I received a email from a friend:
I keep on getting adverts for "motivational programmes", that pretty much all seem to start with "Finding your Why?". I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this as it's something that I find really confusing: surely the vast majority of "Why?"s that people come up with stem fundamentally from our egos, and are therefore still centred around creating a goal to temporarily patch up the fundamental lack that we feel when doing nothing?
One of the more noxious messages from the self-development world is this idea that you should "Find your why", like meaning in life is an easter egg or something.
Not only does this reinforce a narrative of lack.
This sets people who feel a lost on a wild goose chase for something that can't be found.
Firstly, there isn't really any inherent meaning to life. You make it what you want.
Secondly, this ability to choose meaning, is correlated to your self-worth, and building self-worth requires sitting still and being with yourself for long periods of time, not running around looking for easter eggs.
In my experience, the way to "find your why" is not with big visionary statements and purpose finding… that stuff is powerful but it comes later down the track.
My theory is that purpose, happiness (and peak performance) begins with appreciating the splendours of the mundane.
Just become good at one little thing. Become proficient at becoming aware of one little thing.
Getting good at or being aware of one little thing means focusing the mind. Only by training the mind to be aware of the subtle nuances of little things, can our mind ever appreciate the magnificent and wondrous mysteries of life, such as why we are here.
To get the ball rolling, you have to have a solid foundation of attentional control- the ability to focus deeply.
This is how you access your highest states of performance… every day… and when you intentionally access peak states every day, its easy to complete your goals, your work is high quality, you have fun, and your baseline of confidence spirals upwards.
From that place, will emerge your visionary purpose and a "why” that feels real and reachable. in my humble opinion.