Leadership

Remember Your Why

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We are collection of our habits and that which we can remember. Actually a memory is the foundation of leadership. All leadership starts with ourselves.

Many of us remember what we need to do when we wake up: i.e. “ugh work…”

I’ve been familiar with this, for long periods of time I’ve remembered what I am going to do and I’ve not always felt so inspired. There is the story of stonemasons in the Start with Why by Simon Sinek:

Consider the story of two stonemasons.  You walk up to the first stonemason and ask, “Do you like your job?”  He looks up at you and replies, “I’ve been building this wall for as long as I can remember.  The work is monotonous.  I work in the scorching hot sun all day.  The stones are heavy and lifting them day after day can be backbreaking.  I’m not even sure if this project will be completed in my lifetime.  But it’s a job.  It pays the bills.”  You thank him for his time and walk on.

About thirty feet away you walk up to a second stonemason.  You ask him the same question, “Do you like your job?”  He looks up and replies, “I love my job.  I’m building a cathedral.  Sure, I’ve been working on this wall for as long as I can remember and yes, the work is sometimes monotonous.  I work in the scorching hot sun all day.  The stones are heavy and lifting them day after day can be backbreaking.  I’m not even sure if this project will be completed in my lifetime.  But I’m building a cathedral.”

This story has applied to my life very well, on some moments when I’ve felt really inspired, I’ve done things fort he story. On the other times, when work has just been doing, it means I’ve forgotten the purpose, the why. I don’t know about your memory, however, I can acknowledge that my memory is not that great. I like to outsource quite a lot of my thinking on paper, calendars and to of course cloud.

I don’t need to be reminded, yet I am very humble about the memory capacity and I acknowledge the limitations of the memory and most of all the conscious capacity to access that memory.

I mentioned earlier that we are our habits and our memory, but it is actually the conscious space to access that memory. In the The Power of Habit Charles Duhigg gives interesting example that our habits can remain, even if our memories are impaired. It is a powerful discovery and has led me to become the believer of habits overall. I also believe in systems that reinforce or transform those habits.

One magic system I recommend you to try is to remember your why in the morning, instead of what. Remember why you wake up in the morning. That’s what Japanese call Ikigai.

 

P.s. In case you want some inspiration I warmly recommend to check out the latest interview of Elon Musk at TED. Elon Musk has a team and resources behind him to be able to chase such daring dreams, yet it wasn’t always so. We all must start what we have and in fact all the people in our lives make our teams, we can inspire in the same way these people.

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