WHY Matters

For many years, I thought that WHAT you do is all that matters when it comes to living a life with purpose. But that cannot be further from the truth. Although at the end of the day WHAT you do is what people can see, WHY you do it is what inspires people, and in many cases makes people see you as a leader.

I have always been strongly against socialism and always embraced the ideology of a free market. Nobody really owes you anything in life, so in order to be able to succeed in life, the only way would be for you to have to provide things that are valuable to a target market. But what you do is not the entirety that matters when it comes to if people want to use your services.

A couple of months back I came across a book titled Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. The book basically keeps driving this point, that people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. Here is a paragraph from the first chapter of the book:

Every instruction we give, every course of action we set, every result we desire, starts with the same thing: a decision. There are those who decide to manipulate the door to fit it to achieve the desired result and there are those who start from somewhere very different. Though both courses of action may yield similar short-term results, it is what we can’t see that makes long-term success more predictable for only one. The one that understood why the doors need to fit by design and not by default.

For those who haven’t read the book, the reference to the door here is about the visit by an American car manufacturing executive to a Japanese car manufacturing plant. In car manufacturing plants in United States, there would be a line worker at the end of the line, who would take a rubber mallet and tap the edges of the door to ensure that it fit perfectly. In Japan, that job didn’t seem to exist. When asked how they ensured that the door fit properly, the Japanese guide says “We make sure it fits when we design it”. Rather than examining the problem and coming up with a solution, they instead went back to the drawing board where the decision was made in the design process, and changed that, in order to achieve the desired outcome.

The main takeaway that I see from this is that, it is so much easier to achieve a desired outcome from a work when start with the right intentions. When you do not have the right intentions, then you cannot assume that the outcome is going to automatically come in your favors, but instead have to rely on effective short-term tactics. The power is in the roots, so we gotta make sure that the roots are right.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Galatians 6:7 (The Bible)

I believe from the time we are born, our biggest goal in life is to create our WHY. Note here that I am not saying that you have to find your WHY, but instead that you have to create your WHY.

What is that WHY that makes me willing to make sacrifices and go through trials and persecutions? What is that WHY that makes me to get up from bed every single day? And what is that WHY that I am willing to die for?

The good news is you can always go back to the roots and change it. Yeah, that might cause some friction in some areas of your life, since your entire life is built on top of the decisions that was made by you considering your WHY back then. But at the end of the day, we all want to reach a point where we stand and say, “This is my purpose in life, and I am willing to die for this”.

Clarity comes when you trust a source that does not change with time, and has proven to be true through the ages.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 (The Bible)

“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

1 John 5:5 (The Bible)

So people. Rise up and create your WHY.

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