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Most Important: Find Out Your Why

Whenever you do something in life, whether a simple small action to a big change in your life, please think about why it is important to you or why it is worth doing.

Mindset is the make or break of your life, so if somehow an action you’re doing is separating you from the path you’ve set for yourself, you’ll thank yourself for catching it on time and preventing further going away from it.

Elon Musk once said: “One of the biggest traps for smart engineers is optimizing something that shouldn’t exist.” He later attributed this to the Convergent Thinking we’re taught in schools. In school, you cannot challenge the teacher for asking for a better problem, you must solve the problem and that’s it. Divergent thinking is not incentivized throughout the academic program, but it’s a tool we could benefit from if we cultivate it.

Divergent thinking is the tool that will enable us to evaluate the meaning of our actions towards our objectives in life.

The most common reason we take action is because of external drivers. Are we trying to impress someone? Are we people pleasers? Are we trying to earn the approval of others? If so, avoid the justification of yourself for these actions. While good decisions can originate from the wrong reasons, finding out why you’ve taken these actions will determine the cumulative success of your group of actions. The same action done for the wrong reason, even though in theory should have the same result, will be in the dissonance of an overall path, and therefore, not produce the optimal results we could be striving for. Example: It’s not the same to shave and groom for them than to do it for yourself to feel good.

The difficulty of challenging your reason to do things is that your identity could be attached to an external motivator. The risk of it is that if that external condition changes or disappears, it will break part of your identity and negatively affect your ego. An internal motivator will last longer because it’s not bound to change unless you want to, and it’s empowered by your discipline if you do it repeatedly enough. That in itself is beneficial for compounding the success of your actions, because of the stability discipline implies.

A good reason to do stuff is for the personal growth of ourselves. Buy a house? Yes, if it’s for the reason of understanding the finances required for it. Attend a college to get a degree? Yes, if it’s for obtaining the discipline of studying advanced topics. Buying a house because at a certain age you should have one? The bad reason, it’s externally driven and it’s related to seeking validation.

I cannot understate the importance of the why: You might be missing the entire point of it all. It might be a cover for a deeper problem, we might be lacking self-confidence or good old self-love. Seeking validation, the root of most of our whys is the compensation for a lack of something. Identifying this issue is the start point of our path to the solution.

Attempting to fool yourself, to fool others will take a toll on you. Fooling yourself is paid with the opportunity cost of developing your own personal growth.

NOTE: This post was rewritten almost entirely. The previous one didn't do justice.

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