Start with Why.

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He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how. – Friedrich Nietzsche

 German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said “He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.” Whether is starting a new business, setting a new goal, starting a regimen/routine, going on an adventure, or navigating the roller coaster called life; having a compelling why goes a long way in how far you go. Anyone can feel great and enthusiastic when things are going according to plan, the real test of your resolve/resolution shows when things are not going as planned. As former Boxing heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson once quipped |Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”.

“The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself but when he plays the role destiny has for him.”― Vaclav Havel

It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. Whatever would go wrong would eventually go wrong (Murphys Law). On your path to achieving your goals, the start is going be tough, the middle messing and the end is never in sight. You are going to be tested through the vicissitudes of life, the  and changing seasons of life. Having a compelling Why makes the journey bearable as you are guided by your true north and this helps in navigating the roller coaster of living.


Austrian Neurologist and. Founder of logotherapy, Viktor Frankl spent 3 years in four different concentration camps. Just nine months after getting married, he  was sent to the theresienttadt concentration camp. He lost his family members at the camp(s): his sfather to pneumonia, wife to typhus, his mother and brother was sent to the gas chambers. He lost everything in the concentration camps. After his freedom, he became the head of the Neurological department at the general polyclinic hospital in Vienna.


 Frankl chronicled his experience as a prisoner and survivor of four Nazi concentration camps in his autobigraphical book – Man Search for Meaning. He described his psychotherapeutical method called Logotherapy (meaning-centered psychotherapy). Frankl observed that:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Frankl also tried to answer the question of what the meaning of life is and he observed:

The meaning of life always changes, but that it never ceases to be. According to Logotherapy, we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways:

1 By creating a work or doing a deed;

2.By experiencing something or encouraging someone

3.By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering

As Frankl asserted in Man’s search for meaning – “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  Life is going to going to happen to us all at some point, whether is losing a loved one, losing a job, getting separated or divorced etc. What would make us hang on as Frankl did in the concentration camp is a compelling why, having hope for a brighter future and to have that kind of  faith requires starting with a compelling why.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. – Viktor Frankl

Our purpose, reason and why is different for different individual but it usually speaks to our core. Some of us are doing it for our unborn kids, some for their extended family, break intergenerational limiting beliefs, others do it for fame, glory or honour. No matter what your reason for pursuing a goal is, starting with why can be the fuel you need when the going gets tough as they often do. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going but for that to happen, you have to stay the course with grit, resilience, endurance, perseverance and a fortitude to weather the storm.


In his excellent book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, author Simon Sinek  points out that People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. He remarked:

Companies and organizations with a clear sense of WHY never worry about it. They don’t think of themselves as being like anyone else and they don’t have to “convince” anyone of their value. They don’t need complex systems of carrots and sticks. They are different, and everyone knows it. They start with WHY in every thing they say and do.

Knowing your WHY is not the only way to be successful, but it is the only way to maintain a lasting success and have a greater blend of innovation and flexibility. When a WHY goes fuzzy, it becomes much more difficult to maintain the growth, loyalty and inspiration that helped drive the original success.

“Starting with WHY not only helps you know which is the right advice for you to follow, but also to know which decisions will put you out of balance. You can certainly make those decisions if you need to, but don’t make too many of them, otherwise over time, no one will know what you believe.”

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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