In today’s society we often put a lot of emphasis on how things are done. Present a plan with lofty goals to the board of directors of any company and surely they will ask you how you suppose those goals will be met. Apply for a mortgage and you will be asked to demonstrate how you plan to pay it off. Give a professor the correct answer to a complex question and you might be asked how you arrived at your conclusion.
The How is often so predominant that the Why is sometimes completely forgotten as if the Why is of less importance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why you want something is infinitely more important than how you think you’re going to achieve it.
To find out what your Why is start with identifying what it is that you want. After all, if you can’t visualize what you want how could you ever hope to realize it?
This seems easy enough but apparently it’s a bit more challenging than one would think. Ask an adult to write down everything they want on a list with a minimum of 50 items and you will find that for most it turns out to be quite difficult. Stating that you want a certain amount of money, want to quit working or just want a bigger car than your neighbor can cause people to experience discomfort. After all it may make them appear greedy or lazy and that’s not generally considered positive.
So they try to come up with something that’s socially acceptable and in doing so make what they want subject to the opinions of others. Kids on the other hand have no problem here. They’ll come up with 50 items and more in no time, listing things you didn’t even know exist. They don’t worry about what others may think of it, whether it makes them look greedy, lazy or whatever. All they know is that they want it.
After you have identified what it is you want, then you get to the Why. Why do you want all those things?
Again, kids have the upper hand here. They’ll be quick to point out why they want it all: mostly the fun they will have and the popularity it will give them. Ask an adult why they want something and you’ll enjoy watching the expression on their face. You’ll see them searching for an answer. Why would you want to be rich? Why would you want to quit working? What would you do if you no longer had to go to a job every day?
You may decide you want a bigger house than anyone in your family before you ever had. But what does that do for you? Would you sleep better? Would it make your life better? Or is it because you just love cleaning house all day? Whatever it is, it’s important that you know.
Exactly how you plan to achieve your goal is far less important, especially in such an early stage. Too much focus on the How early in the process can have a devastating effect. It could paralyze you. If your financial situation is so bad that you are actually below broke, achieving financial independence can seem so far fetched that reaching it appears impossible. You might sell yourself on the idea that it’s so far out of reach that you couldn’t possibly make it happen in this lifetime.
As much as that may seem true at the time, it doesn’t have to become your reality. However in order to get there you will probably have to overcome some serious hurdles. And for that to happen you need a reason to get up and take the necessary action. That reason needs to be strong enough to pull you through the tough times that inevitably will come. That reason is your Why.
History is packed with unbelievable stories of accomplishment. People facing seemingly insurmountable odds who overcame obstacles you wouldn’t believe. Individuals with relentless determination who decided to push on in situations where most people would give up.
Why is that so many people throw in the towel when things don’t go their way and only a small number of people seem to persevere? It’s not because they’re genetically stronger and it’s not because they’ve been dealt a better hand in life. What sets them apart is their Why.
That’s what keeps them in the game. Their Why is so strong that whatever gets in their way they will find a way to deal with it. They don’t have all the answers, but what they do have is an inner conviction that they can and will find them.
Working on your Why is one of the best ways to improve the chance of reaching your goals. So make sure that you know what your Why is. Find it and refine it over and over again. Make it so strong that achieving it becomes an absolute must for you and the How will magically reveal itself to you over time.