It’s Not Why, It’s What

It’s Not Why, It’s What

People spend a lot of time trying to figure out the “why” of life. Why am I here? Why did this happen to me? Why didn’t this happen to me? Why is the world the way it is? This is OK. It’s why humans are drawn to religion, philosophy, and science. But, it’s not the right way to go if you want to further your path towards self actualization. Instead, there’s a better way to do it. Instead of asking why, ask what?

I came to the realization that I needed to shift my focus after learning about personal energy and fatigue. The belief is that worry, obsession of unimportant details, needless rumination, or even a lack of routine surrounding simple tasks can deplete a person. For years I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the why of life. I needlessly obsessed over it, and probably spent too much energy on it. Instead, I would have been better off taking an objective look at myself and where I wanted to go, and make plans to move forward. This is a much better use of your energy, which in turns becomes a much better use of your most precious and finite resource: time.

Is there a why?

Trying to find the why of life, in all honest opinion, will lead you nowhere. The truth is nobody really knows the answer. I have tried understanding life through philosophy by reading Kant and Nietzsche. I’ve tried to understand it through religion by reading the bible, catechisms, and the publications of saints. I’ve tried to understand it through science by reading books on the universe, genetics, and psychology. I’ve even tried to understand it through the filter of economics, by trying to pull truths from Keynes and Hayek. I learned how to see the world in different frameworks, but I never really found the answer to “why?”

If not, then what?

The real purpose of life is to just try to be the best version of you. I’ve come to this realization and I’ve shifted my focus to it. There’s no real point in trying to find meaning in the chaos when you can find meaning in personal growth. Instead of trying to understand why you overeat, just admit you overeat and devise a plan to move forward. If you have trouble with relationships, just focus on making contact with positive people who you can learn from and who’ll help you in your goals. The important thing here is to break with the past and focus on the future. Be the best husband, father, friend, coworker, boss, that you can possibly be. Just be better.

If I know the what, now what?

Now that you’re ready to look forward and not backwards anymore, it’s time to make a plan. 99% of the time when someone is stuck it’s because they struggle setting goals that are aligned with their strategic vision of what they want their life to be. Goals can be based on learning a new skill, meeting new people, improving one’s health, or developing meaningful relationships. Cut ties with the past. You life in a country that was founded on second chances, so don’t get bogged down in the “would’ve/should’ve/could’ve” that doesn’t get anyone anywhere.