WHY is more important than HOW

For many important tasks, the question isn’t whether we have the capability…a lot of it is a test of our will.  If there are others who’ve accomplished something similar to what you want to accomplish, then it is possible for you to do it.  It’s not guaranteed, it may not actually happen, but it’s possible.  If you’re like me, too often you’ve gotten overwhelmed or stuck, trying to figure out how.  My suggestion is to focus on the why, because why is much more important than how.

I was an above-average student at my public high school who quickly realized that at a private university, I was a below-average student.  I consider myself intelligent, but not ‘school smarts’ – kind of intelligent.  After my first semester at college, I was put on academic probation and after my 2nd, I was kicked out for poor grades.  It was humiliating and I felt totally defeated and lost a lot of confidence.  Why couldn’t I succeed?  I attended (most of) my classes and did the coursework and studied with fellow students who succeeded and yet…I was unsuccessful.  In fact, it seemed like I was doing everything that other, successful friends of mine were doing.  I was so discouraged and felt like a total failure.  Worst of all, I didn’t know what to do or how to do it, or even what to do next.

After a two-year break and thanks to a generous program to give kids like me one more chance, I was able to try again.  The conditions were that I could come back for a half-semester, taking challenging classes from a select list, and had to deliver a 3.5 GPA minimum in order to return to full, normal status.  It was a one-time chance for me.  Because it was a half semester, the classes moved at twice the pace and it was very challenging.  It was a struggle to keep up but I did it.

How did I do it?  Did I magically become a different person, somehow with more school smarts? I had tried to be successful at college for 2 previous semesters and failed.  It seemed that I didn’t know how and/or didn’t have the ‘goods’ to be successful there.

But there wasn’t a strong enough WHY for me until that time. I took the challenge as a last chance to redeem myself for a shot at college.  If I didn’t succeed, I knew that college was out for me and that would have a huge impact on the opportunities available to me in life.

What changed?  The classes weren’t easier and I didn’t suddenly become school smart.  The difference was WHY.  I had to buckle down and learn to do something that I wasn’t very good at or comfortable with (left brain school smarts) and develop it.  See Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone

Being forced to develop the skill and discipline that I didn’t have at the time, so that I could be a moderately competitive student was a great lesson for me.  Right brain, creative talents like music and drama are relatively easy and fun for me.  Left brain, school-smarts are easy and fun for others.  Learning to be marginally competent in something that I wasn’t particularly good at, was a good life skill.

Getting back into school and eventually graduating (my 4 year degree in 5 years…<ahem>) was an accomplishment for someone like me.  It was difficult but I got it done.

When I figured out the WHY, the HOW fell right into place because the biggest thing that I lacked was the self discipline to succeed there, no matter how hard it was for me or how easy it seemed to be for my peers.  There were many who barely studied and got A’s.  I had to work twice as hard and fight for every passing grade.

My college days are long gone but now when I’m struggling with figuring out how to do something, I try to remember to start with the WHY.  Is this task important?  Why is it so important?  The answers to those questions help me to stay motivated and on task.

I hope this is somehow helpful for you.  All the best,


And because I simply can’t resist, here’s a very cheesy video for today’s theme:





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