Discover Why.

Uncover Your Why
{ via Aeipathy }

I’ve fallen off the (simplicity) wagon.

I will tell anyone who cares to listen how wonderful a simpler life can be, and I believe that to be completely true. But lately I’ve been making life far more complicated than it needs to be. And it shows.

My priorities are screwed up. My head is fuzzy. The spring in my step has gone.

I have looked for reasons not to play with my kids. I’ve been increasingly frustrated by the daily tasks of keeping a home and family. I’ve lost my creative spark.

I’ve lost clarity.

Our reasons are ours alone.

Our Why, our reasons, our priorities, are just that – ours. Each of us will have different motivations. And that’s why it’s so important to know, “Why am I doing this? What is my life really about?”

I want to give my energy, my time and my space to:

  • family
  • relationships
  • health
  • adventure and travel
  • creativity
  • contentment

And what I stand to gain by doing that is abundantly clear to me.

But I’ve lost focus, and for the longest time couldn’t work out why. But I think I’ve uncovered it.

I’ve fallen into the habit of working on life, that I have neglected to go and live.

I need to remind myself there is time for both.

If we didn’t have work, purpose, tasks, chores and responsibilities, would the weekends, down-time and holidays feel as sweet? No, I don’t think so.

There is a time and place for work, for creating a better life, for play and for rest. The important thing is to make the space and time for living, playing and resting. And then actually live, play and rest. Otherwise the work we put in to creating a simpler life is wasted.

To do this we need to uncover our own Why.

7 questions to uncover your Why.

Give these questions some real thought, and spend a little time writing your answers down.

Ask yourself:

  1. Who are the most important people in your life?
  2. What experiences are most important to you?
  3. Looking back at your life, what do you want to see? What do you want others to see?
  4. Imagine a perfect day. Describe your surroundings, your feelings, your attitude. What is in common with your current life?
  5. What about your current life doesn’t feature at all?
  6. If you had a simpler life, what positive things could you move towards?
  7. What negative things could you move away from?

These questions are for me as much as anyone, and I really hope they help us find some clarity when it’s most needed.


I’m currently reading Steven Pressfield’s War of Art (which is fantastic, by the way) and he tells us the thing we are most resisting is the thing we really should do. With that in mind, which of these questions do you really not want to answer? 

For me, it’s number three.

14 Responses to Discover Why.

  1. Hi Brooke,

    Wonderful set of questions to bring us back, back to what matters. For me the hardest question to answer is number two. I often try to do too many things, to experience it all, and as we all know – you can’t do it all. Unfortunately, when we become busy or preoccupied, we loose touch with our core selves and values. Important areas of our lives get neglected.

    The only answer is to maintain mindfulness, be in touch with our values and true selves, and act accordingly. Sitting down with your questions weekly would be a wonderful way to stay on track.



  2. Brooke,

    I’m beginning to think that we are the same person. That’s right, there is a slightly Native American version of you, on the other side of the world. ;-)

    Once again, I could have written your post. I think it’s perfectionism–I want to keep working, keep improving. And I forget to…um…actually HAVE fun. I frequently plow forward, and burn myself out.

  3. Well, for me, whenever I fall off the simplicity wagon it’s always the same old reason. There’s some emotion going in inside of me that I really don’t want to experience. So the part of me that’s defending against feeling “it” goes into sabotage mode.

    I suddenly start to feel frenetic, and strident, and overwhelmed, and like there could never possibly be enough hours in the day to do all of the work that I have (even when I really don’t have any important work to do) and NOBODY could possibly understand how downtrodden and miserable I am, because “everybody else” has it soooo easy… yadda yadda yadda…

    At that point I have to stop, set myself down and reluctantly get myself to look at whatever it is that I’m running away from. Generally speaking, “it” is never as bad as the chaos caused by trying not to feel “it.” And once I let myself feel whatever the horrible emotion du jour might be, the frenzy magically evaporates.

  4. I think it has to be question 5 for me. I guess I’m worried about discovering things that I’m just holding onto for the sake of familiarity. In fact I already have discovered that I hold onto the past with an iron grip.

    Thanks for these questions, Brooke. I’ve had a crap few weeks where I’ve had no headspace whatsoever, and slowly figuring out what’s causing it. I’m looking forward to making some space for my thoughts, but first I have to clear the way. I think the questions will help to redefine what’s important.

  5. I love how you’ve caught yourself and offered up some questions to help get back on track. I’m feeling quite contemplative at the moment. On the verge of a change I know I’m ready for, but also not sure at the same time. I find question 4 challenging because I’m not sure what a perfect day would be yet!

  6. Number four is my favorite question because I have a very clear picture of my perfect day which would involve me working from home so I can walk my daughter to and from school. All great questions and a good place for me to start as I would like to actually just climb on the wagon in the first place! Cheers

  7. Question 3 is the worst question. Like A Tale of Two Cities… it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I would hazard to say that ten years ago, my life was going pretty well. The last five years have not. A year ago I was aghast at the thought of long time friends ever learning of what had become of me. Now I realize that “spit happens”. Regaining my confidence and momentum, I move forward ever closer to my goal.

  8. Loved this post. I am so guilty of planning my live instead of living it. Included in that is reading books and blogs about what I should be doing instead of doing it. So silly isn’t it? Kind of like buying new things to make you happy instead of just being happy and enjoying life as it is.

    Next is to actually sit down and write out the answers to the questions. I am finding in my simplicity journey that I am shying away from what I really need to be addressing. The Minimalists made a comment about our stuff just masking what we really need to be dealing with. Well, I really really what to deal with “what I should b dealing with”. But it is not clear yet to me what that is.

    Thanks again. Some posts are timeless.