There’s a popular TED talk by Simon Sinek around the power of Why. In fact, he followed that up with a whole book called Start With Why, that took the concept in his talk (which lasted roughly 20 minutes), and made it last several hours, with no variation on theme.
I thought it an odd choice for someone who’s clearly so obsessed with purpose. Seriously, do yourself a favour. The book adds nothing to the talk. It’s just near 300 pages of examples proving the core theory, that purpose drives behaviour better than objects. That, and an absurd amount of Apple fanboying.
The key idea though is relevant. Purpose is important. I’ve seen other self-help and pop psychologists tell you to ignore the drive for purpose, but to me, this ignores a great deal of vastly important information to continued growth.
How do you know what stimulates you to action if you don’t understand your core motivations?
Don’t get me wrong – you can still do stuff without it. I just figured out my “genius”, which is in essence a primary motivator like purpose, last week. And I’m forty.
However, I have known what it is that I want to put out into the world, the end result of my actions, to make the world a better place, and it’s an extension of that.
Freedom has always been a watchword of mine. One can’t expand worlds when one isn’t free in thought, word or action. Therefore, total freedom must be granted (and applied universally – where it is not, one cannot say there is freedom). Happiness is the other. Everything we do, we do to bring us closer to nirvana – to bliss, in truth.
Like I think I’ve said before, we just generally suck at it.
These two things have been tagged with other parts, that experience has taught me were necessary to achieve: empathy, understanding, growth and kindness. Kindness springs from empathy, and understanding leads to growth. Connection is important as well; empathy and understanding, as well as the expression of our selves, as imperfect beings, is critical.
So why is this important?
Because everything flows from it. Peace, understanding, love, growth, freedom, happiness, a universe of possibility. These all proceed from these things. They do not proceed from hate, stasis, violence or oppression.
My purpose is to push back against these latter, to help the continued evolution of our species so that one day, through education and environment, we may see these dogmatic authoritarians, who would see the world frozen in order to avoid admitting imperfection, even at the expense of another’s life, slowly fade away.
Only then can we truly move on.