The Power of Why!

Why25The most important question to ask before setting any goal is: Why?

Specifically, “Why” is this goal vital to me?” When there is a clear connection with our “Why”, the “How” will follow.  The “Why” happens in the part of our brain that allows us to form an emotional connection with our goal; it is our emotional connection that profoundly increases the likelihood of success.

Our emotional connection is formed in a complex set of brain structures located on both sides of the thalamus known as the limbic system. The limbic system serves a variety of functions including epinephrine flow, emotion, behavior and motivation.

The “How”:

When we fall short of our desired goal more often it is because our primary focus is on the “How”. The “How” forms in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain where logic and rational thinking are formed. The “How” focuses on logic and reasoning in setting up a systematic approach to achieving our goal. When we approach our goal with logic (HOW), at the exclusion of emotion (WHY) we dramatically reduce the likelihood of success.

Example of How: (logic)

A non-swimmer walks along the water edge and notices a fifty dollar bill floating a few feet off shore in knee deep water. Without hesitation they enter the water and retrieve the money.

Now, imagine the same scenario however this time the fifty dollar bill is floating a hundred feet off shore in twenty feet of water. Logic and reasoning (How) would quickly calculate the risk was greater than the reward and the non-swimmer would not enter the water. Even if the sum of money floating in the water was dramatically increased, the non-swimmer’s “logic” to stay out of the water would remain consistent.

Example of Why: (emotion)

Lastly, the non-swimmer is standing at the water edge. This time it is their young child one-hundred feet off shore and struggling to keep their head above water. The child is moments away from drowning. Without hesitation the non-swimmer enters the water to retrieve the child because the emotional connection (why) is stronger than the logical connection (how).

When we find our “WHY” our “HOW” becomes clear.

Relentless passion to pursue our WHY is driven by a profound sense of purpose which transforms that pursuit into a mission greater than our selves. Other important considerations include additional questions such as:

  • Does my goal touch a place deep inside me that makes me feel vital and alive?
  • Do I have a burning desire to follow this dream despite the depths of despair that I may encounter along my journey?
  • Will my WHY be powerful enough to give me the strength, courage, and persistence to forge ahead, even in times of difficulty?

Mental Toughness – the mindset to boldly advance toward a goal regardless of pain, fear, or circumstance – can only be fully realized, nurtured, and cultivated when we are inspired by our WHY. As you continue your self-reflection, ask yourself:

  • Am I being driven by the WHY someone else has for me?
  • Am I being coaxed by the WHY society has placed upon me?
  • Does my WHY inspire me to become the person I am intended to be?
  • Do I have an emotional connection to my WHY?

Whether it is writing a book, overcoming an addiction or running a marathon we increase the likelihood of success when we connect with our “Why”.

Today, contemplate the WHY of your goal..

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