Updated: Oct 31, 2019
These days, discovering your essential purpose is called your “why.” Most success and dream-planning experts tell their followers to have a solid why for what they want to do. They promise that a good enough ‘why’ will keep you going when the going gets tough. And it will.
Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing is a great idea. Essential, in fact.
So, yes, I’m a proponent of why.
My variation on the theme is simply that one ‘why’ is not enough. There can be a lot of reasons to do Different, and all of them can motivate you to keep going.
But do you really know exactly what your why’s are?
I found that the statements about why to do something follow naturally from asking why questions.
Here are some of the ones I thought about many, many times before launching fully into Different:
1. Why should someone have to tell me exactly when I have to work now that I’m an adult and know when my work needs to be done?
2. Why shouldn’t I have the flexibility to decide what I do from day to day—including taking trips when I want to—just like we do with our children, since we homeschool them?
3. Why does it make sense to work so much and get only two weeks off each year?
4. Why should I have to live in a neighborhood where I see dozens of houses, people, and cars around me all the time when there are places I could live that give me solitude, peace, and serenity?
5. Why should I work most of my best hours every day and give my family the leftovers?
6. Why should I have to go away from home to work, leaving my children with no idea “what Daddy does” for a living?
Reflecting on those questions led me to my why’s.
Here are the why statements they produced:
1. I want to hold myself accountable for my work and receive the direct results of what I do.
2. I want to be free to decide when it’s more important for me to take time off of work for other things.
3. I want to be at liberty to travel with my family—especially during the “off season”—as much as my work and income constraints allow.
4. I want to live in the country and have land around me, not so many other people.
5. I want to integrate my work life with my family life so as to participate in meaningful activities like helping to school my children.
6. I want to work from home, so my children grow up knowing what I do to support the family.
As I’ve said elsewhere, your dreams—and the why’s they require—may well be different than mine. It’s also likely that we share some in common.
Either way, I suggest you become aware of the why questions rumbling in your mind and heart. You may not even realize you’re asking them, but once you get in touch with the questions, write them down. Then answer each with a why statement.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll have every purpose you need for doing Different.