For the past couple of days, I have been troubled with the question of “why.” “Why” is a powerful question, and a difficult question, and an important question. It’s the last question in the basic “five W’s” of journalism, and it’s the question that often takes the most space in a given article.
“Why” is the most interesting part of any event, service, product, or person. Why does he do what he does? That is the question that most authors attempt to answer on behalf of their main characters. What they are doing is somewhat interesting insofar as it forms the plot elements, but without a notion of purpose, it all feels dead. Show me a movie where none of the characters seem to understand what their purpose in “life” is, and I’ll show you a bad movie.
People become interesting when they have goals, in other words. They become even more interesting when they understand why they have those goals.
So, why do you do what you do? Is it for the money? If it’s for the money, what do you aim to do with that money? Mere survival is a depressing story, so then the question is, what can you do that allows you more than that? Why would you want to do something more than merely survive? I don’t know about you, but mere survival isn’t enough of a “why” for me to do much of anything. Obviously, there are moments in any life where the need to survive is going to trump other drives, but those moments should be rendered as temporary as possible. That’s probably the basest drive in humankind—the drive away from mere survival. We like shiny things.
So, if you’re already surviving, you would need a bigger “why” to grow beyond the point of survival. Some immediately jump to “more money” as the why that drives them here, and it’s something that everybody is guilty of from time to time. However, again, I think that the question to ask here is, “Why do I want more money?” Put another way, what is that thing you would do if money weren’t an issue anymore? Living a selfish life would get old quickly, I’m sure of it, so there must be something in you that wants to provide help to others in some fashion. What is that help? Why does it speak to you?
And then, suddenly, you’ve found a passion. The faster you can make steps in that direction, the better, and if you can build a business around that passion, you’ll have a hard time finding a limit to growth.
I say all of this to you because I say all of it to myself. I have felt a little purposeless these past couple of days. I am digging in myself for the why behind doing what I do. It all seems money-driven, so I’m asking myself the above questions to try and dig a little deeper. Because it’s always worth it to dig a little deeper.