Why You Do Something Is More Important Than How

Let me start off with an all too common scenario. One that happens all over the world every year on January 1st. New Year’s resolutions are made. Lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthy, start writing that book, get that blog started, generate passive income, etc. We’re excited for a new start, though really any day of the year is a great day to start. We buy what we need to get started. Memberships, books, products, motivational CD’s, software, sign up for classes.

Then six months later, we’re not any different than we were on January 1st. We’ve stopped a long time ago. We’re eating a donut for breakfast, watching six hours of television per day, and still at the same dead end job and we wonder why we can’t find happiness. What happened?

The root of the problem boils down to one common factor, the “Why Factor”. Finding out about the why you want to do something is more important than finding out how. Finding out how is easy in most cases. Google it. Ask someone. Read books. Sometimes the how is boring, monotonous and frustrating. If there isn’t a strong enough reason why to do it, then the how isn’t going to even matter.

Too many times when we set goals, we find out how to attain those goals. We find out steps we need to take to reach our goals. We fail to find our motivation or those goals. It’s called your “Why Factor” and it’s one of the most powerful tools for success.

Back to the New Year’s resolutions, we start and after that initial excitement has gone away, we stop. I know I have been guilty of this more than I would like to remember. It’s why I don’t even make resolutions anymore. If we have a powerful why, we can walk over broken glass and get up when we feel defeated.

Let me give you an example. If told you to walk 30 feet and I’d give you $10, would you do it? In a heartbeat. Now if now I had red hot burning coals on the ground 30 feet from where you were standing to the finish line, and offered you the same $10, would you do it? Probably not.

Now if your child was sitting at the end of the hot coals with no where to go and you had to run over there to save your child, would you walk over 30 feet of hot coals? You bet you would and you’d run over there.

You see the first time I offered you $10 to walk over the coals, you most likely would say no. Yet the second scenario you would do it. The hot coals and how far stayed the same but the reason why changed. When the reason is big enough you will do almost anything. It’s very powerful.

The why power will get you through the boring how. Let’s face it, the steps to success aren’t always exciting. If you have a a step by step direction how to do something, it’s not enough to complete unless you have a powerful why.

Recently I finished my first half marathon. I went from overweight and out of shape to finishing in 2:04 in three months. I trained six days a week with four of those days running outside. Thanks to the record cold winter (even in Florida) there were mornings where it was crazy cold to go out running. It would have been so easy to stay in bed and skip the run, except the power of why was so strong. I had my goal and how to get to my goal but my why power was to lose weight, get into the best shape in my life, and finish a half marathon because I didn’t like how I felt and how I looked. I really was upset I let myself get to that point and it was the motivation I needed. That got me out of the house and running those cold mornings.

The power of why will get you to write your book early before work or late at night when everyone is asleep, it will get you to the gym on a Sunday morning, it will say no to desserts after dinner, it will keep you making phone calls when everyone already has told you no.

In the Shawshank Redemption Andy Dufrene is a beaten man who is wrongfully committed of murder and has a life sentence behind bars. No matter how many times the warden foiled his attempts at hearing new evidence that would free him nor being sent to solitary confinement, his why power to find a way out and not give up was the one beautiful place, Zihuatanejo.

Those who have a clear cut, indomintable why will always beat the best of the best at doing the how.

Think about any major goal you’ve accomplished so far in your life. Think about what your why power was. You surely had one. It’s that one factor that determined why you were successful.

From now on when you make goals think about why you want to achieve that goal. It will help you know whether or not you will stick with it.

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6 responses to Why You Do Something Is More Important Than How

  1. Very true.. sometimes “why question” will go back to the core – your DESIRE? If you have something that you are passionate about and have a strong desire to, you will keep it going no matter what.

    • Yes if something you do comes from your core, it will be a very powerful motivator. That’s why people who do New Year’s resolutions don’t stick with it cause it’s a superficial change. Something they “want” to do but not something that comes from deep inside them. Thanks for the comment!

  2. A man can accomplish any what, if he has a big enough WHY. Benjamin Disraeli, said “Nothing can resist the human will that will stake even its existence on its stated purpose”, Your why is the purpose, that transform an idea into a reality.

    • That’s right Justin. A big enough WHY will make you run through walls if you have to. That’s why too many New Year resolutions fall flat. They don’t have a strong WHY they are doing it. Thanks for sharing!

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