July 12

Understand Why

Imagine that I took you into a field and told you that somewhere in the field is a target, and your job is to hit it with a bow and arrow. No other rules—just hit the target. However, there is one small caveat: you’ll be blindfolded. You’ll have no idea where the target is.

Now, imagine that after a lot of trial and error, you somehow manage to hit the target by sheer luck. You’ll be glad that the exercise is over, but how gratified do you think you’ll be?

I’d argue that you wouldn’t be very gratified, because there’s little gratification that comes from work that’s not sourced in intent and pur- pose. As humans, we are wired to derive a sense of satisfaction and even a sense of self from the work that we put into the world. When the results of our work are not connected to a deeper sense of why we are doing the work, even success can feel hollow.

It’s important that you are able to understand the meaning behind the projects you are working on. What is the deeper theme, or through line, that explains why the work you do is important to begin with? Otherwise, it’s possible to work for days, weeks, or months on end and accomplish a lot that means little or nothing to you.

There is little gratification in work that’s not sourced in intent and purpose.


Do you understand why you are doing the projects and tasks you’re accountable for? if not, do whatever it takes to learn the why before diving into the what.

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