Why Define Your “Why”?
Our subconscious minds work a bit like a radio tower that sends out a signal that, in turn, motivates us toward something or against something. Our focus tends to be heavily influenced by our subconscious mind and it is vitally important that we train our subconscious mind to send out the signals that will help us move in direction we want to move in. I recently finished a mini series helping people understand hinders and motivates us, but the series barely scratched the surface. For the purpose of today’s post you can, at least in some ways, think of your subconscious mind as including major parts of your limbic system. Today I will use the term ‘subconscious’ because it is a word most people have heard a lot about and because it doesn’t exactly line up with our limbic system in every way. The important point I want to make in this introduction is that our subconscious mind influences us an incredibly great deal and if we train this part of our mind in the right way we can be motivated toward our goals and dreams rather than toward what society tells us to focus on (the newest whatever to buy or simply that we don’t look as good or seem as successful as typical media personalities).
The key to programming your subconscious mind the way you want to is to understand why you want what you want. I am a real estate investor and the biggest reason people usually tell me they want to get into investing is because of the money. While it is true that people invest for the money, there is always a deeper reason. In itself money is, at greatest, simply a tool. If you want to be really motivated toward your goals you will need to probe deeper than with the simple answer of money.
How You Define Your Why
As I just pointed out, in order to truly be motivated toward your goals you will need to delve deeper into your desires and values than simply getting what you want right now; money. I am about to teach you an exercise that goes a long way to understanding your deeper desires and what gets you out of bed each morning. When I do this exercise with people I typically need to ask the basic question at least 3 times. With some people I have asked the question 5-6 times before getting to the core of a person’s desires. What I am teaching you is how to get down into your limbic system (centre of emotions and motivations among many other things). When you are done you should experience emotion! When I did this for myself the first time I ended up crying quite a bit by the end. While you don’t necessarily need to cry I cannot emphasize enough that in order to get full benefit out of this exercise you will need to keep going until you experience strong emotion. One more tip before I get into it: This exercise should take time. If it takes you 5 minutes in total, you probably haven’t done it very thoroughly. It can easily take 30-45 minutes of soul searching… and it’s worth the effort!
1. Ask yourself why you want what you say you want (money, a certain job, a relationship, etc.). The first time you ask this question you can simply take the first thought that comes to mind.
2. Ask yourself why you want the answer you gave for the first question. An example here is maybe you said you wanted a job because it will give you money or security or you may have said you wanted a relationship because it will complete you in some way. You now need to ask yourself why you want the security or to be complete. The second time you ask this question the answer will be a little more difficult to discover. That’s ok, work through it. If this step takes a few minutes it is well worth it.
3. You now need to continue asking yourself why in the sequence set above. Keep going…. This is the most difficult part. Each time may take longer to do all the inward processing that is needed. The good news is that this is the absolute least expensive good therapy you will ever receive:) For step three you need to continue asking why until you have reached a deep emotional place within yourself that you know is essential to who you are and want to be.
4. Once you have reached that deep emotional space you need to ask yourself: How will I feel when I realize the answer I am actually seeking deep down (the answer to the last time you had to ask ‘why’). Connect to your emotions here. The more you emotionally connect with yourself the deeper and more solid your goals will be attached to your deepest desires.
5. Now ask yourself: What difference will achieving what I want and may need on a deeper level make in the lives of others around me?
6. Last question: When I see the difference this makes with those around me, how will it affect me? Again you are bringing things back to that which most connects with you on multiple levels.
I would recommend that you write these answers down because they can now form the basis for your own mission statement and will be the backbone of your goals and dreams moving forward. Your ability to achieve your goals will multiply when you do this. Not because it is magical or ingredients to some sort of mind potion. The best psychological research shows that there are clear connections between your deepest emotions and your motivations to do every day tasks that bring you toward or further from your goals.
Note: If practicing this exercise hasn’t taken you to a deep emotional place… no worries. It simply means you aren’t connecting with yourself in a deep way. Many people aren’t able to get there right away and you need to be prepared to have emotions come up that will be uncomfortable. If you are terrified of uncomfortable emotions it may take a few times to feel relaxed enough to connect. Keep going and you will absolutely know when you have connected with yourself in a deeper way.
When To Review Your Why
If you’ve taken the time to go through these questions well, you have completed the most difficult and longest part of motivating yourself consistently. The second part is easier day to day, but will be difficult in a different way if you don’t have a regular routine to your day. Almost every successful person I have ever met or read about has a consistent daily routine.
The last step to this exercise is to remind yourself at least daily why you are doing what you are doing. You don’t need to complete the exercise again and again. You simply need to remind yourself of the final answers you came up with when doing the exercise. You may not see a lot of results in the first week or two, but by the end of the third week if you do this each and every day (once in the morning and maybe even once at night) you will begin to see a difference in how much you accomplish and how you are beginning to think differently. I sincerely believe that if you practice these reminders once or twice each day for two months you would be in a completely different place when it comes to making decisions that move you toward your goal.
I began this post by comparing our subconscious mind to a radio tower that send out signals. Even though it isn’t always obvious to some individuals, the small decisions you make each day toward or away from relationships/money/specific careers are almost always influenced by your subconscious mind. I want to challenge you to work toward your dreams by taking a step back today and working on the part of your mind that will ultimately help work toward or against your goals. While there is much more to success than focusing on what you want, this is a very important early step.