Finding the Why

As Begüm mentioned in her post from last week, dreams, where we forgo how the whole process might unravel, are unlikely to become a reality. Could it be that those unachieved projects, human relationships we struggle with, or decisions riddled with our dissatisfaction are all a result of us looking for why in the wrong places?

Last week I accompanied a friend on an interesting endeavor: finding her why. Those familiar with Simon Sinek know what I’m talking about. For those unfamiliar, listening to Start With Why should be a good start. And for those who are invested in finding their why, Sinek’s book of the same title can be a captivating read.

Don’t let the frequent use of the words leadership and sales in the talk discourage you. You don’t have to be a leader in a group or be selling anything. Whether we’re in the working world or not, all of us are actually giving away our time in exchange for something, focusing on certain matters, and harboring relationships with certain people. So finding our why, entirely independent from sales or management, is for our benefit. Because unfortunately life generally functions in reverse. When we place what we do in the center, it’s so easy to succumb and stumble on labels that sound good… Doctor, engineer, lawyer, director, general manager are just some of the entries of a long list of prestige. But how many of us, who have created an identity from one of these labels, are happy, embrace our work with enthusiasm and desire years later, and see difficulties not as obstacles but as challenging riddles? I guess only those of us who have found the why. Because only those jobs that are in line with our foundational reasons to live, most unadulterated expectations, and adamant beliefs, not only feed our bank accounts, but also our souls.

Let’s examine a cardiologist. If their why is to transfer the feeling that life is worth living to every one of their patients, then even in another branch of medicine, such as psychotherapy, that individual would be fully satisfied with their career. If a bank manager’s why is to ensure an environment of trust by giving their team strength in stressful situations, then the same person can also be happy conducting an orchestra or teaching. Finding our why allows us to realize why we do something, which frees us from the thought of what we’re doing (or what we’re doing wrong).

The languages we know or the diplomas we have received, or not, are unimportant. All of us have our own beautiful and idiosyncratic whys. They rest deep within us and wake in those brief and unique moments when we’re enthralled. To become our central force, they await those for whom brief moments are not enough.



Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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