Your ‘WHY’ armour: A Bulletproof Mind

Your ‘WHY’ armour:
A Bulletproof Mind

ALL OR NOTHING: THE ‘WHY’ SUPERPOWER

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE BUT YOUR ‘WHY’ IS THE DRIVING FORCE, EVERY TIME

I was reading a book recently, ‘The 5 AM Club’ by Robin Sharma. I picked it up around the end of February, in the darkness and cold of winter, hoping it would help me get back into the habit of getting up early to get shit done. You know… read, workout, meditate, stretch, think quietly, admire the sunrise, be proactive, set goals, write/journal, make plans, feed my creative soul… ‘the early bird catches the worm’ and all that jazz… 

In reality, whatever time I can create for myself before 7am is time for me alone. With a full time job and being a dad to 3 kids under the age of 5, it’s incredibly hard to find any time for myself only. In the evenings, my wife and I get a couple of hours together once the kids are in bed, and while I value this time enormously, it’s different to the quiet hours of the early mornings when I can just be selfish and focus on my routine. I also consider it a huge win if I don’t find myself knocked out on the sofa 20 minutes into a riveting series… no joke.

The last time I had woken up at 5 AM, done a workout, read a few pages and spent any time on working on myself was the day before my dad died, on October 31st 2022. From the next morning until the end of February, I abandoned all the routines I had spent so much time and effort adjusting to and building. Up until then, I had risen at 5 AM every day for the better part of a year and was relishing in the benefits of this setup. Inadvertently, unexpectedly and instantaneously, I let go of that routine which for so long had really helped me in countless ways. Those early mornings became a gift to myself. They offered me calmness, focus, balance, time and space. They helped me show up better for myself and others for the rest of the day. They were a beautiful way to begin a day, in a stillness I have not yet found anywhere else. They are the time of day when the world feels untouched, unspoilt, unmarked. When it feels like you are presented with a world full of opportunity, ready to be moulded in whichever way you see fit. When the quietness shows up like a welcome force of good, void of any trouble and friction, regardless of even the weather outside. Whether you hear the birds tweeting as the sun rises, or the rain lashing at the windows and the wind howling through the trees at great speed, this time of the day is bliss. It is a unique blank canvas. It is pure magic in my mind, and every time I show up for myself at that time, I am grateful for the world and the opportunities that lie ahead.

I had never thought of myself as a morning person until I realised that we can all choose to be whatever kind of person we want to be, at any time. We have CHOICES, every single time.

Which leads me back to the book, ‘The 5 AM Club’, and how after just one chapter, I closed it and threw it back onto the shelf. After months of grief and feeling sorry for myself, I had been looking for a way to get back to my old self; the way I had been before my Dad died. It seemed the book was an obvious answer to that need and a colleague of mine had said how it had helped her get back into the swing of things after a spell of misfortune. As I read through the first few pages, I was struggling to latch on to anything the author was sharing. As I read on, I was having flashbacks of those still mornings I had once known so well, of my gruesome workouts (with a smile on my face), of how much I was getting done thanks to those early rises, of how fulfilled, awake, ready, open, ambitious and driven they made me feel. I kept thinking of how when I started my day that much earlier, I had more room for everything else. More room for my children, more room for my wife, my family and colleagues. More room for work, for my hobbies, my passions. More room to pick myself up time and time again, to evolve, to emote, to mend, to listen, to think, to pray, to feel, to give, to love, to fail, to create… I thought about how I used to be a better person when I started my days with time and space for myself. I thought about the ecology of it all, about how if I felt elevated and elated, that others around me would benefit from that too. And as such the cycle would continue to go around and as a whole, the world would become a better place. I thought about how important this notion for me was, and the immense impact this simple routine had on both my most immediate and furthest circle. I thought about how something so personal could become so global so quickly, and how responsible I felt for how I choose to show up in my life and how easy it is to miss all of it. I suppose this is what is known as the ‘butterfly effect’.  I imagined how so many other people like me also rose early in the mornings and equally impacted their circles, and how this was a never ending effect. I don’t know if you can tell, but this kinda shit gets me really excited and positive about the world and humanity…

So right then and there, I decided the book wasn’t for me, because I already had everything I needed within me to get back to my 5 AM wake ups… In an instant, I had revived that purpose within me. I had instantaneously reconnect to my WHY, and as such, there was no stopping me. 

