#18 WHY Do I Get Up: Figuring Out What Drives Me

I’ve spent the last two posts acting like I don’t know why I get out of bed in the morning. That was a fib. I do know why, but I wanted to trash passion and talent before I gave you my answer.

And I think the best way to share my answer is to start by trashing passion and talent just a little bit more. So here goes.

I grow by tackling things that interest and challenge me. No challenge, no growth. But that means, by definition, I'm going to spend a lot of time feeling frustrated...

“This is a lot harder than I expected.”

“I’m not sure I’m wired right to untangle this one.”

This is the voice of Keith the Quitter. He doesn’t care about “Help Growth Happen” or what’s best for me in the long run. He lives in the here and now and he hates hard stuff.

His biggest problem is that he expects my progress to be painless. A smooth line rising from left to right. Steady, predictable, self reinforcing. And yes, things usually do start out that way. I'll get the basics down in short order. But at some point I’m going to get stuck. Flatline. Plateau.


And that’s when The Quitter turns up the volume. Offers me the perfect face-saving excuses.

"Sorry Keith, not your fault. God just didn't give you this talent."

"Sorry Keith, I guess this just isn't your passion."

Which is why I don’t trust these words to live at the heart of my Map of Me. When I need them the most - facing challenges that interest me - they team up with Keith the Quitter and work against my growth.

And that sucks, because they're pretty cool words. What I need is a word that has their same energy, but without the excuses. 


And that word is WHY. The answer to the question “Why do I get out of bed in the morning?” is to chase my WHY. There’s a brain biology theory behind this answer, but we’ll get to that in the next post. For now, I just want to give you a simple example of how WHY works for me in everyday life.

I enjoy kicking around ideas for diagrams to use on this site. Figuring out what best makes the point I'm trying to make. These thoughts get me out of bed in the morning. They are part of my WHY. 

But, once the idea part is over, I want nothing to do with the actual pencil to paper of the final artwork. It's just not part of my WHY. 

No problem, I work with someone that enjoys doing the final artwork - my wife, Joyce.  She loves transforming thin air into something that has visual meaning. It fits her WHY. It gets her out of bed in the morning. Perfect.

Our WHY's give us the energy of passion and talent without the self-limiting baggage. I’ve never thought of giving up on something I care about due to a lack of God-given WHY or genetic WHY. That sounds stupid.


For me, WHY is a conscious, responsible choice. It feels empowering. It belongs at the dead center of my SELF. In the dead center of my I.

And, as I mentioned above, my brain chemistry might also likes this choice. So next time we’ll dig into the scientific argument for WHY. If you want to get a head start you can take a look at this TED video by Simon Sinek.

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