I’m currently halfway into a fantastic book by Simon Sinek, Start With Why, and I must say that’s its very thought provoking. His basic premise is that while most individuals and companies focus on and advertise WHAT and HOW they do something, there exists a few truly revolutionary leaders that start with and advertise WHY they do what they do. Sinek argues that by going deeper and discovering why we do something first, we as individuals or companies are setting ourselves up for the type of success that delivers loyalty from many others. It also allows for a possible movement for changing the status quo, in the case of Apple, or how we travel, in the case of the Wright Brothers. Or, even how we see our fellow man, in the case of Martin Luther King Jr. All of those examples had very strong reasons for doing what they did. While there were others equally or more qualified to do what they did, because these people and companies started with WHY, they were able to enact real change in the world. All of this has led me to examine why I do what I do. The answers, “make money”, “provide for family”, “get more customers” come to mind. Yet as I go deeper, I realize that is not why I do what I do.
My reasons, and I believe all our reasons for why we do what we do are the major determining factor in whether we succeed or not. My WHY is that I want people to realize that their biggest problems, their biggest adversities in life can be their greatest allies. My WHY is that I want to change the way people think about the world in relation to themselves. My WHY is that I want everyone to be able to transform their health, philosophy and well being at their will. I believe that if you have strong enough reasons for WHY you are doing something, you will do whatever it takes to follow through. So what happens if we take and apply this logic to other areas in life?
If we begin with WHY, it’s easy to see why so many people fail in their diets or training. “I want a flat stomach” is not a strong reason. A better reason: “I want an abundance of energy and vitality so I can play with my kids, love my partner and deliver value for those around me.” A flat stomach is a by-product of the work. Starting with WHY, it’s easy to see why so many Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs and their marriages. “I’m going to be with this person because I’m comfortable with them” is not a strong enough reason to stay with someone. The same goes for a job. Humans understand when something doesn’t “feel” right. Our gut tells us that we are capable of more and that we should be aspiring to get it and inspiring others along the way. Yet most don’t start with WHY and as a result end up very unhappy and unsatisfied. We go through our days meeting some of our needs for certainty and connection, but are not getting what we desire because we are not starting with WHY (purpose and reasons).
What is your WHY? What are your reasons for wanting what you want or doing what you do? For results with your physical body and health, your reasons must go beyond looks. Looks fade and the pursuit to maintain them is done in vain. Strength is a better reason. If you train for strength, the look you want will more likely appear. The reverse is not true. For lasting success start with WHY. Sinek’s book is really a must read if you want to further understand how some leaders inspire others to take action and some fail. If you want to better understand yourself and how your brain works, pick up a copy of Start With Why. Don’t forget the highlighter as well. You’re 50% more likely to retain knowledge if you are physically involved in the material, not just reading or watching passively. In fact, don’t be passive about anything in life. Be active. Everyday.