In Order To Succeed, We Must Understand Why We Do What We Do

We can all agree that we have things that we want—things that we consider necessary for our happiness or for our feeling content with the lives that we lead. Being human means being susceptible to the natural urges of the body. When we are hungry, we need to eat.

When we are tired, we need to sleep. When we are thirsty, we must drink—and so on. These urges are necessary to our survival; if we were to try to ignore them, then we would die. Interestingly enough, although these urges literally draw the line between life and death, the urges that guide our actions more than any others are those that don’t originate from our bodies, but rather those that originate from our minds.

Usually we don’t spend much time questioning why it is that we want what we want—which is surprising since these urges are what guide everything that we do. They are what cause us to put into action the goals that we have. More than that, they are the reason for our goals and aspirations themselves. The urges that we feel move us to make something of ourselves and move us to create change.

Yet, most of the time we do not bother to dissect them, but prefer to take them at face-value. We don’t bother to ask why we are having these urges, but rather accept that we have them. We are being presented with that which not only moves us, but that which guides each and every person’s actions in the entire world.

These urges are not just our wants—they are what makes the world go round; they are the reason for all the love and all the hatred that fills this world. Human beings are egocentric creatures. We are only capable of seeing the world from one point of view—our own. For this reason we tend to overlook the fact that although we all look different and act differently, essentially we are all pretty much the same.

We have a basic set of urges that at their core consist of two of the most basic human needs: a need to connect with others and experience love, and a need to create, change, make a difference and be remembered. All human beings want to leave a permanent effect or imprint on the world—we all need to matter.

Whether our main focus is significantly affecting those closest to us or affecting the world itself, we all feel a need to leave our mark in hopes of being remembered and living on past our expiration date. The need to matter—the need to be significant—the need to influence others in some way is the root of all good and all evil in the world. These two needs, the need to connect and the need to matter, are the reasons why we do what we do.

They are the reasons why we get up each morning and go to work, they are the reasons why we go to bars, they are the reasons why we date, fuck, fight, create, destroy, give a helping hand and the reasons why we kill. The same thing that motivates some of us to sacrifice our time and energy and work hard for what we want is the same thing that motivates those that simply take what they want.

The same thing that motivates the UN to rid the world of nuclear weaponry is the same thing motivating North Korea to build nuclear weaponry.

The same thing that motivates monks to vow silence and live a life of peace is the same thing that motivates terrorists to strap bombs to their chests and take their own lives and the lives of those unfortunate enough to be situated around them at the time of detonation. The need to connect to the human race and the need to be needed, to matter, to have a purpose and to be significant are what fuel all of our actions—yours included.

Once you understand how exactly these urges underlie all that you do, then you will have a much clearer understanding of your purpose. Once you understand that in the most basic form, the wants and actions of the human race all come back to these simplest of urges, you’ll have the ability to better guide your future actions in the direction that you wish.

If you understand that you want what you want for the reasons of yearning for love and the acknowledgement of your own existence, then you have unlocked the door to your ultimate goal. Now that you have that one goal that matters to you more than anything else—as it does for the rest of us—then you may throw the rest of your less significant urges into the mix and find the path that you need to take, leading to the life you want to live.

Because we are logical beings, our actions all originate from some sort of wants or urges—whether or not we are aware of their existence is a different question, but nevertheless, the urges exists. If we were wise enough to take the time to focus for a few minutes on our actions prior to taking them, working our way down to their core and figuring out why it is that we wish to act in a certain way, we would be able to come to understand ourselves in a way that most of us can’t imagine possible.

In order to have purpose you must know why you do what you do. If you do not take the time to understand why you are acting and with what purpose, then you are acting without purpose. Acting without purpose will not give you the results that you wish for—it will not bring you the success that you strive for. To be successful you must have effective drive.

To have effective drive you must have a purpose—a direction you are driving towards. In order to understand that purpose you must get to know yourself, get to know what pushes you to want what you want. If you don’t make it a point to focus on that which gives you direction, then you cannot expect to succeed. Not understanding yourself and your wants means that you do not have a clear purpose. Without purpose there is only ineffective, inefficient action.

Paul Hudson | Elite. 

For more from Paul, follow him on Twitter @MrPaulHudson