2 min read

The Simple Question that Makes you Question Everything

You know that feeling when something looks good on paper, but you still have a bad feeling about it?

That was my experience of the first ‘real’ job I had after graduation.

This is also the time when I first met the question:

“Why do you do the work that you do?”

And I got really uncomfortable.

And when I realized my answer was… “Because it was the next obvious step”, I knew that couldn’t be my answer moving forward. I knew I had to change something.

I knew that the WHY I had just given myself was not in line with who I was or wanted to be.

When I later saw Simon Sinek’s brilliant TED-talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”, it fell into place. He puts it in a different context, but he beautifully cements the importance of the question WHY?

We don’t make decisions based on rational thought, we make decisions based on what feels right.

Or as he puts it…

”People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Take Apple as an example. They make cool products, but the reason they have the following is not only the sleek design and great functionalities.

It is everything that they stand for.

It is the way they make people feel when they buy and use their products.

It’s their WHY.

question everything

Bringing the WHY into focus changes everything.

For individuals, nations and organisations.

The part of the brain that helps us get a gut feeling of what is right, is the same part of the brain that listens to the question of WHY. This part of the brain (the limbic brain), does not know language as we know it.

This is our intuitive intelligence. Which makes us go… “this just doesn’t feel right.”

In contrast, our neocortex (the newest part of our brain, and where rationality lives) gets the what – “I want a cool phone.” But unless we feel the WHY, we don’t love the WHAT.

Understanding this contrast is a great first step in looking at what it is that you are doing in life.

We usually know WHAT we are doing, and can answer that with no bigger problem. But when we start looking at why, not many know.

Why do you do the work that you do?

It’s my firm belief that we need more people start doing things that have a bigger WHY.

I suggest watching the talk (below). It is ca 18 minutes and well worth the time.

Some questions to ask yourself:

1. What is your why?
2. If you don’t know, what would you like it to be?
3. What can you change in your life today that would bring you closer to your why?


“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of the questions you ask yourself.” – Tony Robbins

If you want to change your life, ask better questions.

Start with this one…

Why do you do the work that you do?

Image credit: Gavin Llewellyn