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In Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk, he challenges you to identify your WHY. Your why is your reason for existing, whether it be your product, your company, or your own. But the number one fear facing most people who long to transition to knowing about their why and starting their own business or pursuing their dreams, is often the why you should not do it.
If you want to enjoy the luxury of finding your “why”, try to activate the “WHY NOT?"
In this blog post, I offer 3 simple ways to help you leverage your "Why Not?" to step out of the status quo of your life and into the future you desire.
As a live illustrator I work with companies and individuals all around the world to help them visualize the future they desire. They dream, I draw, it’s fantastic! Subsequently most people put their drawings of the future (4’x8’) up in their offices, workspaces and even use it in a digital form on their desktops to help them keep focused on what their dreams/goals/visions are.
Research shows that when you put up a picture somewhere you can see it all the time, you tap into your RAS or reticular activating system. The RAS is like your internal google algorithm for things you want. Just like when you surf the net to buy something, you’ll find that google will show you all these things available to buy in your email, or the sidebar when you use a search engine. If you keep looking at and imagining the things you want, the more your brain shows you these things in the real world.
I call the RAS the system that can shift your thinking from why you shouldn’t do something to getting you to say out loud, Why Not? Because really, you are the only one who comes up with that answer to Why Not? And sometimes your answer doesn’t serve you being open to change.
You can use the Why Not to help you propel yourself to make any change you want to in your life. Maybe you want to make more money. Sounds good to me, why not? Pretend that anything is possible and then, say it out loud to yourself, “Why not?” When you say it, it feels like an automatic door opener. True, you do have to say it with a certain inflection in your voice, but, why not? Then of course, you can start to brainstorm ways to actually make that happen. The openness is linked to you creating a more flexible, growth mindset.
Here are three simple ways you can apply this every day. I have a confession to make, I use the “Why not?” to trick myself into doing things that I have a certain behavioral pattern or propensity to not want to do.
For example, I grew up in LA and subsequently I love big cities. I just love them. I can figure out the layout of a city in nanosecond because I enjoy exploring them. I would not say the same thing about camping nor going into the wilderness.
But this year I decided it was time to change that old resistant pattern, so I could join my family and learn to enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors. I mean, why not? So, whenever the subject of camping or hiking came up, I started just saying out loud and with a positive inflection, “Why not?” And something weird happened. I realized I was way more open to the idea, to the point that I am going right now after I finish this blog post to do just that. Explore the great outdoors.
Why not makes you curious, open, and interested. These are the secrets to change and expansion.
Here’s a few things you can try:
Choose something that challenges you when your partner, business partner, friend, or anyone suggests something to you that you know you have had a negative response to in the past. Say out loud, “Why not?” Then notice how you feel.
When you are about to enter into a meeting or work on a project and you think you already know how this will go and you are not particularly happy about it, note it by writing it down.
“what I believe is going to happen is _____________”
Now as the zoom meeting clicks on, see if you can cross out the belief and write next to it, “Why Not?”
Be intensely curious about any knee jerk response you have to something. A knee jerk response is often a reaction based on something from the past which is not aligned to either who you are in the present state. Subsequently it will take you down a rabbit hole to a former you.
Break the pattern of being yourself by stopping the action, noting it and spending time writing about it. Start by writing out all the reasons you have for why this has gone badly in the past and why you shouldn’t change your perspective on it. Then after you have downloaded all that, write why not and see if you come to a new place of openness to what possibilities the present moment offers.
Whether you are conscious of it or not, you are writing and rewriting the patterns of your brain every moment. While it is one thing to know and understand your WHY, sometimes it is important to clear out the cache of past beliefs to step into a place where you can wholeheartedly ask, “Why not?”
In a nutshell, adopting the Why Not mindset will:
1. Open you up to the possibility of new things when you ask optimistically, Why Not?” to something that is being proposed.
2. Program your RAS system to serve up all the images of things you are wishing for, and you’ll open the portal to them actually happening by adopting a flexible Why Not? mindset.
3. Rewire yourself towards more expansive thinking by raising your awareness to your knee jerk reactions and change them.
Whatever it is that keeps you from being open, know that you can change it by simply asking better questions. One of those questions is WHY NOT? And so, test this out and let me know what you find. I’d love to see how your own experience asking Why Not changes you.