I touched on the subject of having a powerful “Why”, and using it to create change and to propel you forward (in this post. To sum up: Faith without works is dead.)
Oftentimes, for the average person, finding this Why can be difficult. Where do you even begin? 90% of people, during the very first conversation about their Why, will tell me this: “because I want more money.” Then I have the familiar follow up question: “Oh? Great! Why do you need more money??” The typical answer is one a lot of us can probably relate to. “It would be nice not to be worried about my bills, or whether or not I can afford all the groceries I need to buy this week.” My follow-up question will usually go in the direction of, “Okay. That’s a great goal! What will you do once your bills and food are covered?” Blank stares. Open mouths.
Sadly, a large portion of people don’t have any greater aspirations beyond these common daily stresses.
Rather than discuss how to obtain a Why, I’d like to share mine with you.
Have you ever thought it’s weird that we inherit physical genetic traits, perhaps even certain patterns of behavior that come with constant exposure to our loved ones – yet we don’t inherit personality, dreams or passions? No matter what, we are all unique. I believe that we are all born with talents, attributes and spirit. I wish that every single person on this planet would discover who they really are, hopefully early enough to create something spectacular with their lives.
Something I find especially interesting, specifically because it pertains to me personally, is this idea that people have to “grow up”. Now I agree that we NEED to leave certain parts of our childhood behind us in order to function in society. But what does it mean to “grow up”? I truly embrace the part of me (let’s face it, the biggest part) that is and always will remain childish. My wife (the love of my life) shares this quality with me, and I think it’s one of the greatest reasons for our powerful connection. It’s also why our home is full of comic books, story books, wacky candlesticks, toys, fandom paraphernalia, and Batman themed shirts/phone cases/ties/socks/suspenders/action figures, and yes, cologne. Yeah, we’re huge nerds. Yeah, I drank out of a disney princess mug this morning that my daughter isn’t even allowed to touch, and YEAH, a giant Kiki’s Delivery Service poster has stared me to sleep each night for the past two years. But the truth is, it’s all precious. I mean that word seriously, precious. Material things aren’t what’s most important, we know, but there are just certain things that represent the sanctuary my wife and I have built together; there is very little in that sanctuary we don’t embrace and love. Like my wife always says. “I-I guess I just like liking stuff!”
This childish attachment and love has evolved over the years, and now goes much farther than just material belongings. I have always been a pretty sensitive guy (I cry on a whim) when it comes to the suffering of others. Especially women, and even more strongly, children. I can’t watch, for example, a two minute video of some child somewhere being bullied, abused, neglected or starving without bawling my eyes out. This sensitivity has only been intensified with having my own child – and let me tell you, feeling everything this strongly on a regular basis gets pretty heavy…
I want to be honest about the fact that I pray… A LOT. In my constant quest to improve myself, I feel it’s a good idea to check in with Big Guns once in awhile and see what needs work (I need tuning on a regular basis). One particular morning, I was pondering this side of me, this tenderness that seems to hurt me more than serve me…and I had an impression: this is a part of who I am, and it’s there for a reason.
It is there to power me on my mission.
Mission is a strong word, I know. But when you’re sobbing in a corner over a Sarah Mclachlan commercial, those strong words just seem to get it done. As of that moment, I suppose I had yet to discover what felt like my true calling in life, that thing I could contribute that would mean something even after I was gone. Suffering hurts – duh. Second-hand suffering hurts. Third and fourth and ninety-ninth-hand suffering hurts. I want to help alleviate that suffering where I can, as experienced by the children of our world.
To truly make an impact on that front, money is a powerful resource. It’s important to view money as something that doesn’t come TO you, but flows THROUGH you. What is it you are truly passionate about? Whose pain do you identify with and want to alleviate? What amazing art do you have inside you that you need to unleash? The real difference between man and animal isn’t problem solving, to me, it’s creation. The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.
I believe the primary reason that we are all here is to serve one another (hence this blog and my work), and if that’s the case then we need to be sensitive to one another’s pain. We just need to, okay? We need to support and bear one another’s burdens. We have an incredible privilege to live in a country where freedom and opportunity are almost Limitless. This, in my mind, comes with a powerful responsibility. (I won’t even quote Spiderman here… see how “grown up” I can be?)
Now, I have progressed pretty well in my quest for identity the past few years, and my Why has emerged from that journey. Ask me what my Why was four years ago and the answer would have been completely different. The point I want to make is, your Why needs to be bigger than you. It needs to motivate you to take action. But believe me when I say that when you first find your Why, and progress towards your goals… you will discover who you TRULY are. Be prepared to (and be okay with) having your Why evolve as you do. Personal evolution is its own reward.