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How to find my Personal Why

November 05, 20235 min read

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche

The Quest for Your 'Why': A Journey of Self-Discovery

Discovering the meaning behind your hustle

Embarking on the journey to discover your personal 'why' can be the most adventurous route to understanding yourself. It’s about digging deeper into your raison d'être—identifying the driving force behind your thoughts, actions, and dreams. Here's a structured map to navigate the terrains of your inner landscape and unearth your 'why'.

Begin with Reflection

Pause the hustle. Take a breath. Sit back with your favorite drink and let's talk about your spark—the 'why' of your everyday grind. What gets your heart racing? When does time fly by for you? Reflect on the times you’ve felt most alive; these are clues pointing you toward your 'why'.

Question Yourself Relentlessly

Get to the heart of the matter with the 'Five Whys' technique. It's straightforward—ask yourself 'why' repeatedly, like a curious child, until you drill down to your core motivation. It might take a few whys—or a bunch—but persistence pays off.

Daydream Your Ideal Day

Let your imagination run free and visualize your perfect day—no constraints, no reality checks. This isn't about fantasy; it's about painting a picture of what you truly desire. Your utopian day can shed light on what you value most.

Write Your Eulogy

It's slightly grim, but stick with us. Imagine the words you'd want to live on after you're gone. What achievements, impacts, or characteristics would you want echoed in the memories of others? This sobering thought experiment can help distill your true priorities.

Chat with Your Past Self

If you could mentor a younger version of yourself, what wisdom would you impart? What lessons have life taught you that resonate deeply? These insights can help carve out a path that aligns with your 'why'.

Play Detective

Notice when friends seek your counsel or when you are so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time. These instances are breadcrumbs leading you back to your 'why'.

Dream Without Boundaries

Compose a list of dreams undeterred by the fear of failure—or even embracing the possibility of failure. This isn't about success; it's about passion. Your most daring dreams can highlight your underlying 'why'.

Take Stock of Values

Identify your values and line them up. Which ones ignite a fire within you? These non-negotiables are pillars of your 'why'.

Experiment and Explore

Just as you might sample flavors at an ice cream parlor, try out different pursuits. Some might taste bland, while others might surprise you. These experiences are vital in refining your 'why'.

Peer into the Mirror

Have a heart-to-heart with yourself. Gaze into the mirror and ask, "What's my purpose?" Listen attentively to what your reflection whispers back.

Challenge Your Actions

For every routine task or new initiative, ask "So what?" If it doesn’t connect to something meaningful, it might not align with your 'why'.

Discovering your 'why' unravels overtime, much like a mystery novel with unexpected turns. It gives every day a touch of meaning and can transform the mundane into the magical. Take this exploration seriously, but sprinkle it with playfulness—after all, the journey to find your 'why' should feel just as engaging as the destination ought to be.

Set forth into your internal quest with open eyes and an eager heart. What you find could very well be the compass that guides you in your life's myriad adventures.

  • Self-Interrogation Time: Sit yourself down, grab a beverage of choice (coffee for the early birds, wine for the owls), and prepare for a cozy chat with yourself. It's about to get real intimate in the confines of your mind.

  • Flashback Episode: Like in a cheesy sitcom, think back to your highlight reel - when were you most alive, most passionate, and most satisfied? What common threads can you find? Maybe it wasn't during that seventh season of binge-watching in your pajamas, but who are we to judge?

  • The Five Whys: Just like a toddler discovering the world, ask yourself 'why' five times to get to the bottom of things. "Why do I work?" -> "To make money." -> "Why do I want money?" -> "To be secure and have experiences." Keep going until you can’t go further without entering the realm of existential dread.

  • Visualize the Utopia: Imagine your perfect day – what does it look like? Ignore the fact that this perfect day might currently only happen in a dimension where calories don't count and dogs can talk.

  • The Obituary Test: A bit morbid, but bear with us. Write down what you would want people to say about you at your funeral. Just don’t get spooked – this is a thought exercise, not a séance.

  • Consult the Council of You: Think about the advice you'd give to a younger you. What values and paths would you recommend? Consider this the Council of Past Wisdom, but with less fancy robes and ancient languages.

  • Detective Work: Collect evidence from your life. When do friends seek your help? What activities make you lose track of time? Maybe it's when you're helping others or creating something. Or perhaps it's the art of orchestrating the perfect nap – don't scoff, rest can be revolutionary!

  • Book of Dreams: Write down what you would do if you couldn't fail. Now, write down what you’d do even if you would fail spectacularly but would love doing. There’s a clue in here somewhere, between becoming an astronaut and growing a garden on Mars.

  • Values Inventory: Jot down your core values, then prioritize them. Which ones would you fight for with the ferocity of a mother bear? Which ones are just nice-to-haves, like that fondue set you thought you'd use?

  • Trial and Error: Experiment with your passions. Sometimes finding your 'why' is like dating – occasionally awkward, sometimes surprising, but when you find 'the one,' there's an inexplicable click, or it could just be your knees.

  • The Mirror Pep Talk: Look yourself in the eye (yep, get real close to that mirror) and ask, "What am I here for?" Wait for the answer. It might come in a whisper or a shout, or it might take a few tries – mirrors are notorious for being cryptic.

  • The 'So What?' Challenge: For every task or activity you do, ask yourself, "So what?" If you can’t answer why it matters, it might not align with your 'why'. This exercise also works to become the most annoying person at parties.

Mark Eting

Mark is a dedicated writer to help business managers learn how to achieve greater efficiency.

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