Many wonderful projects begin with high hopes and sound intentions, but when progress grinds to a halt, those original feelings of enthusiasm are overwhelmed in the process. Setbacks, unmet expectations, and unexpected variables abound. The consistent grind against resistance is enough to demoralize even the most gritty among us. What is the secret to following through even when we plateau or get knocked down? Remember why you are doing what you are doing in the first place.
All humans possess drive (or will). It is the life force that begins at conception and leaves us on our last breath. The Chinese word for this spirit is zhi. It emanates from the Kidneys and describes the most basic of our survival instincts. It is in our DNA. Our desire for existence. However, we are all born with different amounts and qualities of zhi. Humans are diverse. Very few people will have the desire to be CEOs or major political leaders, but you can bet that most people will have the drive to pursue careers, families, and passions. Whether or not people can articulate the reasons why they do things is another story and is the main thrust of this post.
The major reason that we get demoralized in our lives is that we have never fully come face to face with our why. It is far easier to just conform to the crowd (or rebel against it) than to create a well-thought-out and emotionally balanced way of acting. It requires a healthy dose of humility, a beginner's mind, discomfort, and patience to do so. Failure is almost certain, but failure is key to defining more clearly why you do what you do. The plateaus and setbacks are your best friends in clarifying your intention. Are you interested only in the end goal of your effort, or are you genuinely interested in the effort itself? The former will inevitably breed more disappointment, whereas the latter taps into a wellspring of energy and passion.
These are very deep questions that could take many years (or even generations) to get closer to answering, but maybe that's exactly the point. Not to find answers, but to learn how to ask better questions. To learn how to sit and listen to our innermost voice. Our will to live and to bring change in the world. Consider shifting your focus away from knowing the answers, and towards learning them. That is my why. To learn, to love, and to share. What's yours?