I recently stumbled upon an intriguing essay prompt: “What is your personal ‘why’?”
It’s an interesting question, and it took a few days of reflection to land an answer, but eventually the right words dawned on me. It’s a perspective, even an obsession, that I’ve carried with me for a while.
So here goes. My personal ‘why’: To Create Space for a State of Flow.
I could go on about the why behind this why, but essentially the first phrase has a double meaning. ‘To create space’ nods to my love of interior design, experiential design, nature, architecture, lighting, cities…really spaces of all kinds. To create space also speaks to creativity, imagination, and living with an open-mind.
Second, flow is such an odd word. In this context, I mean flow as a state of complete immersion within the present moment, no matter if that means being engrossed in a good conversation, wrestling with Python code, or practicing yoga.
Finally, put together, my why is always centered around finding that next natural high on life. That period of time where everything except the here and now slips away.
Now the ‘how’ to that ‘why’ above is a whole other story.
What is my ‘how’? No really. What drives me to live by my ‘why’? And how do I motivate myself to push for a life that brings in more of that ‘why’?
It’s hard to define but it’s definitely a verb and a feeling.
I first felt it in school as a small kid, when I shot up my hand to offer a new take on the discussion at hand, and then again many times as an adult when I moved to a new city. The feeling is a strange blend of scary vulnerability and burning belief.
When I commit to my why it usually happens like this. I dream up a wild idea – to play out personally or professionally. And finally muster up the courage to write it down or say it out loud. Then I grapple with its impossibility, questioning, arguing, and interrogating the inclination.
If the idea is worth its salt, it becomes something solid enough to take seriously. All of a sudden its original whispyness is full of potency and potential. I often don’t know where my why will land, but I know to my core it always starts with one thing.
My how: Conviction — More specifically the practice of cultivating conviction.
It is the zen of knowing when something feels right, and the fire of knowing it’s worth fight for. You have to feel it to know it, and know it to feel it, but without a doubt, cultivating conviction is my how.
How about you? What is your ‘how’ and your ‘why’?