The Theory of WHY

“Life isn’t about asking How. Life is about knowing Why!”

WHY: it is a very important question. I in fact believe this is the mother of all questions in life. This is where every other question finds its origin as well as its answer too.

How far to go, what all to try, who all to involve, where all to look etc; have a bearing on the related Why. All the ‘when/where/who/ how’ are hugely impacted by the fact ‘why are you doing it’, why is it important to you.

I would like to see it in the simplified way as WHY being the EQ (Emotional Quotient) part of the equation where as every other question is from the IQ (Intellectual Quotient) part of the equation. As the saying goes, “A high IQ will get you through school, a high EQ will get you through life.” It’s commonly accepted knowledge that EQ is a better indicator and influencer of success in all walks of life. By this analogy, we would also agree that having a better grip on the why of the situation alleviates the chances of reaching a better solution.

Theory of WHY

I consider the WHY as the Intent behind any effort/initiative and everything else as the Mechanics involved. I believe that the Intent has a much bigger bearing on the success of the initiative than the Mechanics in place. As a matter of fact, I would like to point out that how far would we go to acquire/enhance or use the available skills/resources and the favorable conditions also depend on the importance of the initiative to us. I guess this is the thought where the saying If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” —Jim Rohn, came from.

Lack of understanding of the WHY of our very being, is the root of all the confusions and complications in our life, leading it towards a chaos and at times reversing the cycle of evolution itself. Lots of us are often found pursuing, climbing, running around and chasing more through our quest for power and control in cycles, without establishing the importance of why we are doing it. We seem to have lost sight of who we truly are and more importantly, why we are here.

To know the reason of doing anything we do is important even to define the final success criteria or the intermittent milestones of the initiative. Without this, to gauge the impact of any efforts would also not be possible.

This lack of understanding or many a times complete misunderstanding of the purpose, often becomes the reason for us to give-up or take shelter behind the curtain of excuses. Blame the circumstances, skills, resources, others, environment: socio-economic or otherwise and a plethora of elements including our fate and even God.

The argument, for knowing the reasons of whatever we do, in order to able to put our very best behind it is very strong. It doesn’t stop at just our actions but also applies to reason for our very being – our existence as well. Being aware of it gives us the opportunity to deliver our best through the consistent enthusiasm and zeal to overcome any obstacle on the way because I want to do it and I know exactly what I am doing.

The ‘Why’ ignites the way.

Once you know the Why, the efforts (or the way) become the inspired means of experiencing and living through your Why.

‘Why’, is the most pressing reason that inspires the action, not just in you, but also helps others to align with you. ‘Why’ is how you explain your purpose and the reason you exist and behave as you do. Sharing the passion behind your ‘Why’ is the most effective way to connect and appeal to the listener’s emotion center of the brain, that processes feelings such as trust and loyalty – as well as decision-making. Doing so successfully, is a very impactful way to communicate with my own inner self as well as others in a way that inspires to act.

Why = Passion + Purpose =~ Outcome

To attain extraordinary achievements, one needs the passion and drive to give that extra 1 percent that makes it all happen. Absence of the passion and drive houses the origin of all excuses that hinders one from going all out to achieve those goals.

Understanding of the WHY brings out the drive and the passion required for going that extra mile and achieving the goals, even under extraordinary circumstances. The passion for the goals, drive the madness in your action without being concerned about anything else but attaining your WHY. It sort of possesses you.

There are a plenty of examples highlighting this fact. Be it Elon Musk, who in his quest to achieve great heights in the business world, lived in rented house after selling his Co. for $ 165 USD, because he invested all that money in different businesses. Or be it the story of Dashrath Manjhi, who took on to chisel off a mountain using only a hammer and a chisel at his disposal after his wife could not reach the hospital in time and died. Both of these seem to be the stories of crazy individuals who were consumed by their passion to achieve their why. And the result of their craziness, Elon Musk today is the owner of many big companies like Tesla, Space X with networth of 19.7 Bn USD and Dashrath Manjhi carved out a 110 m long path deep through the mountain between his village and the city using just the hammer and a chisel.

Crazy, isn’t it? But you need to be crazy if you want to be different than everyone else. It is required to draw out the kind of dedication required. When you are so in love with your goals that every downfall, every obstacle instead of bringing you down, motivates you all more and drives you harder to overcome them all to get to your destination, You become unstoppable.

J K Rowling the richest author of all times, the wealthiest person on the planet Jeff Bezos, Thomas Edison finally getting it right to make the electric bulb after failing for more than 2000 times, Colnel Sanders starting KFC at a age of 65 despite being rejected thousands of time in his life till then, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or, are all testimonies of a never give up attitude derived from their Why. One thing they all had in common was the madness for pursuing their goals. Their hunger to make it happen, no matter what, kept them going. No matter how many times they failed, their reason got them back up and pushed them to keep trying until they achieved it and made history.

Theory of WHY

As A P J Abdul Kalam said, “Dreams are not those which come while we are sleeping, but dreams are those when you don’t sleep before fulfilling them.” Once you find that kind of a WHY, everything else sorts itself out. Procrastination and laziness disappears from your attitude, lack of skill leads to an endeavor for skill upgrading, focus never goes haywire, opportunities start showing up from within every challenging situation and you just steamroll everything that comes in your way to your destination.

While the Why is important to move forward

It also is a very powerful tool for re-engineering or troubleshooting purpose as well. I would like to refer to ‘The Theory of The 3 Whys created by Sakichi Toyoda in the early 1900s called the 5 Whys’. It is a very simple but a powerful way to get better answers. Asking the question “why?” three times could reveal a much deeper and more specific issue than the one first iterated. It could be very effective in vetting new projects and business ideas during the brain-storming stage with others or with my own brain.

So whether it is about how to do something or about figuring out if you must be doing it in the first place, the WHY, could help in both the scenarios. While knowing the SKILLs gives you the capability of doing something but you may not necessarily do it. Knowing the WHY to do something is what actually gets you to do it, even if you haven’t got the required capabilities. When it comes to Will vs. SKILL  or Intent vs. Mechanics, the later always proves to be a stronger motivation.

Passion and energy behind your efforts automatically gets amplified the moment you relate with the goal you are working towards. The focus shifts from the handicaps and the obstacles towards finding the possible solutions and workarounds.

A strong ‘WHY’ would not let to give up. It will keep pushing to go on irrespective of the circumstances, giving you the strength to stand up after every fall. The courage to try one more time after every failure comes from the passion for the goal and also encourages covering every gap in the capability or skill-set.

Know your why and you shall experience a different you, whether it be in terms of your attitude, energy, willingness, persistence or any other ingredient required in the recipe to succeed.

Harish Kumar.

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