According to my mentor’s greatest teaching, the number one question worth answering is purpose. In other words, “What is this for?” A frequent question that greets me as a writer is, “Why?” It might appear the same as “purpose,” but often it is not.
A seemingly innocent “Why do you write?” Or, “Why write about kindness?” might be a veil for preconceived judgment held by the questioner. Regardless of the specific “why” my answer is the same: “Why not.” Why not write? Why not write about kindness? Why not ______? (Insert any words you fancy.)
Why do we feel compelled to defend our “why?” A “why” can imply an intractable position by our questioner. Ask yourself before replying, “why is he/she asking me this specific ‘why?'” Wow, I’ve written a ton of “whys.” Let’s move on to some more word variety, shall we kind reader?
Imagine asking the previous “why” inquiries with the statement “what purpose does writing hold for you?” See how the tone of the question shifts? This illustrates how “why” tends to elicit a defensive response. The “why” recipient senses an undertone of judgment and prepares for psychological battle. Purpose stands without need for defense. It is your truth. Truth is truth.
The same holds true for you, regardless of your profession. Rather than shred your work to pieces and bombard your subconscious with “why,” gently ask yourself “what purpose does this work hold for me?” Then, be still and listen. Forget what others may or may not think. Create for you. Say “Shhh” to your inner critic and amplify your often-inaudible voice of purpose.
Revisiting my example of being a writer, if my purpose is hitting a specific minimum number of views or likes, then I will be miserable more often than not. Let me be clear. There is nothing wrong with setting goals or having a preference. However, once you give away your happiness to an outside source validating your work, you become a slave to the merciless judge of “not enough.” Many psychological thought systems agree with the previous statement. However, what is the purpose behind us giving away our power?
What I am about to share might not be popular and may prompt loud dissent. However, it is my truth. I share it without defense and with the purpose of unlocking the hidden beliefs that limit our success. There is a part of our mind that enjoys feeling “not enough.” As long as we exist in a suspended state of judgment, we also inhabit inertia. Once we venture into “enough” we must choose a direction and move forwards.
Rather than berate our past choices, let’s look upon our previous decisions without preconceived judgment, or with “kindness.” Forgive yourself for finding safety in your stalemates. Let go of the temptation to feel guilty for choosing to stay stuck.
Everyone is fighting the same inner critic’s voice of “not enough.”
You don’t have to go to war with your inner desire to justify your present dilemma via past circumstances.
Stop taking yourself and others so seriously. Let gentle laughter fill your heart at a notion that you could ever loose the ability to respond to what happens to you. It’s impossible. The sooner you recognize this fact, the sooner you can choose again to create without the confines of preconceived judgment. Who cares if you “fail;” success is not the absence of failure. It is accepting the possibility of its presence regardless of external past circumstances.
The next time you feel stuck or inhibited by external forces, pause. Ask yourself: “What is the purpose?” Answer that without defense. Then, do your best to let go and create space for your idea to become bigger than your preconceived limitations or judgment. Keep going. In the end, you shall arrive at your destination of “purpose,” right on time.
What do you think? Let’s continue the conversation. All expressions of kindness are welcome.
Originally published via LinkedIn