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  • Writer's pictureMaria Wade

Motivation: Is it Possible to Overthink Your “Why”?

I see it all over Instagram.

The intention is positive, but the outcome has the potential to be problematic.

I’m talking about the concept of “finding your why”.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe it is good to start to think about this. Our “why” is important. It helps us find meaning and prioritize. It allows us to filter the information we receive and create our perception of the world around us. Two people can look at the same picture, the same tree, the same sky and feel completely different things. This is because of the different “why” they each have in their life.

Our why can be the lens in which we view the world. It can impact what we see, our feelings and our actions.

We ask ourselves: Why am I doing this? It seems simple enough.

And, this is where I believe we really need to come back to: simplicity.

I talk to many people who overthink this task to “find their why”. They have been influenced by the people they follow on social media, they feel guilty for not having a “good enough” why, an altruistic why and some are even intimidated.

Shouldn’t my “why” be grand and big and lofty? Shouldn’t it be “because I want to change the world”?

Maybe. If that motivates you. If that drives you.

But grand, big and lofty actions don’t always need to come from such a huge WHY. In fact, often the most personal, seemingly small motivations can have the biggest impact and enable us to push us forward and meet our dreams.

Examples of Why

What are some other examples of simple, personal but meaningful whys? Here’s a few to think about:

- Because I want to enjoy my life

- Because I don’t know if I’ll like it, but I want to give it a try

- Because I am curious

Maria, you may be thinking. Some of these seem a bit… selfish. They are about me. They aren’t about me saving the world. Can your why really be something as simple as “Because I want to enjoy my life”?

Yes, yes, yes. 1,000 times yes. This is allowed. This is encouraged!

And...why? (joke intended!)

Because. When you are happy and joyful, you show up as your authentic self and are able to bring your unique gifts to the world.

How to Find Your (Simple) Why

Now that we understand that a personal and simple why can be beneficial and important, how do we each find that which is most meaningful for us?

Begin with your personal why by honestly answering some of these questions:

- What do I live for? For whom?

- Why do I live?

- Why do I really want to live?

- What drives me?

- What do I really enjoy doing?

- What do I want to try more of?

It is OK to start on a larger scale and then hone in on specific areas of your life. Your “why” will likely be different for different areas of work, projects, hobbies, relationships or other experiences. And, your “why” may change over time.

Be open to giving yourself the gift of curiosity as you explore your simple why. You’ll inspire others simply by exploring and living out loud.

After all, sometimes the reason for your “why” can be as simple as “why not?”

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

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