“Find your why and you’ll find your way.”
– John C. Maxwell
“What is your why? Why did you even get out of the bed this morning? Why did you eat what you ate? Why did you wear what you wore? Why did you come here?” These are the questions Howard Inlet, the character played by Will Smith, asks his employees at the beginning of the movie “Collateral Beauty.”
Should you be asked the same questions, would you be able to answer unequivocally? Do you have definite answers, at least, to the first two questions? If your answer is yes, good for you. Way to go! I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually you’ll succeed in your personal and professional pursuits, or you might have already done it. But if your answer is no, I would suggest you do some soul searching because seemingly you have been cruising through life aimlessly. It is very likely that you don’t know your purpose. You may not be living your life purposely.
Purpose is a powerful driving force in our quest for a better self and a better life. Purpose is the reason why we do what we do and why we exist. They help us have a meaningful existence. Thus, we should strive hard to know (or establish) our purpose and be driven by it. We need to live life purposely.
The question is how. How to live life purposely?
Simon Sinek gave the following suggestion – “Start with why” (which is also the title of probably the most popular among the books he has written). Although the said book focuses on organization and leadership and how having a WHY helps the leader succeed in bringing success to the organization, the WHY principles that Sinek articulated apply to individuals as well. He (Sinek) said that your WHY is your purpose, cause, or belief.
It’s not only organizations and leaders who should have (and be very clear with their) WHYs. Every person should have them, whether or not they belong to an organization, whether or not they are leaders. Each individual needs to determine and establish their purpose, cause, and belief. It’s not only organizations and leaders who should know why they do what they do and why they exist.. Each of us should also have a clear understanding of these things.
Two of Howard Inlet’s questions – “Why did you eat what you ate?” and “Why did you wear what you wore?” – may, at first glance, be considered inconsequential. But as one of the owners of that advertising company in the movie, Inlet wants to drive home a very important point – that every member of that organization should be aware of the reasons why they do what they do.
This is one thing we ought to be doing even in a personal level also. We ought to be asking ourselves why we do what we do.
I presume (and I hope my presumption is right) that you have set goals in the different areas of life – family and relationships, career and business, personal growth and development, and fun and recreation. The foregoing is how I subdivided my life into areas. It is possible that you may have subdivided your life differently from the way I did. But one thing for sure, just like me, you have goals in the different aspects of your life no matter how you may have structured it. Those goals are the manifestations of your purpose or purposes in life, causes you defend and advocate, and the beliefs you hold dear.
The answer to the question “Why did you even get out of the bed this morning?” should be as simple as – to pursue the goals you set in the different areas of your life. Right?
But how many out of 10 people set goals? How many do live a life driven by a definite purpose? That may be difficult to answer. The one thing I noticed though about estimates on how many percent of people in a particular country succeeded in their chosen endeavors and fields of expertise is that none of the statistics went above 10%. Actually, majority of the articles I read on the topic claimed it’s only 2% to 5%. So, if goals correlate to success, given all the aforementioned numbers, is it safe to assume that approximately only 1 out of 10 people set goals?
Granting that my estimation is accurate, only 1 out 10 people know their purpose, cause, and belief. The great majority of human beings wake up in the morning not knowing what are they going to do and where are they headed to. I hope that you’re not one of them.
And those questions that I said earlier are seemingly inconsequential are necessary questions to ask to remind you that even the simplest things you do everyday should contribute to the attainment of your big goals.
Purpose-driven people constantly ask themselves this question – what consequences do my words, actions, and thoughts bear on the goals that I set.
Bear this in mind all the time – that your WHY is your north star. It gives you a sense of direction. Not having a clear purpose is like looking for something that you don’t know. You’ll never find it. It is like walking aimlessly not knowing where to go. It’s living life randomly, not purposely.
When you finally decide to take control of your life and chart your own destiny, the first order of business should be knowing your WHYs upon which you will anchor the goals that you will set.