find your why
“Start where you are, with what you have. Make something of it and never be satisfied.”
George Washington Carver
In this day and age, stories surface somewhat frequently of someone catching their “big break”. They have a moment of clairvoyance, or in some cases, having a large sum of money come their way, all which make achieving their personal dreams or their dream lifestyle very much within their grasp. These stories have become common enough that they appear to be reported on what seems like every few days. The stories provide a break in the clouds of negativity created by modern politics, outbreaks of violence, foreign affairs, etc., and overall at a surface level, these stories appear to be entirely positive.
The truth is these stories are daydreams that allow us to fantasize about the “wouldn’t it be great if…” scenarios while we continue to work at a job we’re not passionate about, afraid to chase our passions, and slowly meander our way towards a lackluster retirement that’s destined to be full of regrets. We expect that if we continue to bide our time, eventually we will happen upon that moment that redefines our existence. This is one of the crutches that has plagued the average man and will likely continue to do so.
Many of us who find ourselves going through the motions in life do, in fact, have the potential to achieve the lofty dreams that we consider mostly unachievable. Making the transition from having the potential to achieve a dream or goal, to actually being on track to conquering said goal, comes down to making the choice to be dedicated, creative, and honest. Dedication is the most important of these three attributes. Once you are dedicated to your goal and your dream, you will typically do everything in his power to move towards it. Creativity is invaluable as it helps to set the course for how to reach that dream, keeping in mind your current circumstances and how you can optimize your situation to be conducive to your plan. Take stock of what resources are available, which people in your life can help you to achieve your goals, and how you can best utilize both. Honesty, especially with oneself, is the most difficult of the three skills to master. It is what ties the other two qualities together to ask questions such as ‘Could I be doing more to reach this goal?’, ‘Am I working as hard towards this as I could be?’ or if progress isn’t being made, ‘Where are my true priorities right now?’. Constantly refining and applying these features to one’s pursuit and character, in the end, may not lead to the exact goal originally intended, but I promise you will pave the road to success.
Find Your Why
During my days as a college wrestler, one of my assistant coaches always talked about ‘finding the why’ in your work. As a freshman and sophomore, I didn’t fully understand what he meant and quickly dismissed it as some motivational coaching gimmick. Before I knew it, I was partway through my third season of competition and I had started to look back on what my efforts had brought me thus far. I was ashamed when I realized that I had lost my sense of pride in performance. I took pride in being a college wrestler as it is an elite circle that only one percent of high school competitors enter, but I was essentially striving for a participation trophy at best. Those first two seasons I had fallen into the habit of going through the motions, half-heartedly competing, and essentially just “punched the clock”. I began to contemplate what my coach had been attempting to drill into my head of the benefits of exploring 'the why' in your life. When he posed this question, he gave it in the context of asking yourself why we were performing certain drills and why we would execute them a specific way. Once I began to apply this technique, I found much more success in my training and my mindset changed completely. I began to take a great deal of pride in performing at my best and in understanding the importance of drills, which directly translated to success in competition.
Now that my wrestling career is over, I have continued to apply this mentality to other aspects of my life. Finding the why in my late nights of studying, the long hours of a miserable work shift, or the grueling depths of a workout has helped me to stay faithful to the goals I have set for myself.
So what are you waiting for? Expect excellence of yourself, commit fully and find your why.