Updated: Dec 26, 2020
Have you ever heard of the concept of "why" when it comes to motivation and success? If you haven't, I'm excited to share. I sincerely believe this tiny, common word will change your life. If you've heard of this before but don't know what it means or how it can work for you, I hope to explain that by the end of today's article.
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Your why is your reason for wanting the desired outcome, and it can drive you forward during tough times like nothing else can. Join me to learn how to find your why and how you can use it as motivation to overcome anything.
About Your Why
The idea of your why is common to career and personal development, but it can be used in many circumstances. It's particularly helpful during times of uncertainty, transition, or crisis because it helps you gain focus and clarity regarding your purpose and direction. Your why is the profound, meaningful impetus for your goals. It shouldn't be superficial, and it should always be personal. Let's consider an example. If you should find yourself unemployed, finding a new job can be a time-consuming, disheartening and exhausting task. It's easy to find yourself falling into despair, perhaps even depression. During such a time, your why can be used to push you along even when you feel like you can't keep trying. Your why should go further than, "I need money to live," although this is undoubtedly true. Let's explore ways to find and develop your why.
How to Find It
Using the above example, you would think that survival and needing a job to live would be sufficient reason to motivate you to keep trying to find work. Unfortunately, this vital message can get distorted or lost. It's too general and not personal enough. Everyone needs money to meet their basic needs. What is it you, in particular, desire concerning finding a job? Ask yourself some more in-depth questions to discover a more compelling reason to keep going even in the darkest moments. Take time to brainstorm and jot down some ideas to help guide you to your answer. One of the simplest ways I've learned to find my ultimate why is to keep asking myself, "Why?" each time I add a new incentive for my goal. You do need a job to make money to live. But why? Because you want to take care of your family, for instance. Okay, why? Because you feel it's your job to be a provider and that you have an obligation. Yes, but why is that? Because you want your loved ones to be proud of you, and you want to feel like a productive citizen. Keep going until you feel you've sufficiently reached your unique and underlying catalyst for wanting to find a job.
Use Your Why to Motivate You
Once you've determined that reason, take some time to write it down in a cohesive statement. From our job example, your why might be, "I want to find a new job to support my family. It's important that my loved ones know they can depend on me to take care of them. I feel like a productive citizen of the world with a meaningful contribution to give to society when I am gainfully employed." You may wish to create another why statement later that can help you determine the kind of work you hope to find and why such a position matters to you, and how it will make you feel to hold that job. However, for now, we'll stick to the basics. You can pull out this comprehensive why statement whenever you're feeling low or unmotivated when you think there's no reason to keep trying. Often, being reminded of the deeply personal intention behind your goal is what you need to try again.
This concept may seem rather simple, but I can tell you from personal experience that it's one of the most powerful motivators I've encountered in my pursuits. Try taking some time to create your own why statement and practice using it when things seem impossible. You may find this simple idea gets you through some pretty rough stuff, too.
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