“he who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”friedrich nietzsche
simon sinek, in his book “start with why“, shares a profound example (the celery test) that shows the importance of knowing your why.
the celery test is a simple way of helping you make the right decisions. imagine you being at a dinner party and someone says to you, “you know what you need in your business? oreo cookies. if you’re not implementing oreo cookies in your business, i’m telling you, you’re leaving money on the table.” somebody else tells you: “rice milk. in this economy? you have to be using rice milk.” somebody else says to you: “m&ms. we used m&ms in our business, and we made millions! facebook uses m&ms. you’ve gotta do it.” somebody else says to you, “celery. it’s all about celery.” so what do you do? which one do you follow? which item do you buy? it’s all perfectly good advice from perfectly good people with perfectly good evidence. which products do you buy? so we go to the supermarket and we buy them all. we buy celery and rice milk and oreos and m&ms. you may or may not get value out of all of these products, there’s no guarantee. you spend a lot of time at the supermarket, you spend a lot of money at the supermarket, and worse, when you’re standing in line in the supermarket with all of your products in your arms, your celery, your rice milk, your oreos, your m&ms, nobody can see what you believe. because what you bought didn’t necessarily correspond to anything you believe. nobody can see what you believe. so people will walk past you and ignore you. now, imagine if you knew your why. imagine if your why was clear. imagine if your why was to always be healthy and only do things that protect the integrity of your body. you will get all the same advice from all of the exact same smart people. the difference is, when you go to the supermarket, you’re only going to buy celery and rice milk. those are the only two products that make sense. right? you’re guaranteed to get value out of those products. you spend less time at the supermarket, you spend less money at the supermarket, so there’s an efficiency play, and when you’re standing in line at the supermarket holding your celery and holding your rice milk, everyone can see what you believe. so somebody walking past can see, just by looking at your celery and your rice milk, they can look at you and say, “hey, you’re healthy, you believe in being healthy? me too.” congratulations, you just attracted a customer, you just attracted a referral, an employee, an article, a blog, buzz. somebody says, “hey, can you give some advice to me?” you just created that sense of cause in somebody else, simply because you said and did the things you actually believe. here’s the best part: as soon as i said the why, before i even said we’re going to buy celery and rice milk only, as soon as i said the why “to be healthy,” every single person listening to this knew we were only going to buy celery and rice milk before i said it. that’s called “scale.” the more you talk about why you do what you do, those who work with you, those who work for you, those who work around you all know what you need and what the right decisions are, not because they’re trusting your gut, and not because you laid out some set of criteria. it’s because they know why you do what you do, and there are some decisions that are just obvious. they either make sense, or they don’t.
and that’s the power of why.
recommended read: discover your why with this powerful exercise
knowing your why not only makes it easier for you to make decisions but also provides the ever-important motivation/inspiration/support during hard times.
once you know your why, the how and what fall into place with ease.
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peace and power to you