“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
It’s probably been true since the beginning of time, but it seems today that we are constantly going. From the minute we get up in the morning until we finally go to bed at night we’re doing something virtually all the time. And when we’re not doing something, we often feel guilty, like there must be something we should be doing.
Do you ever stop and ask yourself why you’re doing some of those things? Why exactly you’re spending the limited amount of time you have on earth doing this instead of that? I’m not suggesting that you’re wasting your time doing stupid things. I just mean, how often do you really think about why your life is filled with all this activity?
I don’t think understanding why is just some kind of intellectual exercise, something we can write down in a corporate or personal mission statement and hang up on the wall. I think it’s actually an energy booster. It’s pretty easy to go mentally numb when it’s go, go, go, day after day, week after week, year after year. Everything becomes just another routine.
Reminding yourself why is like reigniting the flame on your energy furnace. Getting on the treadmill at 5am every morning eventually becomes mundane and boring and a nuisance – until you remember that the reason for it is how good you feel when you’ve been exercising regularly. Having regular one-on-one meetings with people who work for you eventually gets stale – until you remember that the reason for it is to help your people succeed in ways that perhaps they haven’t even thought of and what that would mean for your business.
It’s easy for us as humans to do things because we’ve always done them, or because we think we’re supposed to do them, or because it seems like everybody else is doing them. When those are our motivations, we have no passion, no energy, no engagement, and we do them at a level that’s far less than our best. Don’t just fill your day with stuff for no good reason. Think about the reason on a regular basis. Remember why you’re here.