“Find your why, and the how will follow” – That’s what was conveyed during a regular catch-up with one of my good friends, Jane. But why are people still wrecking their brains on the how?
It was a regular weekend, and a rather lazy one – I lazed in bed after a late night gathering with some close friends, looking at the ceiling hoping to find a few lines of inspirations to what I’m going to do for the rest of the day. No success, except the staring into a blank space with a blank mind.
Still going through the motions whilst freshening up, I started thinking…
What would make me happier today?
Just a little up the scale…
Could I have been happier just lying in bed and resting through the day?
What about asking a few friends out for another catch up?
Or my usual weekend routine of heading to the gym, a hearty healthy meal and reading?
That’s when I realised I would really like a good cuppa coffee and a smooth, savoury double cheesecake! (it’s not that exciting I know)
Knowing where to go and what to do becomes so much clearer – an instant spirit lifter!
While having my desired double cheesecake, questions started popping in my mind – Why such a simple gesture brings joy? How did I get here? What was different from before?
Finding the why…
After Simon Sinek’s TED talk, I almost hear this from everywhere I go – “what’s your why?” Even the place I work for, constantly uses Simon’s diagram of having the “why” as the core for our discussion purposes.
But if we can find our why, can we truly be much happier?
More often than not, I came across people who speaks strongly of their whys, and yet still remain puzzled, confused, stressed-up and not any much happier than before. What could be the reason? Could the “how” miraculously happen and bring people from point A to point B?
Why do people who knows what and why they want something, still end up being lost in life?
We all want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, the next Tony Robbins, the next person in line for promotion, the one who wants to be loved, the one that gets to travel the world without worrying about the funds.
Yet, this often creeps up from a dark corner, speaking in a low, yearning voice filled with a tinge of sorrow – “but how?”
Figuring the how…
Knowing why would I be happier and what to do to satisfy my craving is awesome. But if I do not know how to get there, I might end up equally miserable. Especially when I keep thinking of how wonderful my weekend will be having that piece of cheesecake.
Now imagine if I’m somewhere out of town and having the same craving. Even if I know what I want, why I want it, the how couldn’t have been possible unless I miraculously find a place that makes the exact same cheesecake.
Perhaps I could explore my standards and expectations, to go for a double cheesecake nearby. But if it doesn’t give me that satisfaction, my thoughts could start spiralling downwards affecting my emotions for the day. Of course, if I find another that gives an even better satisfaction, I would be ecstatic!
And the question remains – would I want to just think of what I want or do I want to move on and try something else?
We are always more stubborn in getting what we want – Only this, not that.
We focus more on chasing what we thought we want, what we thought could be the key to our happiness. But as time passes, that happiness did not come knocking on the door nor did you find much joy while chasing it.
Then now what?
3 Ideas to Realign Your Why, What and How
1. Be grateful for what you already have
Sometimes in the midst of chasing what we want, we often forget what we do have. We often want what others have. Like the dog chasing her tail, she goes round repeatedly and somehow, the more she chases, the faster it runs away.
Here’s an amazing story told by one of the greatest inspiration and storyteller – The King that always wanted more.
If you are already happy with your current situation and life, why would you want to chase after what others have? Don’t let what the media is saying put you off-track. There is absolutely nothing wrong being happy with what you have.
2. Be more precise with your why, what and how
Finding your why and what, you are much luckier than a dozen million people on this planet. It’s not time to stop just because you hit a certain bump, feel lost along the way and forgot about the how. It just means its time to revisit the thinking process with more precision.
Perhaps it is no longer the idea of being a founder of a tech company because you want your work-life balance. Instead a founder who has touched the lives of all who followed you along the journey, braved through storms and forged a lifelong friendship/partnership.
Perhaps it is no longer finding a partner who is humorous, fun-loving, a great pillar of support, tall, good-looking and knowledgeable because he/she would make you feel special or envied by others. But one who knows exactly how to bring the better out of yourself, one who finds simple joy just by being next to you or one who’s not afraid to try every creation you bring out of the kitchen.
3. Explore the possibilities
Einstein has always deemed imagination as greater than knowledge – “it is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions”. What could be other possibilities if this is not working? What could you do to come closer to what you want, even if it is not a 100% match?
I’m not saying you should abandon your goals completely. But if you are still figuring out why or the how to get there, perhaps it’s time to explore some other alternatives to get there.
The many ways to Rome
It is surprising how a simple pursue of what to have on a weekend, a simple cheesecake (ok, it’s not simple for this cheesecake), can bring up so much thoughts on life.
Till this day, I’m sure there are still people who have a single focus to get what they want. They are still figuring out why are they not excited or happy. But not you.
After all, life’s not a one way street, but one of many lanes and diversions.
It is then up to you to rethink your why and the other hows to get there.