The Monday Motivation - Finding courage and asking ourselves Why?
People say courage is the key to success. Some say that achievements in life can't happen without having the courage to take that all-important step towards one’s true desires. Others say courage is the willingness to act in the spite of fear and that courage starts with vulnerability.
If I were to describe courage in my own words it would read something like this:
‘Courage is having the ability to make brave and bold decisions in the face of difficulty, danger and pain – without fear. It’s about enabling oneself to act upon one’s inner desires. It is determined by the quality of one’s mind.'
It takes courage to stand up to others who put you down. It takes courage to quit your job and kick-start your own company. It sometimes even takes courage to get out of bed in the morning.
Being courageous is simple. To act upon a courageous decision is an entirely different thing and requires bravery, desire and true motivation.
At the start of this post, I mentioned that courage starts with vulnerability . These are the words of the one and only Simon Sinek. I recently started reading his book Start with Why. I encourage anyone who hasn’t read it to pick up a copy. Having read only four chapters myself so far, it's been both an enjoyable read and a powerful personal wake-up call. Sinek’s book has me asking myself my very own ‘why?’: Why do I get up in the morning? Why do I love my job? Why do I drink so much coffee? 😉
But in all seriousness… there’s so much in that one question that can really allow us to think deeply about the status quo. You may remember reading my first blog post and reading about how I spent many years attempting to be a blogger and always gave up...because I didn't have a 'Why?'.
Here's something to think about...as children we are encouraged to ask questions, to be curious about life, and to find out what it is that we love and do it. However, as we get older, our curiosity diminishes. We stop asking questions, stop challenging ourselves, and become more concerned with fitting in rather than challenging the status quo.
Even though Sinek writes his book from the context of how to build great companies and the importance of real leadership, with some truly remarkable examples and stories, the power of using his ideas and asking ourselves our very own why can lead to us finding a deeper meaning of where our own motivations come from.
Asking ourselves ‘why?’ can be a deeply courageous move. The truth of the matter is however, that fear stops a lot of people from asking why, mainly because they either don’t want to know the answer, are too afraid of the answer, or feel guilty if they know the answer and don’t do anything about it. If you know you’re not happy in your job, do you have the guts, motivation and drive to change? If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t have a future, do you have the courage to end it? If you’re desperate to start your own business, are you willing to take whatever risks are necessary to make it happen?
Asking ‘why?’ can lead to significant changes. Asking ‘why’ impacts how we see our life, our future and it can even determine the people we prioritise and spend time with. To give you one inspiring example, writer Becky Wright contributed a great piece for the online magazine happiful.com titled The pursuit of happiness. She writes about how three individuals changed their lives for the better by asking themselves 'why?’ and realising their deepest desires in life.
Life is a journey — an experience like no other — and with that journey, change and growth will happen, but only if you embrace it. Asking yourself ‘why?’ is part of that process, as it helps you to understand yourself, those around you, and society’s expectations. Knowing your WHY gives you the impetus to make choices in your life that will help you find greater fulfilment.
So here’s my challenge to you. I’m not asking you to start making any revolutionary life-altering changes. I’m not asking you to quit your job or change the world, I’m not even asking you to write anything down. All I ask is for you to think of anything in your life that doesn’t make sense, makes you unhappy or new challenges you want to pursue. I ask that you ask yourself ‘why?’ Because it’s the ‘why?’ that will get your backside into gear. It’s the ‘why?’ that will give you the drive to effect change and it’s the ‘why?’ that will ultimately bring about real happiness.
So, are you willing to step up, be courageous and ask why?
I will leave that decision with you.
 Simon Sinek-Why Real Courage Starts with Vulnerability