"When your why is strong enough, the how doesn't matter." Anonymous
We are often told to "FIND" a stronger WHY and that when we connect with it, the how will figure itself out.
Although I agree with this to some degree, for the most part, I find myself asking a different series of questions that help me dive deeper into the motivation behind the WHY.
Motivation is something that can either be internally sourced, or externally influenced. The external influence requires controlling most things outside of our scope and can often be short lived. Another downside to it, is that we cannot be fully sure of how long the external motivator will be present and effective for.
When we look at inner sources of motivation, these are truly much more within our own personal control and agency. These have to do with your personal beliefs or values and commitments. They can also be promises that we make to ourselves.
Now, both are important sources of motivation and the ideal and most OPTIMAL situation is to learn to use and trigger both, where one sparks the other and helps sustain the other.
However, I tend to ask myself, why do I follow through with excellence and diligence on some things and then allow myself to become distracted and give half-hearted efforts on other "why's."
As I dug further into my own personal experiences, asked several friends, and dug into the research behind motivation, I was able to understand why motivation fluctuates and identify the reason most people's WHY loses its power.
Since very early on in human development, we started off as hunter-gatherers. Survival was of utmost importance. We also had to protect what was ours and what we worked so hard to attain.
There was no choice, it was either be the PREDATOR or be the PREY. As we evolved, we learned that by working closer together and in community, we increased our chances of survival and also improved our defenses against attack.
Using this basic understanding of human evolution and behavior, there are two major things that stand out:
1. We protect and defend with our life, what is ours
2. We create communities to preserve and persevere.
The PROBLEM with most people's lack of motivation to their WHY, is the common advice to "FIND YOUR WHY."
When we seek to find our why, we don't personally carry it or own it. It isn't necessarily ours yet, and since it isn't within our immediate possession, we won't do the two things mentioned above - we won't protect or defend it with our life and we won't create supporting communities or structures to preserve it and persevere with it.
The SOLUTION then is to CREATE YOUR WHY!!
By creating your why, you own it and mold it from the start. You play with different curiosities that then become your WHY and you discover new ways to improve it and protect it better.
When we own it, when we realize its importance to our existence and sense of well being and survival, our very existence, we then move along to create supporting environments, both internal and external, that nourish and fuel the why.
As our WHY grows stronger through our active involvement of creating it and deepening it, we increase our motivation and sense of commitment and belonging to it.
We deepen our conviction to see it through from start to end because human behavior and psychology teaches us that we protect, defend and create supporting structures to whatever we create.
So next time you find yourself disconnecting or disconnected from your why, or you feel lost in the quest of "finding your why," just pause and stop seeking something that you must create on your own based on current curiosities, play, wonder and interests.
Understand that motivation increases when there is something at stake that is tied to our personal commitments, our sense of accomplishment and our sense of direction and certainty. As you create your why don't forget that by creating your why, you become a co-creator with your why and will do everything in your power to bring it to life because you have been a part of it from the start. Not just in the middle or end and as something you just happened to bump it.
Create your why and shape it, connect with it, sit with it, immerse yourself in it and fuel it by making it something that is connected to who you are and who you want to be.
Take control of your life by beginning to take control of your why. Great things don't just happen, you don't just find them. Be conscious and believe in your WHY so much that you understand its importance to your sense of fulfillment, to your being, and to your contribution to this wonderful and beautiful life, in this world that we are a part of.
You can either leave your life's greatest purpose, your WHY, to chance and random acts, or you can CREATE IT and know that what you do matters.
Thank you for reading and I hope that next time you find yourself looking for your why, you stop and think, you raise your level of awareness to knowing that you already have it within you and that all you must do is begin to become an active participant in creating it and shaping it.