What is the why that drives your life?
You might be thinking, as many of us do: I’m doing fine, I don’t need a why. I’ve gotten this far without one. It’s just a fad. It’s just something people like you talk about to get me to buy into your mumbo jumbo.
I get it. There are tens of thousands of different leaders, all of them trying to get you to do something else. It’s impossible to do everything everyone recommends for us to do.
But, this one is important. Like we said in the podcast, it’s one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time. As of this writing, it has 57million views. Simon’s Mic stops working halfway through, the production quality is horrible and yet it still remains popular. (Check it out here.)
I’ll be honest, we don’t have to have this thing detailed out like a set of blueprints for the Golden Gate Bridge. In fact, it should have some flex to it. But if we can have the basics figured out, it can help us in a lot of ways.
Reason #1: How Can You Know If You’re Winning?
If we allow ourselves to default to the whys that drive most of culture, we’re likely to end up with a lot of possessions that accumulate dust in the garage. No, there’s nothing wrong with working on restoring old trucks and having gear for the hobbies you enjoy. Those are good things.
But, much of the culture thinks that that is the point. Getting the “fun” stuff is the point of life. Being able to live how you want, do what you want, buy what you want, and go where you want – that’s what makes you happy. That’s what will bring you true fulfillment.
It doesn’t. It never has.
We can’t let our capitalistic society tell us what is important in life. We need to decide for ourselves what is driving us. And we need to do it intentionally and thoughtfully.
If we don’t have a target on the wall, how will we know if we ever hit it? You can fill your garage with toys and still feel empty. You can spend your life traveling to every exotic location you can think of and still be disappointed. If we don’t set the mark, it will be set for us. And we’ll go through life always feeling like a failure but not even knowing what mark we’re measuring ourselves against.
Reason #2: There Are Others With You On This Journey
If you’re a husband, father, or grandfather; an uncle, neighbor, or close friend, I hate to break it to you, but you’re not just responsible for yourself. There are others around you who depend on you, who count on you to sharpen them.
We tend to think of it the other way. We think, “I need others around me to help me out.” And that’s true. But, we are also needed by others. We don’t just take from the people around us, we make deposits in their lives. Every time we’re around them we’re investing in them in some fashion. We’re either depositing things of worth or things that will lead them in the wrong direction.
For those who are Fathers and Husbands, those who have what the government calls dependents, then you’re not just in a symbiotic relationship, you are the host. Yes, your spouse is too. But, you play a large part in the development of your family. If you aren’t being intentional about life, then you’ll have collateral damage of directionless children too.
Reason #3: It Will Help You Have Fewer Regrets
My wife and I have a dream, borrowed from the TV show “Parenthood.” They often had family meals in the backyard of Zeke and Camille’s house. Lights hung over the table and they’d sit there as one big family – grandparents, kids, and grandkids – all sharing a meal each week. That’s a dream we have for our family one day. We hope to have our kids and grandkids over on a weekly basis (I can dream) for a meal.
That picture serves as a target and guard rail for my wife and me. It would be easy for me (and it has been) to get so invested in my work that I don’t spend enough time at home building those relationships. But, eventually, that picture will come back to my mind and I know that I need to make some adjustments.
If I allow that picture to guide me, if I let that be the why that’s driving me, I know that I have a good shot of getting there someday. No, I don’t expect it to be perfect. But, since that’s the target we’re aiming for, there’s a good chance we’ll hit it. And if we don’t, it won’t be because we didn’t try our darndest. We’ll honestly be able to say we did everything we could to get there.
If we didn’t have that why, we may get to our retirement years, and – having spent our lives chasing something else – we’ll all of a sudden realize that we missed out on years of investing in our kids’ lives and consequently we’ll miss out on them wanting to bring their kids around.
A why is very important. Do you know what yours is? Would you like some help in figuring out where to begin? Contact me!