who sees suffering everywhere they look, and is discouraged. Who knows they are meant for something greater, but are struggling to motivate themselves into specific action. This is for anyone who desires to express a greater version of themselves. 

You Need a Why

This point is not debatable. If you find yourself trying to debate it, recognize that as your ego acting up and trying to pull you back into comfort. 

A why is a necessity for a human's existence. 

There simply must be something you are aiming at. Our biological system would not exist if it was not trying to accomplish something. Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, you do have a why. Every action you take serves a cause. It might be difficult to accept this, but it can be no other way. 

If you are not consciously aware of the intention behind your action, that means you are unconscious and aimlessly drifting. You subconsciously have a why, but consciously are ignorant to that motive. This leads to your future being dictated by matters outside of your conscious perception. Some people ignore the simple fact that all actions are premeditated and choose to leave their life up to “fate.” But there is no “fate”. 

The only thing these people are right about is giving up control, which does not guarantee a positive outcome as so many people would lead you to believe. Far from it actually. There are many people and institutions that would gladly have you give up control and defer judgment to them, as they can profit off your incompetence. When you deflect the responsibility to define a reason behind your actions, you are giving up control of your future. Simple as that. Defining your why is difficult, that is why so many people choose not to. It is far easier to ignore these pressing questions, and leave it up to “fate.” Every day you fail to define your purpose is another day in which you are letting the world condition your subconscious into an expression of whatever it sees best for you, which is rarely in your own best interest. 

Not All Whys Are Made Equal

The core point I want to leave you with is that you will always be driven by a why, but it is up to you to make your drivers more conscious. As you question what you are working towards and why that is important, you will be able to understand if that is even worth doing. Many of the reasons why we act are foolish and perpetuate human suffering. You can be motivated by a good why, or a bad one, and it is going to be your job to define these for yourself. 

Let's talk through an example in case you are not able to follow along with these abstract ideas. Jimmy has been told he should get a job, and so he does. He is working as a cashier at Lowes. How did he get the job you may ask? Well, Jimmy did not exercise any critical thought in this decision. He knew he had to pay the bills, and saw a help wanted sign outside when he was shopping for a new gardening hose. Now Jimmy has been working at Lowes for 6 months. He accomplished the goal that society told him, which was to get a job to pay the bills. But the problem is, Jimmy is not very fulfilled by his job. You see, he is quite bored most of the day, and hates his boss. His work environment is so toxic that he comes home in a bad mood. Jimmy is not self aware enough to recognize the cause for this bad mood, but he does know that alcohol suppresses it, so he forms a bad habit of drinking. The drinking makes Jimmy feel better at night, but in the morning he is miserable. He wakes up exhausted, but still finds himself at work on time. He is low energy, and can barely motivate himself to do more than the bare minimum expected of him. His boss recognizes this, and when it comes time to promote internally, quickly disregards Jimmy as an option. Now it has been 1 year, and Jimmy is still a cashier. He has nothing in his life that he is working towards accomplishing. He has accomplished what society has told him to be important, which is to make money. Jimmy thinks it would be nice to make more money, but his base needs are met and is comfortable with his position. If Jimmy does not have a reason why he should work harder, why would he? 

The unfortunate truth of the modern day is that many people are in Jimmys situation. They deflect responsibility for the conditions of their life and are motivated by what society tells them to be important. They lack fulfillment from their jobs, and suppress their problems with short term pleasures like drinking and smoking. These short term pleasures induce feelings of comfort, and acceptance of their conditions. It does not have to be this way for Jimmy, or anyone else for that matter.

Jimmy was shopping at Lowes for a new gardening hose. He loves gardening and was in the process of building a new garden outside his home. When Jimmy was looking for a new job and was at Lowes, he could have thought of how this new job could enhance his love for gardening. There could have been a larger reason why he was getting the job, than to simply make money. By thinking critically and connecting the dots right in front of him, he could have developed a plan to start in an entry level position and then work his way into the gardening section of the store as a sales representative. By having the intention to get promoted, Jimmy would be far more motivated at work. There would be a larger reason why he should perform at his job than to simply make money, as society has told him is so important. If he applied the critical thought to see that a core skill to a sales representative is personability, he could practice this in each interaction as a cashier. As Jimmy works towards the goal he has intentionally defined for himself, he is constantly reminded of why he is doing it, and how that is important to him. After 1 year's time, Jimmy certainty would retrieve a promotion, as he was motivated to retrieve it and aligned his actions with that intention. 

Through this example, hopefully you can see how your life can be dramatically altered simply through asking yourself what you are working towards, and why that matters to you. Being conscious of what you are working towards unlocks the best expression of yourself as it fills up your motivation fuel tank. 

Whys To Be Inspired By

You may not fully relate to our imaginary story about Jimmy, and that is okay. To ground you in reality, we have found 3 examples of individuals who are widely respected for their abilities to define a vision for the future, and persevere through adversity. 

MLK Jr. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was a baptist minister who was curious about theology, receiving a doctorate degree on the subject. Through his time as a minister, he became passionate about public speaking, and quickly built it into a strong skill of his. He used this passion to to be a part of a larger purpose, serving others through the civil rights movement. In 1963, he made history with his “I have a dream” speech, displaying his curiosity for what a world with equal rights would look like, motivating many others to follow in his path of serving a purpose greater than themselves.

Viktor Frankl

Curiosity about the psyche in his youth led Viktor Frankl down the path to develop the passions required to become one of the world's leading psychiatrists, philosophers, and neurologists. In early adulthood, he founded a revolutionary school of psychotherapy called logotherapy. Logotherapy rehabilitates patients by emphasizing that a “why” or meaning is the central human motivational force. His personal “why” was helping people find theirs. Viktor Frankl

was a Holocaust survivor, and even amid the worst conditions imaginable, his passion was to help others on their journey to find purpose and make their life worth living.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is one of the brightest minds of our generation, leading several of the top engineering

companies across the U.S. In his youth, his curiosity led him down a path of learning everything he could get his hands on. He quickly became passionate about learning, and wanted to apply his knowledge to the purpose of solving the largest problems that the world faces. Elon Musk is now the world's wealthiest man, and dedicates his time to learning more about how he can further improve his companies to best serve the purpose of sustainability on earth, and the expansion of human consciousness across the galaxy.

As you can see through these 3 great leaders, they are all driven by a powerful why. They had visions for the future and consciously pursued them. They did not always know what impact they wanted to have, but through the intention to serve others, gained clarity along the way. There are many more examples of leaders to get inspired by, but they all share the same core message of being driven by a strong why. 

Act Today

I trust now you understand how crucially important it is to exercise more self awareness over your motives for action. By defining a why statement for your life, you can propel yourself towards fulfillment and generate a more meaningful existence for everyone in your presence. If you believe this to be true, you are probably wondering what it is you can do to define this why statement more concretely? 

It may seem like something abstract, and certainly requires a lot of critical thought to do properly. You can learn a lot from the stories of those we laid out in this article, but for those who want practical tips, we have you covered. The team at Pscyence has spent countless hours discussing how we came to the formation of our why, and have laid out guided journaling prompts for you to follow. We have laid them out concisely in a free PDF, which you can download with this link. 

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