The Power of Your “Why” and How It Will Absolutely Change Your Life

The Power of Your “Why” and How It Will Absolutely Change Your Life

Have you ever given any thought to your “Why?”

Last Wednesday I was fortunate enough to sit down with a doctor in Shelby, NC and talk. During that talk he brought up a point that I have heard iterated a million times, but the way he expressed his thoughts changed my view of having purpose.

He described having purpose as “knowing my Why.  If I know my Why then I never get off track-I never stray from my path.”  I know my Why: To add value to the world around me. I live my mission daily and have written about adding value to life often.  It guides my actions.  It guides my mind.  It shapes my decisions.  My question for you is…Do you know your Why?  And more importantly, are you living your Why?

This might seem like an easy question to some, but you might be surprised at the number of people who live each and every day without a life mission.  Is it important?  Does it have an impact on our lives?  I believe the answer to both questions is yes.  I scoured the internet for a statistical number to associate with my question and the answers varied wildly from .06%-19% of the world’s population who live with a mission-know their Why. Even if the high number is the default, that leaves 81% of the people in the world walking around each day without knowing their Why.

This type of thinking might be a western thought and may have little relevancy in other parts of the world.  For instance, the nomadic herder in a third-world country might not have a philosophical answer, yet understands his mission is to keep his flock alive in order to provide for his family.  I understand that my culture not only creates such a question but most certainly shapes my answer.  But with that understanding,  I still believe we all are on this planet for a reason, I believe it is important to know that reason and I believe knowing your Why has many important influences on your life.

ladder-picFirst, knowing your Why keeps you on track.  When you know your purpose in life you can use that purpose as your personal mission statement.  Any time you have a decision to make you bounce your choices off of your Why.  Are they in sync?  Are they in conflict? Does the choice you are about to make support your overall Why?  Without the Why it is easy to end up climbing a latter leaning against the wrong wall.

Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.   Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Secondly, knowing your Why brings fulfillment.  Nothing brings more fulfillment and joy than living your life in accordance with your life’s mission.  There are many people who try to fake being fulfilled, but it is like trying to fake a smile.  It is obvious to everyone but the person faking.

Thirdly, knowing your Why makes life more fun.  Life is simply more enjoyable when you know who you are, where you are going and what you want to achieve.

Fourth, knowing your Why influences others in a positive way.  There is something about knowing your Why that draws people like flies to honey.  I always think of it as the light on the hill shining at night.  When people see a light in the darkness they cannot help but want to know the source of the light.  The light speaks without using words and draws people to the source.  Once someone is exposed to another who has purpose they cannot help but be intrigued.

Fifth, knowing your Why lets you easily determine what is important versus what is not. Once you know your mission the frivolous things in life are easier to cast off.  Buddha stated that desire is the downfall of mankind and I believe this.  I know my mission and I also know what is truly important in life for me.  Therefore I don’t waste my energy on things and/or PEOPLE who do not edify my mission.  This might be tough for some to read, but I can tell you not every person deserves your time and energy.

Sixth, knowing your Why provides a constant source of motivation and inspiration. Imagine it like having an unlimited supply of energy for your fuel tank!  Sure there will be times when you are tired, but I can attest to the fact that knowing your  Why provides a constant, unyielding supply of inspiration and motivation.  And this source cannot be contrived.  It will drag you through the tough times like no other.

Lastly, knowing your Why brings with it achievement.  There is nothing for me that makes me smile more than achieving my personal goals.  Obviously, I have based my entire blog on goal-achievement and developing the proper set of habits to reach those goals. Knowing my Why is the one thing that drives me and allows me to achieve.  Before I accepted my purpose I was lost and my achievements were few and far between.  But not my life is like having a gun at a shooting range-I’m picking off targets right-and-left.

I don’t believe it is difficult to know your life’s purpose.  If you sit still and remain quiet long enough you will realize your purpose was there all along.  Some know their purpose but refuse to identify with it, while some are not ready to accept their mission.  Many keep themselves too busy and don’t stand still long enough to listen to a voice that has been trying to speak for many years.

The question remains-have you given any thought to your Why?  Are you willing to sit still long enough to understand your purpose?  And once you realize your Why are you willing to accept it and move forward to achieving your goals?


53 thoughts on “The Power of Your “Why” and How It Will Absolutely Change Your Life

  1. Many people think “their why” is to suicide bomb – often resulting from their perceptions reality dictating that a magical being in the sky wants such behavior.

    Though that’s not to say I disagree with the overall message, you just seem to be putting the carriage before the horse? Most people can stubbornly, and do, cling to goals that are self-destructive and detrimental to society.

    And “everyone is the hero of their own story”. Suicide bombers think they’re helping. Perhaps the message you’ve provided here encourages similar behavior? Then, you would fall into the category of “knowing your why” while harming others.

    And if you are a philanthropist, you know that part of improving society is instilling productive culture. So, I ask: Do you know your why?

    In fairness, I provide mine. I seek happiness while attempting to avoid harming others. I would seek to understand the immutable laws primarily, if not for the apparent t unlikelihood of that accomplishment.

