If achieving success were easy, everyone would do it. Everyone would be millionaires. Everyone would be bestselling authors. Everyone would be Olympic athletes. Success, however, is the exact opposite of easy. It is difficult, time consuming and requires more than most people are willing to give. Even as they claim that they truly want something and are willing to work for it, they stop halfway. For most people, they eventually give up because they cannot answer one simple question.
When it comes to goals and success, there is only question that you really need to answer. Without that answer, everything falls apart. Yes, questions such as “what am I going to need to do to achieve my goal” and “what am I willing to sacrifice to reach my goal” are deeply important. No matter what your answers to those questions are, however, you will still fall short of success unless you can answer one infinitely short but overwhelmingly essential question: why?
When it comes to achieving goals and reaching success, “why” is the single most important question you can ask yourself. Why are you chasing this goal? Why does it matter if you achieve your success? Why do you want it? Why does it matter if you fail? Why do you have to make sure you do not fail? “Why” is such a simple question, but your why feeds into absolutely everything else you need to decide and every action you need to take in order to reach a goal. If you do not have a good why, you will not reach your goal or achieve success.
PerseveranceAchieving any goal will require a great deal of perseverance. It is not enough to simply be motivated. To reach success, you will have to keep going even when you have no motivation. You will need to be able to depend on something more reliable than motivation which is fleeting and fickle. You will need something to lean on when things get difficult, a way to force yourself to dig deep and keep going. Your why is essential here. When you want to give up, you can remind yourself of why you started in the first place. This is often enough to get you back on your feet when you stumble and convince you to take the next step rather than simply giving up.
SacrificeReaching any goal, no matter how small, requires sacrifices. The larger the goal, the larger the sacrifices that are required. When you are chasing success, you will have to give things up. You will need to sacrifice time, energy, money, resources and other opportunities on the altar of your dream. This is not easy. No matter how badly you want to achieve your goal, there will be times when you wonder if all the sacrifices are worth it. You will be tired of putting in so much effort or want to take a break. No matter how much your dream means to you, there will be times when the sacrifices to achieve it feel too heavy. It is in those moments when you can weigh them against your why. Why were you willing to sacrifice for your dream before? Why is it still worth sacrificing for today?
CreativityAchieving a goal, especially a goal that will take years, requires some trial and error. One method for reaching success may not work. So, you have to reevaluate and try again. This gets, understandably, exhausting, and you might feel like you are running out of options for how to go about chasing down success. Nothing you tried has worked. When that happens, your why once again kicks in to help you. Your why gives you a reason to start getting creative. Rather than seeing repeated failures as an excuse to give up, your why pushes you to start finding alternative ways to reach success.
When it comes to getting creative, your why can also serve as your muse. If you know why you want something, you might be able to find paths to achieve it that someone with a different why might have overlooked. For example, look at two people who both want to make a certain amount of money. One of them wants to make enough money so that they can go on a SCUBA diving trip in the summer. The other is looking to increase their income because they want to move out of their crummy apartment. For the SCUBA diver, cutting expenses might be a way to make up some of the difference. That, however, would not necessarily work for the person looking to move because they are aiming to raise their expenses with a nicer apartment. The one who wants to move, however, might be benefited by looking for a roommate who could split the cost of an apartment. For the SCUBA diver who is saving for a one-off event, a long-term solution like a roommate does not make sense.
LimitEveryone always talks about how you should never give up on a goal, but it is possible to get so wrapped up in your own goal that you destroy everything else in your pursuit of it. In such instances, the hunt for success becomes destructive. Having a good why can help you keep your ambitions from hurting you or those you love. For example, if you want to earn a promotion so that you can provide a better life for your family, it is self-defeating to work so many hours that you never see your spouse or children. You might reach your goal, but the family you claimed to be working to benefit will have become strangers to you in the process. Your why will keep you going when you need a push, but it will also do you the valuable service of telling you when it has all become too much. It is easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to reaching whatever you measure as success, but a why can keep you from getting swept away on the need to achieve your goal no matter the cost.
When it comes to reaching success and achieving goals, “why” is the most important question you can ask yourself. Without an answer to that simple question, you will struggle to keep going when things get difficult, and you risk becoming so wrapped up in reaching your goal that you forget what matters most. Do not fall for either of these traps. Before you start anything, ask yourself why you are doing it. Until you can answer that question, you have no hope of reaching success.