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Why?: Capturing the bigger picture

By Crystal Faqiri, 2nd-year Kinesiology student

I engaged in a multitude of exciting things over reading week, but unfortunately reading didn’t quite make the cut.

Upon some self-reflection, I realized that my particular issue was that I had forgotten the one of the most important parts of my education: why I was doing it.

In his Ted Talk entitled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” Simon Sinek suggests that the most important part of any goal is not WHAT the process is, not HOW to go about accomplishing the goal, but rather WHY the goal matters. Simon says, “If you don’t know why you do what you do, and people respond to why you do what you do, then how will you ever get people to vote for you, or buy something from you, or, more importantly, be loyal and want to be a part of what it is that you do?” In my situation, I was struggling to remember why I was studying, and I was therefore not committed to a vision because quite simply, I wasn’t selling myself on one.

If you wake up in the morning and think to yourself, “How badly do I really need this degree?”, chances are you’ve fallen victim to a “why slump.”

Fear not! I didn’t give up on myself and I hope that you, dear reader, don’t either. Here’s how to combat it:

1. Ask a proxy

Find someone who knows you very well and ask them to pretend they’re you and write down all of the reasons, as they see it, that you’re pursuing post-secondary education. Our loved ones often know us and our desires better than ourselves, and can enlighten us on our purpose when we lose our way.

2. Make a flow chart

What are some of your goals? Becoming a consultant, a sense of fulfillment with life, intellectual stimulation, law school? Write them down. Then write down the steps you need to take in order to achieve those goals or maintain them. Not surprisingly, you might find that a post-secondary degree fits somewhere along the line.

3. Reach out to Learning Strategies

While understanding the bigger picture is important, having the skills to break larger goals into smaller ones is also key. Check out SASS’s guidelines on becoming and staying motivated by making molehills out of mountains.

After a bit of a reading week “why slump,” I got up today feeling purposeful.

Your turn.

Photo courtesy of David Spinks under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.