Episode 39 - Your "Why" & Why You Don't Need One... Yet
Hear me out. You might not need your why right away even though it's helpful to keep you going.
So often we hear that we need to find our "why," put it everywhere, write it on mirrors and sticky notes and have it in front of our face all the time, but what if that's keeping you from doing something? Can you find your why later? YES. Yes, you can and the research says you should.
While having a "why" can be important because it can be the reason we trudge through the mud when the going gets tough, it's not everything in business, farming, or aspiring. Essentially, this “why” provides stability and direction in the chaos of life. It makes your grow by giving you the courage and resilience to endure tough challenges. For example, for many people, money is the result of our work, but it's our “why” that fuels our work. Money probably isn't your why, but the things you can do with that money that help you. Your why is the driving force behind why you want to redesign your lifestyle.
If your why is keeping you from doing something and keeping you soul searching instead of doing, maybe you don't need your why to start? Maybe you just need to start and your why will develop as you go.
Many business coaches and motivational speaker say that thinking, acting, and communicating from your why is what makes leaders and companies great, however the research is saying that people who struggle with a true why seek to figure out their deep purpose and mission before putting anything out into the world. Can you see how this can be problematic?
You don't get anything done. You just sit there searching for answers to large existential and philosophical questions until you have a why, then you feel like you can start moving forward.
Business is risky. Farming is risky. Heck, life is risky. This leads to a very understandable inclination to reduce the risk, further reinforced by business thought leaders who exhort us to make every effort to find our deep inner "why" to drive all else in our endeavours.
Finding our why also has hidden motivational implications. In looking at a meta-analysis of finding vs. developing passions, I came across an interesting point when it came to motivation. They looked at the idea that personal interests are relatively fixed (fixed theory) or developed (growth theory). Through various assessments and experiments, this meta-analysis found a few interesting things. First, they found that the fixed theory (that personal interests are fixed) decreases interest in areas outside of your existing interest; basically you don't like things you don't like.
To continue, these people were more likely to be motivated when they were passionate, but didn't consider or anticipate that they would come across any roadblocks or have any difficulties.
Moreover, when people who had this "I like what I like" mentality, they were found to have difficulty engaging in new interests - which lead them to put all of their eggs in one basket and then drop that basket when it became too difficult to carry.
Finally, soul searching, non-doing, people tend to come across as narcissistic, rather than lost. But, pursuit of authenticity is not merely a narcissistic endeavour, and is employed by individuals to work through fundamental existential questions.
Remember that episode about narcissism? If someone is seemingly narcissistic, perhaps instead, they're lost or are lacking confidence and trying to work through these existential questions.
If you're one of those and I'm speaking directly to you right now, I invite you to find and lean into your passions. Share them with your family, do them more, or share them with the world. Unabashedly be into YOU and your passions. Your why will come eventually.
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