The ‘Why?’ Mantra
Remember your ‘Why?’ or your reason before undertaking any task. That is the core message of this post. Your ‘Why?’ may evolve over time depending on a number of factors. When I first had this thought a couple of days ago it made perfect sense to me and made me realise that this was the perfect method for establishing the exact right mindset for any task ahead of me.
I’ll get into the nitty gritty shortly but firstly a simple example. You wake up and you realise that you have to go to work. You don’t feel like going and feel like taking a sickie. Before you call in though you remember that you have deadlines that need to be met for that day and missing work will result in you getting 10 lashes! :-O
You’ve now established your ‘Why?’ for the day. Your ‘Why’ thought is: “I have to get to work because if I don’t it will result in me getting in trouble. You’ve basically now started your day with a thought that isn’t very inspiring or even remotely uplifting to you. It’s a thought of necessity; a poor one at that. When you start your day this way it’s no wonder that you’ll feel low and unmotivated.
See if you can think of time when you have thought along those lines. What was the outcome? How did you feel? What was the resulting quality of your work? Call it your purpose, reason and/or why and you’ll begin to see that any activity will be heavily influenced by your ‘Why?’ thought. This can apply to any task you do. It could be a hobby, your job or even voluntary work.
Any time your ‘Why?’ comes from a very limited frame of reference you’re going to struggle at whatever you do. You will suffer from lethargy. The good news is you can change that using what I call: ‘The Why? Mantra’. Before I go into more detail about it it’s important to note that your ‘Why?’ may change and you may also frame your ‘Why’ from different perspectives.
I’ll give you an example of mine and my morning radio show. My morning show is there mainly as a form of entertainment and information. Before I go and do the show I’ll think about why I’m there doing it; sometimes I think from a single viewpoint and other times I take a broader perspective. Yesterday morning I was thinking about providing joy and laughter to the listeners which in turn is beneficial for good health and well being.
If I wanted to I could include the perspective of my career. I could think: I’m doing the show to build on my experience and allow it lead me onto my bigger goals for radio. There are also times when I also think from the perspective of doing it purely for my enjoyment too. I love it when people get interactive and the response I get from people which energises me to do even better!
Because I love radio so much it’s difficult to think of any poor ‘Why?’ statements before I’ve done it. There have been occasions when I’ve had some for this blog. Occasionally I’ve forgotten the real reason why I’m doing this and only focussed on my hit count and as a result my posts have been of a poor quality. When I get back to the real ‘Why?’ for doing this then I feel inspired and the posts are of a much higher quality.
The stronger your ‘Why?’ mantra the more productive you’ll be and the more you’ll get from your task. This is powerful for the things you want to be doing but even more so for things that you do not want to be doing. Life isn’t perfect and yes there will be things you’ll have to do. When talking about the power of choice in schools kids have always responded with the fact they are there because they have to be.
In cases where you have to be somewhere you can still change your ‘why?’ mantra into something which gives you that extra zing, as opposed to a feeling of desperation or hopelessness. You will get a direct correlation between your ‘Why?’ mantra and what you get out of the task. The stronger your mantra; the more you will get from it. Simples 😉
Don’t try and mask your thoughts with rosy peachy ‘nice’ thoughts. Use the power of the truth to help you move through this. Masking the truth will only make it harder for you to move forward. Whatever you’re feeling is real and it can be shifted. I recommend small shifts rather than big jumps. Big jumps will only work if you’re in the right mindset to begin with but if you’re feeling low and frustrated, baby steps is the way to go!
Scenario 1. – I work for this horrible company in this small office; I don’t get paid much money and I don’t really get appreciated for the work I do so why should I do more than I have to? It’s paying the bills, putting food on the table and leaving me with some small change for socialising. This job is giving me very little, if any, excitement in my life. I’m going to leave at finish time on the dot because I can and I don’t want to stay longer than necessary. I’m basically working to live right now.
