I finally realized why I despise Simon Sinek’s Starts With Why.
It’s because *the ability* to have a why story is rooted in privilege.
Until not long ago, my why story has been “to survive” or alternatively, “because this is what I have to do right now – even if I can also acknowledge it’s not forever.
It is a privilege to hold that kind of mental space, to be able to create a space that can hold a deeper why.
For too many years, I’ve chastised myself for not being disciplined enough. Why wasn’t I gritty enough? Why wasn’t I resilient enough?
Uh, let’s see. Poverty? Mental illness? Abuse? Etc? I’ve got a list as long as I am tall, and it’s not me making excuses. I’ve accomplished SO much, and I continue to. And yet.
And yet, this idea of having a why has simultaneously intrigued me, eluded me, and left me agitated.
Nothing has ever stuck. Nothing has felt quite enough to dedicate myself fully to.
Well, obviously. Nothing else could possibly hold the same kind of power that survival does.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen how my friends who grew up with normal, middle class backgrounds have often faltered and grown complacent, and I used to not understand how that was something people were capable of.
Now, I’m lucky enough to. And they were lucky enough to be able to. It’s not a judgment either way. But I get it now. If you’re comfortable, why would you want to choose discomfort?
It sounds so simple, but I spent such a long time learning how to operate in a place of constant stress that some of those impulses are as much a part of me now as the lines in my hands.
(I’m working on it.)
Gradually, I’m learning how to soften without sacrificing what matters. I’m learning that sitting with a different kind of discomfort, the kind that isn’t life threatening, is a very different sort of animal.
So perhaps while I lack a why, I have something else. And I hope I can continue to hold on to it as I continue to grow and change and not simply give it all up to my own privilege.