Updated: Jun 2
Once and for all
"He who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW."
- Friedrich Nietzsche
Why do we need to ask ourselves “WHY” question?
When we do our work, we need to have a purpose. Senseless work does not bring joy or satisfaction. In opposite, when we do the hard work without any purpose, it brings us nothing but suffering.
Do you remember the story about the guy who had to push the huge round stone to the mountain top? His name was Sisyphus. He rolled the stone every day to the mountain peak, and every next morning this stone was back at the foot of the mountain. It was his punishment — to do the same hard work every day. The senseless work brought him unbearable suffering.
When we have a purpose, we agree to do our work, and it doesn’t matter how hard it is. When the mother gives birth to her baby, you probably can estimate how much pain she handles. But women have been giving birth for centuries. They do it because they have a purpose that worth their pain. The birth of new life is priceless.
When we work hard and we do it for a good salary, it is great. If we work hard for a low salary, it is obviously not enough. But what is enough then? Why do people become volunteers and work for free? Because they work for the bigger purpose. Sometimes we are ready to work for less money if we know that we are gaining experience that is important for our future career. Sometimes we enjoy the work itself, and money isn't a priority. People choose a career of firefighters not only for money. They do it for the biggest purpose — to save people’s lives. If I am not happy doing my work, it means that I should ask myself a question “Why am I doing it ?”
Honesty is a turning point. But why do so many people avoid asking “Why” question? Because the answer reveals the truth. When you ask yourself “WHY?” It means that you are ready to face reality. When we admit our truth, we won’t be able to hide this realization anymore. At least, not from ourselves. And then we will have a problem to solve.
When I finished the first draft of my novel, I faced many other problems. I received a bad critique from my husband, and I realized that my writing needs serious work. That time I had a poor technique and sense of style. I edited it several times, and I felt exhausted. It was epic fantasy novel that I could not handle that time. It was unbearable senseless work that did not bring me any joy. And I gave up.
I avoided writing for three years, and I had many “good” reasons to do so. Every time I thought about my book I told myself that I was not deep enough to reveal my characters. I was not a good writer and I hated hard endless process of editing. During these three years I found new excuses for myself. Many other things happened in my life. Maybe I would never go back to writing, but one day I faced reality.
It was the day when I had surgery on my bladder. I remember the moment before the nurse put a plastic mask on my face. I never went through the surgery before and I had a sudden thought that I could never wake up. Then I got scared. And I wasn't scared about death itself - I got scared because I realized that if I died, I would never tell my story.
Surgery went well, but my new mindset didn't let me keep looking for any more excuses. And I asked myself “WHY?” Why did I keep thinking about my characters all these years? Why was I so scared not to get my book published? These questions revealed the truth. Suddenly, I saw the ugly reality the way it was. I knew exactly why I stopped working on my novel. Because it was too hard.
I also found my other “BECAUSE”. I wanted to publish my book because writing is the only thing that brings me true joy. The process of creating is beautiful. Like the birth of new life, the birth of new story is priceless. Being a writer means to be connected with my characters and to share the moments of their grief and happiness. It means to evident their secret thoughts and to burn in the fire of love together with them. By finding my because, I made a conclusion that my story was worth all the hard work.
You will find your HOW for anything if you see the purpose. When I asked myself, “Why do I need to write?” I faced the truth. I faced a huge problem I needed to solve. But I also found my true purpose of writing. This purpose was bigger than the problem. This purpose gave me power to start solving all my problems, and it still does.
Since I realized my BECAUSE I was ready to accept any HOW. I opened myself to the big world of opportunities. I took creative writing classes in college to improve my style and technique. I read “War and Peace” to improve my English (btw English is my second language). I also joined a critique group to get professional feedbacks, and it helped me to polish my writing skills. I wrote, edited, and launched my debut novel within a year. For my own surprise, all the unbearable hard work became doable, because I got the power of purpose.
P.S. We may want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to get a good partner, or to publish our book. These goals are great. Sometimes it is not easy to achieve them if you don’t know exactly why you need it. But when you will find out your WHY... Well, you will bear almost any HOW.
Thank you for reading!