Start With Why

My current read is Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. I appreciate the fact that I am reading the book now that we are just hours away from entering into a new decade. Funnily enough, I was supposed to have finished reading this book back in 2014 but I just cannot figure out what happened along the way up until now when the decade is at its edge. I guess it is because I entered the autopilot mode and found it hard to push myself into finding time to flip through the pages. Anyway, the vital thing is that finally, I have landed my hands on the book and so far, I have accomplished significant milestones towards ensuring that I finish the book and most importantly apply the lessons learned.

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There are aspirations, motivations, dreams that often “disturb” us in our youth. At this stage, majority of the individuals are still finding ways to achieve stability. There is also the desire for security. One of the ways though which individuals find security is through the establishment of routines. The most likely reason for developing a routine is to guarantee safety in times of uncertainty. The likely result of a routine is the establishment of an autopilot program within our systems and before we know it, we find ourselves asking questions such as, “How did I even get here?” “Why is all this happening now?” The question then becomes how do we avoid entering the downward spiral? Perhaps, the starting point of solving this question is to approach situations with the “why” in mind.

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Starting with “why” inspires a call to action within us. It paints a clear picture of the end that we desire out of our actions. It also helps maintain focus as one pursues the desired end. In the book, the author gives a case in point where a select team of American automobile makers visited an assembly line in Japan for benchmarking. Everything that both the American and Japanese automakers did during the assembly process was the same except that the Japanese had a difference in the final step of fitting the doors into the automobiles. The Americans had a line worker taking a rubber mallet and tap the edges of the door to ensure that it fit perfectly but to the Japanese, this procedure was absent. Puzzled by this finding, the American automakers asked the Japanese how sure they were that the doors would fit. The reply of the Japanese was that they ensured the doors fits when they design them.

From the above case example, it is evident that the Japanese engineered the outcome they wanted right from the beginning. Perhaps, we could also use this approach to design how we approach the various situations in our lives. For a start, we could use it in how we approach our days. We could also apply it in goal setting. In essence, the desire for order calls for clarity and one of the ways of being clear in our approach to tasks is by starting with why in mind.

There are other two anchoring parts that help in ensuring the “why” is clear. These parts are the “how” and the “what”. Together, the “why,” the “how,” and the “what” form The Golden Circle –  a critical model to approaching and handling tasks. Even though the author explains the application of The Golden Circle in corporate entities and organizations, there is still room for it to be applied in our daily lives. Essentially, The Golden Circle predicts and finds order in human behavior. It is a crucial tool in helping people understand why they do what they do. A demystification of The Golden Circle highlights how much more can be achieved if we bring ourselves to the point where we start everything we do by first asking why. The “why” aspect of the circle gives us a purpose, a cause, and a belief that then drives us into commitment towards a particular course of action. The “how” aspect outlines the approach we use to accomplish the task before us. The “what” aspect outlines the various actions we use to attain the tasks at hand.

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As we go into the new decade, we ought to approach our days and whatever tasks that lie ahead of us with why. “Why should I choose this instead of that?” “Why should I take on that project?” “Why should I study this course and not that one?” and the list goes on and on. Perhaps, the outcomes of our decisions would be more clear owing to the fact that we designed them by first asking why. Our autopilot mode would also be positive when we approach our days using The Golden Circle. Eventually, we shall install predictable steps into attaining our goals if we follow the tenets of The Golden Circle. Start each task with why and at the end of it all you will be better placed to achieve the desired outcome.

Happy New Year and Happy New Decade in advance!

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