If you do not know “why” you are doing something, then what you are going through becomes nearly impossible to endure. It is unsustainable.
Life can be difficult, that’s not a secret. It should not come as a surprise to most people. So what do you do when life gets difficult? Do you give up? Do you persist?
Why do you get up in the morning? Is it because you have to or is it because you want to? Do you have a purpose?
Law school is difficult (unless you have an English degree and an eidetic memory). The same applies to almost any post-graduate or difficult endeavor. You need to answer “why” you want to be an attorney or why you do the things you do. If you do not know or your reasons are “fluffy” you will want to give up or you will not do your best. Sure there are people who can do well no matter the circumstance, but the majority of people are going to be challenged. It is during the times you are challenged most that the reasons you are doing something are critical.
Answering your “why” requires self-awareness and insight into your life and future. If you want to help people, then you can eliminate options that prevent that. If you want to save a million dollars a year, then you most likely cannot be a school teacher or social worker (*it is possible but significantly more difficult). In each of these scenarios, you need to answer the “why.” The question has to be specific and meaningful. You cannot say you want to help people and then answer with the glib answer of “because.” You need to dig deep and answer after the “because.”
For instance, “I want to help people, because…when I was growing up my family struggled and I know that if we would have had some help we would have been able to get through life better.”
Another example, “I want to save a million dollars a year because I want to help provide micro loans to people in Africa to help them live a better life.”
Your reasons do not have to be as altruistic as the above examples, but you get the idea. It is the process of discovering your “why” that matters most and not the actual answer. Once you have your “why” then you can take the necessary steps to get to what you want. There are going to be obstacles in reaching your goals, but they do not have to stop you. There are no obstacles large enough to keep you from what you want if you know your “why.”
Answering your “why” means that your definition of success will be different than someone else. It also means how you measure success will be different. The yardstick by which you measure progress will change according to your goals. This affects your bottom line because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. After you understand your “why” then you can proceed quickly and efficiently toward your goals, thus a straight line. It also means that as you encounter obstacles, they will do little to deter you. You will be able to surmount any obstacle because of how important it is to reach your final destination. You will go over, around, or through the obstacle to reach your goal. Nothing will stand in your way.
Albert Einstein once said, “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.”