Your Alternate ‘Why?’ Mantra – Yes I have bills to pay and yes I’m not enjoying the job but I’m deciding to adopt a different perspective. This job is just a stepping stone in the right direction. It’s providing me with my livelihood whilst also preparing me for my next level jump. This stage is a part of my bigger journey. I will learn what I can and use this experience to move forward with my life.
You can see the difference straight away. This is just one example and shortly I’ll provide another of a different scenario. It’s important to do this regularly; daily if possible and before the task in question. If you spend just a few minutes remembering to do this you whole feeling, approach and mindset will change towards the task in front of you.
You’re basically establishing your purpose for being there. When you expand on your purpose you’re giving your life a deeper meaning for you and framing it in a way that empowers your life. Take a look around you and notice those people who are always doing well. They will always be the kind of people who have a very clear purpose and as a result are incredibly focussed. To get focussed your purpose needs to be clear.
Scenario 2. – I’ve just started my own business and things are not going great. It’s a tough economic period and I’m not getting the sales. My only concern is getting that next sale; it’s all about the next sale! Without the sales I have no revenue and without revenue I have no money for myself or to even expand my business.
Your Alternate ‘Why?’ Mantra – I started this business because I believe my product will change the market. I know this business will be a huge success and once people understand what we’re capable of they will see our potential and our product will be irresistible to them. I know that every single encounter is a new business opportunity. I will smile and sell because I simply love doing it!
Again you can see a huge difference between the two. If you’ve been doing something already for a long time then any habituated thought will be difficult to change at first so I recommend writing down your new ‘Why?’ mantra. Read it every day before you undertake the task. Remind yourself of it regularly.
I remember a while back I went through this phase where I was incredibly bored at work. There wasn’t much work to do and I even let the free time go to waste. I hated that feeling and so I basically said to myself that I was going to learn one new thing each day. That astoundingly simple thought changed my entire feeling at work. Even though there still wasn’t much work on, so long as I’d learned that one new thing, I felt like I’d fulfilled my purpose for the day.
Scenario 3. – I hate spending time with the family; I could be elsewhere doing something better with my time. It’s so boring being with the family; spending time with them is a chore and I can’t wait for the time to come to an end. If I sit here long enough nodding my head they’ll think I’m listening…but what was the name of that song I heard on the radio the other day? 😛
Your Alternate ‘Why?’ Mantra – My time with my family is valuable. Who knows when our last moments could be so I’m going to cherish this time right now. I’m also going to use this as a reason to get my family interested in my life and ask about me. I’m going to find a way to turn this time into a fun time for all of us and create memories for a lifetime.
These kinds of mantras can be used for any situation. You can use them for your relationship with your spouse, if you play a sport or even for generating powerful reasons to do well at your studies. The applications for this are limitless. Go ahead, think of one now and make a start in creating a new ‘Why?’ mantra.
When this idea and understanding came to me I realised that this is such an important part of life. I’m a believer that your purpose is what you make it. If you can create a purpose that is in line with your ultimate goal in life, then you will have no problems staying inspired, to do what it is you love doing, without becoming clouded by the daily grind.
Here’s a reminder of what to do:
1. For any aspect or activity in your life take a close look at how you begin the task. Recognise the type of thought you currently use to initiate the task. When you do write it down. (Remember that recognition is always the first step to change.)
2. Now that you know how you begin it find some quiet time to think about what your purpose is for being there. This is either a discovery or a creation. Sometimes the answer will pop into your head and other times you will choose what it is for you.
3. Write down your new ‘Why?’ mantra and practise it daily before doing your task. You’ll be amazed a the results. When you get used to this process try it for another activity; a hobby or some voluntary work that you do.
4. Remember that you ‘Why?’ mantra doesn’t have to be set in stone. It’s allowed to change and evolve over time. Review it every once in a while and if what you have now doesn’t inspire you then rewrite it.