Shorten the path to what you really want

Everything we do is motivated by a deeper reason. We don't often understand what this reason is - we just "feel" it. It's what we generally refer to as trusting your gut. This is why you'll hear people will say they married their spouse because they "complete them," whatever that means. Or perhaps they can't rationalize what they do at all - they just stutter and stumble over their words until finally they settle on, "I just did, okay?"

Understanding why we do what we do is the foundation of understanding ourselves. And as we understand ourselves, we can finally begin shaping ourselves into who we want to become. This is the reason councilors exist.

We know what we do, we just don't know why we do it.

Breaking down the mental barriers that seem to crop up every time we delve into the "why" of our actions is not as hard as it may seem. You just need to know what to do.


1. Ask yourself why.

And answer honestly. What is the first reason that comes to your head when you ask yourself why? It's not going to be correct. Don't worry about this - just ask and answer. What you'll probably end up answering with is a "what." It's the most tangible, clear answer to your "why." The one that your brain actually knows how to put into words.

Q: Why do I want to start a business?
A: Because I want to make money.


2. Do it again.

Ask "why?" in response to your answer to your previous "why." The first level was to force you to rationalize the reasons that you feel but can't put into words. Once you've gotten them out, you can dissect them further. Obviously, you wouldn't start a business simply to make money. There are plenty of jobs that fit that bill (like all of them). Time to go deeper. More than likely, you'll begin digging into the "how" - one step deeper than "what." Your "how" deals with the distinct way in which you want your "why" to play out.

Q: Why do I want to make money?
A: Because I want to be able to travel the world.


3. You guessed it. One more time.

Now you're beginning to get the hang of things, I can tell. Ask yourself, "why?" one more time. This round, you'll hopefully discover what your heart truly desires. Your "why."

Q: Why do I want to travel the world?
A: Because I'm bored with my current lifestyle, I crave adventure and I believe that novelty and new experiences will fulfill that longing.

Wow... that's why you want to start a business? I had no idea. Well, here's the beautiful thing about understanding why you make the decisions that you do:

You can often shortcut your route to what you want.

For example, if you want to start a business so that eventually you can be fulfilled through adventure, perhaps you can find a job that allows you to travel and work remotely. It would be a quicker solution since starting and growing a business to the point that you can disappear for a few weeks at a time often takes many years of discipline and sleepless nights. What if you found a job that would allowed you to work from anywhere in the world with a wifi connection? Money, mobility and adventure - everything you wanted. Move when you want to, live and experience new cultures, do work that you enjoy. It's a quicker route to what you actually want.

Ask yourself why. Then do it again. Then once more. You'll be surprised what you find at the end.