Start With Why

I’m using the title of a book by Simon Sinek. A book I highly recommend by the way, as well as his TedTalk on the subject. He uses it to talk about getting people to buy in to leadership and culture by providing a reason for “why we do what we do”. It’s interesting because in a way we all often do things ourselves without stopping to ask “why am I doing this? We follow routines, habits, patterns and trends without thinking about it. We like and dislike certain people, places or things without stopping to ask why that is. Do we really think that or is there something deeper behind it? I’m not saying we should all stop and go Sigmund Freud on ourselves but maybe stopping once a week to have a think:

  • what have I done and not done? – and why was that?

If we don’t take time to think about it – it’s pretty easy to go through our weeks on autopilot or by following the crowd one way or the other. I know someone that will nearly always disagree with something. Even if they probably do really agree with what you’re saying. It’s almost as if they like debate so much they’ll do a full 180 degree turn in a conversation. There are people that can’t stop looking at their phone or that have other vices and addictions and haven’t even realised they have them.

So for me – starting with why as an individual – has to come down to “why do I do the things I do?” – what’s my reason. It isn’t just about being negative – it could be positive – “I exercise because it’s beneficial to my health, fitness and self-confidence” etc. If we never stop to take the time to look at what we’re doing and think about the underlying reasons we’re a bit like a boat without a paddle. If you know why you do something – you can continue to utilise the positive traits and habits and look to identify where you need to change for the negative behaviours. It’s easy to look at others – they’re in front of us – it’s much harder to hold a mirror up to ourselves and start to analyse. It’s difficult to be objective with ourselves which is why we can usually offer good advice to friends and then fail to follow that same advice in our own lives. We’re dealing with emotion. But if you want results and you want impactful change – then you have to stop and say “why?”

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