One picture is better than thousands of words, and one short and punchy video is better than 1,000 pictures. So watch this video of Michael Jr. where he not only explains, but demonstrates what a difference it makes having your “why.”
I hope now you are convinced about the importance of motivation that stands behind your actions. Unfortunately, theoretical knowledge is not enough. You must discover this burning desire of yours and actually use it to make a difference.
The three biggest mistakes I discovered in that regard are:
People simply don’t look for their “why” because they have no idea how impactful that can be. They mistakenly think that life with “why” and without it is approximately the same.
They don’t have appropriate role models in their social surroundings to prove them wrong. If they see someone famous or successful that is very driven, they attribute this to success and fame, and they never, ever would’ve thought they could possess a similar driving force.
2. Low Self-Esteem.
Very often, people don’t look for their own “why” because they don’t believe they are capable of acting with such power.
“I’m not someone special.”
“I don’t know what really motivates me.”
“I’m too shy to act so boldly.”
In the end, all such excuses come down to “I’m not good enough,” which is a sure sign of a low self-esteem. Those folks simply don’t look for their “why” because they don’t believe in themselves or that they could be of any service. They are low creatures, so why even bother to look for their “why?” There cannot be something powerful enough to morph them from cocoons into butterflies!
However, low self-esteem is learned and reversible. No child is born with low self-esteem. And when you really must do something, suddenly your self-esteem stops being an obstacle. If your spouse or kid is mortally sick or wounded, you don’t sit and tell yourself that you are not good enough to help them. You take bold action and don’t even think about your self-worth in such situations!
In fact, low self-esteem is a deceit of your subconscious that keeps you in a dormant state. If you knock off every single chance of changing your life without even trying, do you know how simple you make the life of your subconscious? You spend your time in your semi-hibernation state, and you don’t exercise even an ounce of energy into improving your life or changing it.
And your brain is just fine with it. Changing one’s life is a tedious process, and very tiresome. Waking up early, working on your own projects on the side, staying up late, learning new skills, meeting new people or developing new habits – this is all so much energy! It’s much easier to say to yourself that you are not good enough and keep sitting on your hands.
3. Downplaying Your “Why.”
Yesterday, we grilled our mastermind partner on a call. He was hesitant about mingling his daughter’s story into his speeches. We all told him, unanimously, that he absolutely must do that. We’ve seen how he lit himself up whenever he talked about her, how passion crept into his voice, and how all his body posture had shifted.
His daughter was his “why” and, in the same matter the singer from Junior’s video sang much better with his why, in the same matter Jared better delivers his talks when he is animated by his daughter’s story.
But he came up with bizarre stories of why he shouldn’t do that! He said that people would not be interested. We said that it is to the contrary – using his daughter’s story sparks attention like nothing else.
He said it would not be relevant to the subject. And then he provided like a dozen examples of how he can weave her story into practically any topic he covers. We only rolled our eyes in exasperation.
Then we talked about how he presents his story when people ask him how he has gotten into what he is doing. It all started from his daughter having only a 60% chance of survival before she was even born, but he talks about how he has worked with millennials for the last decade, blah, blah, blah… Bo-ring!
On the other hand, telling a full story of his daughter attracts attention like a powerful magnet.
At that moment, I realized I repeat his mistake to the T. When I talk about my transformation, I start from reading “The Slight Edge“ and how I established my small habits and they made a difference… Bo-ring!
I should have talked about how miserable and frustrated I was with my life. How I couldn’t see a way out and had no goal, aim or sense of meaning in my life. This is where people are nodding in consent. Who among us was not living a life of quiet desperation at one time or another?
I don’t even want to dwell on reasons behind playing your “why” down (false modesty, low self-esteem again, thinking in terms of your ego instead of value provided to others…). The point is: DON’T do that. You are doing yourself and people you interact with a gross disservice.
When you are moved by a powerful “why,” you are at your best. You inspire others to take action and change their lives. When you try to provide the list of credentials, you only bore them to death. You don’t want to be a murderer, do you?
How Do You Find Your WHY?
In the question above lies the answer. You have to search for it. It won’t materialize itself in front of you. Experiencing a sudden enlightenment that will clarify everything in your life is possible, but unlikely, like winning the main prize in the lottery. It’s not wise to bet your whole life on it, is it?
Enlightenment-like “why” doesn’t need search. It’s obvious and, from what we can conclude from the stories of people inspired this way, it is so strong that it’s enough for the rest of one’s life. Once you find it, you need only to follow it.
Search and You Will Find
But for the overwhelming majority, finding a personal “why” is a matter of work. First, you should know yourself better. I encourage you to habitualize self-analysis. Meditation is a great start. It will make you more aware about your internal states and thinking patterns.
In my experience, the real game-changer is journaling. Every morning, I ask myself one question about my life and give myself about 10-15 minutes to answer it to the best of my abilities. This practice gave me the same level of self-awareness that meditation provides and, obviously, a lot of answers about myself.
I discovered my fears, reasons of procrastination, ways to be more effective, things I could do on a daily basis to improve my marriage or relations with my kids, my dreams and goals and what I could do on a daily basis to inch closer to them… and my “why.”
The first step of getting to know yourself is necessary. Your “why” must be intimately yours to fill what you do with power. If you don’t know yourself enough, you can succumb to someone else’s “why” that sounds popular, worthy or cool. This is a recipe for disaster. You won’t be at your best. Your enthusiasm will be forced, false. People will feel that. Deep down in your heart, you will feel that.
Narrowing down your “why” is an iterative process.
When I had been starting my transformation over 5 years ago, my life was dull. I had no authentic goals nor perspectives. I verily thought that my life would be looking the same for the next few decades, and this thought depressed me to no end. I needed something new and big. During a few weeks of intensive self-analysis I found, to my surprise, that I wanted to be a writer.
That was exciting. That was different. And it was a chance to change the direction of my life. I wanted to be a writer. This “why” pushed me through months of learning the craft and daily writing, through months when my books were selling only a hundred or couple hundred copies, through slow months that came after months of success, which was incredibly frustrating.
This “why” wasn’t dull or false. I experienced that my writing can have exactly the kind of impact I craved. I can affect people’s lives through space and time. Readers all over the world benefitted from my books and articles. Quite often, they found my piece months or years after I published it, and it made a huge impact on them.
However, just being a writer is no longer enough for me. Contrary to appearances, writing books is one of the lowest paid jobs in the world. I broke into the top #15,000 best-earning authors in the world, but it took me years of hard work that brought me to the brink of burnout more times that I care to count.
And I still earn less than $30,000 a year from my royalties. It’s a nice side income, but hardly something you could afford to support a family from. I spent my whole time writing, editing and chasing more marketing venues.
Now, I have a different “why,” and writing is the wrong vehicle to get there. I want to help people. I want to better the fate of the sick, tormented, hungry and poor. I don’t write romances or science fiction, so I would never be able to earn enough to fulfill this need of my heart via writing alone.
To find your “why” start looking for it inside your heart, not in the outside world. Habitualize self-knowledge. Be bold in your search. No one else will see your personal notes or come into your head and make fun of your lofty motivations. Do it for yourself.
Be prepared for change. Your “why” will grow as you grow.