What's Your Why?

By: Tyler Jones

Why did you get out of bed this morning? The basic answers are usually “to go to work” or “to get ready for class.” These responses may be accurate, but what is the in-depth why? The in-depth why is what drives everything and is the reason you’re here on Earth. Our society is driven by extrinsic motivations, often chasing money and praise. There’s nothing wrong with these aspects of life, but they are what I call “surface whys.” If finding a sense of fulfillment is important, we must dive deeper than the surface.

Intrinsic motivation is completely within an individual and has nothing to do with external reward. An example of this is helping others simply because you believe it is the morally right thing to do. The world is in dire need of a movement that digs deeper and searches for the why. The “I got up for work” needs to be flipped into “I woke up to improve myself and the world because it aligns with my values.” We don’t ask ourselves the in-depth questions near enough and don’t attempt to break the surface.

Wanting an A on a paper is great, but why does the A mean so much to you? These are the types of questions that help us move forward and grow. Sometimes you must ask twice. In an article published by Michigan State University, studies show that those who focus on intrinsic motivation show an increase in self-esteem, creativity, and well-being. Some individuals pursue certain occupations because of opportunity for wealth, others do it completely out of passion. There is nothing wrong with external reward, but oftentimes the internal reward is much more meaningful. There’s never a poor time to ask yourself “why?” Today, get past the surface answers and ask the tough questions.