    1. Honestly, I had a lengthy comment typed and I erased it. I am only going to say this…I cannot tell if you are seeking an honesty conversation about my post or if you are fishing for something else. In the context of my post and blog I have no idea why you would be mentioning suicide bombers, but it is obvious to 99.9999% of my readers that I don’t espouse people striving toward goals that are destructive to society. I’m not biting, sorry. 🙂

  2. No, I’m not fishing for something, merely pointing out the flaws. I do this because I consider myself a philanthropist, and know that good intentions are meaningless without understanding. Well, and I’m looking for love via my blog – which I hope our conversation will draw more viewers to.

    But, no matter how unlikely the possibility, problems occur. I’m an American; we have many laws against drug abuse, child abuse, etc. Nevertheless, within American territory, I grew up on a tiny island populated primarily with drunks and druggies. It was not a nurturing environment.

    Ontop of that misfortune, shortly before I arrived, there was a murder. That murder was committed by 4 people of my nationality, whom just so happened to be working at a processing plant, that coincidentally was a mile or two outside of the tiny, isolated village. They killed a member of the community.

    These factors resulted in my being regularly beaten by the village children – some of whom were products of the incestuous nature of the druggies.

    Just because you’ve been handed life doesn’t mean others have. Infact, many others pay for the unintended mistakes of the fortunate, whom are unaware of the ramifications of their actions. I apologize if these concepts bring you displeasure, but responsibility comes with action. You chose to proclaim yourself a philanthropist, I’m merely attempting to help you in that.

  3. I love this post Danny. I absolutely agree. One of the things I did when I started my healing journey is to think about my goal in my life, my personal legend. (I guess that’s my version of the power of your why) I thought a lot about it, I wanted it to have meaning and depth. It wasn’t about work goals or attaining material things It wasn’t about attaining certain goals. My power of why is: I want to live, (not just survive, but live) my life, blinders off, eyes wide open.
    It is extremely intrinsic, but, I believe it has a ripple effect in my life as well as others. Does that make sense?

  4. Hi Danny~
    My purpose for the last 20 years was to raise my son and to be a good wife. I’m glad I took that path, but once the ‘raising’ was over I had no idea what my purpose was. I’ve spent a good portion of the last 3 years trying to figure that out. I can’t honestly say I have it all figured out, but I’m pretty well there. Great post. 🙂

  5. My why is to find out the why of everything. Yes I live my why each day by finding out many whys in order to find out the big WHY which is why the universe exists and why everything is as it is? . Slowly but steadily I’m getting nearer each day.

  6. Aloha Danny,

    Wonderful post – great topic! … one of my favorites from you!

    For me:

    “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” ~ Henry David Thoreau



      1. Wonderful here on Maui! Just got back from doing some Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation during sunset at a local Park, next to the mountains overlooking the ocean. As I move into my later years … for me, this is Heaven on Earth. No complaints from me, except I do miss playing golf and being in the “zone” when playing (when it happens) … too busy with work. Balancing life out can be a change sometimes, no matter where we find ourselves in time and space, while we are here. All the best, Bob

      2. Sounds like a beautiful setting for powerful meditation! My brother-in-law is from Hawaii and says it is beautiful. Hope you have a great week!

  7. My why is to help others and to strengthen my relationship with God. I believe I am here to help others whether it is with physical, mental or theological problems. Took me a long time to figure out my why.

  8. This is such a great read Danny! May I have your permission to Press this on Saturday with full attributes? M-F is humorous reading on my blog. But even funny people have a need for the fulfillment of “Why.”

    1. Thank you so much Sherrie! And, yes, you can share. And honestly you don’t need to ask permission although I will say I appreciate your consideration. 🙂

  9. I guess you already expected me to say this: I love this post. I think that the issue is that many people do know they why but they do not follow it because they think it is reckless. They think it’s irresponsible. They forget to swim in their river but fight the currents in someone else’s and in doing so completely exhaust themselves. They chase after a goal given by others instead of focusing on what their true calling is. I believe many feel trapped in the path they have chosen and rather than breaking out of it they just remain in it… slowly turning from a colorful being into a grey blob…

    1. Personally, I believe “why” is inside each of us. I was kind of hinting at that when I recommended sitting still and listening. Some don’t want to accept their “calling.”

  10. I’m currently reading a book by Kermit the frog; seriously, there is a book. And kermit wrote about how we adopt the dreams of others because they look very bright. So many people want to be pop- stars and celebrities just because they desire the life they see on TV.

    I too was like that. I wanted to be Oprah so bad. But I realized that I had to be myself to find my self. And to know my mission.

    For me, the road is not laid out in front of me. I choose not to define my mission to the letter. But at every point in time, I focus on becoming a better person. I do what my heart is drawn to , and I put in hard-work until something substantial comes out of my endeavor.

      1. Sweet! Live Your Legend is a good resource. It’s inspiring to see how Chelsea Dinsmore has kept her husbands work alive. She lost him last year while they were on a summit up Mount Kilimanjaro. She has shared the struggles she experienced and continues to experience as she moves forward without the love of her life. I don’t get any money from them. I just enjoy what they have there. 😀

  11. I believe it’s the underlying theme of life, to uncover and experience the unique qualities of being that, when fully lived, make for a satisfying, fulfilling life. Life Purpose, the term, can be daunting, conjuring images of solving world hunger, etc., but purpose is simply being who I am and knowing it. The theme of “your why” is so great because it seems less intimidating. Terrific post.

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