Why Are You Doing?

The most important thing in life is to know why you are doing what you’re doing.

Most people don’t know. They just go with the flow.

Social norms are really powerful. The inputs that influence you are really powerful. A great video, talk, or book can convince you that you should be acting and thinking like that.

But the worst thing in life would be a death-bed regret that you’ve spent your life pursuing what someone said you should want, instead of what you really want.

For example, if you really want to make a lot of money, you need to admit that.

If you really want to be famous, you need to pursue that.

If you really want freedom and no responsibilities, or to learn as much as possible, or whatever else, you need to realize it and embrace it.

But whatever you decide, you need to optimize for that, and be willing to let go of the others.

You can’t diffuse your energy, trying to do a little bit of everything, or you’ll always be inconflict with yourself.

For example, one way to make money is to take on a lot of responsibility, which means letting go of some freedoms.

One way to get famous is to let others make more money, while you take the spotlight.

I learned this living in Los Angeles, when I was friends with some famous Hollywood actors, and realized they’re not as rich as you’d think. The richest people in Hollywood are the ones you’ve never heard of, because they’ve optimized their career for money. They know others are willing to take less money in return for more fame, so they profit from the other side of that deal.

Maybe the most important thing to you is learning, or creating, or giving. Maybe it’s howmany people’s lives you can influence. Maybe it’s how deeply you can influence just a few people’s lives.

Once you realize it and admit it, you need to pursue it.

Like if you want freedom, then you own a business but delegate all the work. You won’t be learning or creating or giving as much as you could with a different strategy, but that’s OK. You know freedom is what you’re after.

Sometimes your best strategy is counter-intuitive. Like if you have a high paying job, but realize that charitable giving is what matters most to you, then the best strategy is not to quit your job and go hang mosquito nets in Africa, but actually to keep your job and make as much money as you can, while spending it on hiring hundreds of people in Africa to hang thousands of mosquito nets. (Unless your goal is more about looking charitable, instead of actually being charitable. Then admit that to yourself, too.)

But whatever you choose, brace yourself, because people are always going to tell you you’rewrong.

That’s why you need know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Know it in advance. Use it as your compass and optimize your life around it. Let the other goals be secondary.

So when those decision moments come, you can choose the value that you already know matters most to you.

Written By Derek Sivers

Questions To Ask To Find Your Why

  1. What is your gift of life?
  2. What can you do for yourself, your family, for mankind, which no one else seems capable of doing as well as you?
  3. What would you do with your time if you didn’t need for money?
  4. What skill do people compliment you on the most?
  5. What work do you most get asked to do for others?
  6. Where is your highest ROI? Meaning, what activities do you get the most fulfillment x money x value for you efforts from?

Excerpt from Dre Baldwin

The better you are at communicating you’re why – people will want to work for you regardless of the opportunity that you afford them.

Whenever there’s any kind of relationship, whether its an outside partnership or anybody that joins their team Simon Sinek and his team will do something called a:

‘A Give & Take’

The purpose of this is for someone to be ‘selfish’ and ‘selfless’ within the relationship.

They will ask,

What is it you have to give to us that you think we need?

Then they will ask,

What is it that you selfishly want to take from us?

When those answers match with both individuals you have a balanced relationship.

People often have trouble answering that second question saying things like,

“Oh I want to work with smart people”

“Great, there’s plenty of smart people what is you want to take from me?”

“Oh I want to help build something big”

“Wonderful. Do that anywhere. What do you want to take selfishly from ME that you can get nowhere else”

If they cant answer the question they won’t engage in a relationship because in time the relationship becomes unbalanced because they’re going to be giving, and not taking. Then you don’t even know how to give them what they want. Then they’ll complain they’re not making enough money etc etc – because its not balanced.

Spoken by  Simon Sinek, Transcribed by Alex Sandalis