In everything you do, if you want to truly be successful, you must know your why. Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you work late? Why do you make the sacrifices that you do? If you don’t have a strong why, something bigger than yourself, you will be destined to fail.
In Greek mythology Atlas was condemned to literally hold the world on his shoulders. His why was to hold the world together. Fortunately, in our free society we have a choice on what we do and when we do it. Unfortunately, when it feels like you’re holding the world on your shoulders, that freedom makes it a lot easier to just give-up and lay it down. You must have a why like Atlas.
Your ‘why’ should be something that lasts, that really matters. Your faith, your family, something bigger than bringing glory to yourself or simple profit motive. Now, of course, that is not to say that profit is bad, as so many in this culture seem to portray. Contrarily, profit is good and if you want to see what life is like without profit motive look at the old Soviet Union or North Korea where it’s impossible. My point is to say that on an emotional and psychological level, it is not enough to keep you going.
Work hard so that your family is taken care of. Make money so that you can change flaws you see in the world.
This is one of my favorite scenes from the movie Atlas Shrugged. The entire conversation is enlightening but this particular exchange between Hank Rearden and his brother highlight what I’m talking about.
While it’s a great line and its fun to see anti-Capitalism get slapped in the face, if you don’t have a reason to make the money, you will ultimately fail. Every challenge you face, your why becomes more important. Figure out what it is that drives you, write it down if you want, but have one or two things that come to mind any time you want to quit or give-up. If you haven’t reached that moment it will come, and your why will be the only thing to keep you moving.
For a little more comedic perspective, Rob Lowe’s character from Parks and Recreation provides a perfect example of how important your why is. His character is always positive, hyper-active, always exercising, and plans to live to 150 years old. However, when he tries to train his friend, who’s been a mooching loser most of his life he realizes that he really has nothing to fight for. He has no real reason to do what he does, and he transforms from the man in the first clip to the one in the second:
Don’t let this become you. A popular concern among many driven people, especially in the tech and financial industries is burn-out, where you just get tired of working the long hours and either have a breakdown or quit. Many in our culture have no real why as we see the family structure collapse and a weakening of faith of any sort.
Find your why and remember it. Let it motivate you when you feel like you can’t go anymore. It will not only keep you going, but reenergize and drive you far beyond that of which you thought you were capable.
Comment below with your thoughts and please share it with your friends. We can only change the culture one person at a time.