I am reading a book at the moment by Simon Sinek, called ‘Start With Why’.
It is focused on business and entrepreneurship at the moment, but it’s lessons can be applied to anything.
Sinek writes that business’ that focus on WHY they do what they do, and not WHAT they produce or HOW they do it, are the ones that are the most successsful.
They are the ones that we trust, they are the ones that are exciting and passionate. It is why Apple dominates across a variety of markets even though it’s products are not always the best.
Companies that list off a series of features about their product and explain why it is better than another do not appeal to us emotionally. They do know that they have a product and they know how they made it, but they do not tell us WHY they are doing what they are doing.
This is why Apple has a cult following.
It is why certain people seem authentic and magnetic while others seem fake.
Businesses like Apple do not appeal to our rational, conservative mind. They do of course have a comparable and cutting edge product but they choose to appeal to our hearts and our gut. Most Apple users cannot explain to you why they bought the newest iPhone as opposed to Googles more superior Nexus. They simply want to be a part of a group, a tribe if you will. Their decision is not made with their rational mind. Their decision is made with their heart.
Sinek explains how two different parts of our brain are in control of our rational thoughts and our gut feelings. The limbic brain is where our gut feelings come from. It is less developed, less rational and more primal. This part of our brain makes us passionate and assertive. Ever just have a ‘gut feeling’ about something, but couldn’t explain why? That’s your limbic brain at work. This part of our brain is what makes us loyal to certain people and certain brands. The limbic brain is powerful.
The neocortex is much more developed and much more rational. It is calm cool and collected and likes to take in as much information as possible before it acts, if it acts. Decisions that are made with this part of the brain take a long time which can make them seem less natural, even forced.
People and companies that let us choose with our Limbic brain, who give us a WHY, are the ones that we are the most loyal to. We will choose them over other people and products that are empirically better. We will stick with them even though another company offers us a better deal. We do this because they give us a WHY and not just a WHAT or a HOW.
I have been recently really searching for my WHY in life. I’m not talking about the classic ‘Why am I here?’ but I have been examining why I do certain things. Why am I acting towards others the way I do. Why do I train? Why am I lazy? Why do I strive to learn more through reading? Why do I procrastinate?
This is something that I think we should all do. If we do not start with a WHY in our lives then everything that we produce will not be authentic. It will not come from the heart, or rather the limbic brain.
I would encourage you to question why you do certain things. I think that it will lead you to some interesting realizations. This should be a positive exercise, but at the same time you should not overlook the negative habits that you have. Once you understand a habit you can break it.
Why do you watch porn? Why do you workout? Why do you get wasted every weekend? Why do you eat healthy foods? Why do you work where you do? Why do you have a hard time creating a lasting relationship? Why do you overthink things? Why do you choose to be in a negative relationship? Why?