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Friday, September 09, 2011


In "The Matrix Reloaded" Neo and pals try to get the Keymaker from the Merovingian, to which he responds:
"The Keymaker, of course. But this is not a reason, this is not a `why.' The Keymaker himself, his very nature, is means, it is not an end, and so, to look for him is to be looking for a means to do... what?"

For some reason, his speech has always stayed with me, his discussion of the "why" that is so elusive. Why is such a driving force for what we do, but often we don't follow the why-chain very far. We step back one link, maybe two and see the previous cause/effect. But we often don't settle down to suss out the "why" behind them.

"Why do you need a new job?" "Because I need more money." "Why do you need more money?" "So I can buy a house." And usually we would stop there. We wouldn't go on to ask "Why do you need a house?" or any of the questions that would lie behind that answer.

Living without a "why" means that we're, quite often, just acting our part in a play that has been cast for us. We accede to the script rather than challenging the basic premise of the plot. We go along with the plans to build a new building at church, even though we don't really know why we're doing it. We avoid adding PowerPoint to our presentation, but we don't know why. Or worse yet, we add PowerPoint to our presentations, but we don't know why.

Without a "why" without a clear purpose, plans are dangerous. If you don't know why you're adding PowerPoint, for example, then you don't know what you're going to do with it. You don't know when you should use it or when you shouldn't use it. You don't know. Not without a "why" to help you answer those questions.

How do you find your "why"?

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