Why to Know "The Why"

Alexa Herringshaw

Could you imagine climbing up Mount Everest?

From the first attempt, it took over 30 years for someone to finally conquer the treacherous slopes of the world’s tallest peak. George Mallory, one of the first brave souls to attempt the expedition, was asked by a New York magazine why he was motivated to attempt the risky endeavor. He famously responded, “because it’s there.”

The challenge continues to summon hundreds of individuals each year – each with a unique answer as to why they’re climbing. Each climber is wired differently, and that different wiring is the very fuel behind each monotonously straining step up that snowy slope. If you were to ask all 5,000 climbers who trekked up Everest the same question that was asked to Mallory, you’d hear a plethora of different responses. In those responses of their “why”, we begin to unfold the beauty that is planted within each individual’s unique drive.

I don’t know about you, but I have never been motivated to climb Everest, and I probably never will be. That being said, I am still motivated by other things- I’ve helped neighbors, volunteered hours, and have spent time studying. While these don’t sound like endeavors such as climbing a mountain, they are still important to my story. These motivations stem from my everyday “why, “and that’s what I’m here to help you with.

Three Reasons It's important to know YOUR "why"

When we begin to analyze why we do certain things and why we respond in certain ways, we tap into an area of our lives that have been longing to be discovered. A part of Kindling is gaining insight into one’s personal and unique core motivations. Simply put, my aim is for you to know what mountain you’re climbing and every “why” behind it.

Often, we discover we’re either on the wrong mountain, or we’re trying to fuel our trek with the wrong motivations. I’m going to briefly lay out three reasons why knowing our core motivations helps us to avoid these pitfalls well in advance.

First, it gives an individual self-awareness into why they act and behave the way they do. It gives insight into why one gets immersed in some activities but fails to engage in others. Understanding your core motivations gives you language as to why you do or don’t have the energy to attend to certain aspects of your job, schoolwork, or relationships. When we know what our motivations are, we can approach our jobs, schoolwork, or relationships differently so that they tap into our core motivations, giving us the joy and desire to accomplish the task well.

Second, our core motivations reveal one’s natural actions and preferences. This reveals one’s natural “fruit” that is produced in their lives, meaning their natural strengths. It gives insight into what vocations, subjects, tasks one would thrive in.

Third, it gives insight into what consistently fuels an individual. This is beneficial because it is easy to questions ourselves and not understand why we do what we do, or why we have a certain need that we don’t see others striving for. This can lead to comparison and either thinking too highly or low of ourselves. Therefore, core motivations give insight into the beautiful way God knit an individual together. Every gifting is needed in the body of Christ.  

In sum, we are all created with a unique wiring, and we each carry a different integration of core motivations. Some of you might be motivated to accomplish a crazy venture like climbing Mount Everest, while others will not. Also, just because someone accomplishes a similar task does not mean the drive behind that action is the same. Understanding how we are uniquely motivated is beneficial because we can learn to approach difficult tasks in a new way that is in line with our core motivations, while it also gives insight into what we are naturally good at doing. Simply put, core motivation describes the heart of our behavior and why we do what we do, serving as a piece of kindling for the fire that is about to be set ablaze in your soul.

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