That very night, I set my alarm clock and the next day, I was up at 5 AM and gifted myself the time and space I had so very much missed and needed over the last 4 months or so. Every week, from Monday to Friday, I’m now up at 5 AM (6 AM on weekends, come on now!), get my workouts in, read my books, write, think, breathe, connect to my core and elevate myself. I notice daily the impact doing this has on my life, and furthermore, others have noticed the change in me too. I’m certainly not the perfect father, husband, employee, friend, son, brother or human being, but I do know and feel that the effect I have on my immediate circle is more meaningful and palpable when I find time to be selfish. I’m a better person for this routine and it serves me just as much as it does others. So, that is my WHY. I didn’t need a book to show me what my WHY is, I just needed it to remind me of my path and my purpose for waking up so damn early every day of the week.

A WHY can either break us or make us. We can all come up with reasons to make a change, why we do something, why we make certain choices. In some instances, that WHY can be too weak and not hold enough value for us. Other times, that WHY can be our superpower… the kind of WHY that makes us STOP AT NOTHING. Here’s the thing, you can’t really add more power to a WHY artificially; something either matters to us enough or it doesn’t. Perhaps over time, we add meaning to something and eventually a WHY can become a roaring, flaming and unstoppable force that will propel us to do whatever we need/want to do. The passing of time, lived experiences and the circumstances we find ourselves in are the only variables that make up the power of our WHYS. There are endless examples of things that just don’t hold enough value for me to make sense of, and therefore don’t have a purpose powerful enough behind them to propel me to achieve those things, or make those changes… For instance, it would be insanely cool to know how to pilot a commercial jet, or build a house from scratch with my bare hands, but I don’t have a purpose strong enough for wanting or needing to do either these things. There is no WHY powerful enough (yet… you never know!) to get me to a place where either of those examples might make sense in my life. Just because I think they’re cool things to do, is simply not enough. The magic ingredient of true purpose – the superpower WHY – is missing from that recipe entirely. If I chose to pursue those things anyway, I’d be setting myself up for disaster. I’d likely do things half-assed, the novelty would wear off pretty quickly, and I’d most likely give up. I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I like to carry around, it feels pretty shit.

Are there things in your life you’ve tried to achieve, or are curious about achieving, that you just don’t have a strong enough WHY attributed to? I notice this a lot in some people who share their ‘dreams’ (which seem relatively achievable) but for whom those dreams are in fact pipe dreams and say things like ‘I’ll never achieve that’. Most times when I question them on why this is their dream and what it would mean to them if they achieved it, their answers are less than compelling. Oftentimes, it’s a pretty cool idea they’ve picked up somewhere and they like the thought of achieving it and how it may all look, but in reality, it holds no REAL VALUE for them. I know, because if it did, their superpower WHY would have them moving mountains to get closer to achieving it.

Have you ever met an actor who has struggled their entire life to ‘make it’? I know a few, and I’ve gotta tell you – there is no way I would sacrifice having a family, regular wholesome meals, owning a home, travelling the world, affording luxuries and much more – for that struggle. These people will do absolutely anything to ‘make it’ as an actor, will sacrifice anything to get it… that’s a superpower WHY. They love the craft so damn much, they see no way of living without being immersed in it, they couldn’t breathe without having it in their lives… that’s how much it means to them. They love it almost more (and sometimes more) than they love themselves, and therefore, they must continue on that path. Any alternative is inconceivable to them. That is their WHY, and it is their superpower. It doesn’t control whether they’ll ever make it, but at least they’re living a life of purpose and meaning. I gave up acting after a few years because of that struggle (like I said, it wasn’t worth it for me), and mostly because I thought acting would make me rich and famous… clearly not a strong enough WHY, and certainly not worthy of its pursuit.

A SUPERPOWER WHY WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN, AND YOU WILL NEVER LET IT DOWN. It’s as simple as that. You know and feel it when you own that superpower WHY. I heard recently from a health and fitness coach, Joel Staley, that a valued, truthful, powerful WHY presents the difference between price and cost. If a WHY is strong enough and merits all of our energy, time and space – we will conquer that WHY and we will notice what the cost would be if we didn’t pursue it. The price is what you pay to not have to endure and put up with the cost of not doing something. A superpower WHY has no price, but it can have an immense cost if it is left unattended or ignored. Similarly, the price of a weak WHY can be very high, but the cost of pursuing it can be just as high.

So, when you feel like you’re at a loss and struggling to achieve something, or if you’re unsure of whether what you’re chasing is even worth it, before you continue on your journey, take a beat and ask yourself what your WHY is, and assess whether it’s really strong enough for you. What would be the cost of not continuing? What would it mean to you if you achieved it? What would it mean if you changed course now – would it really bother you that much? Or is it inconceivable to you that you might abandon it? Perhaps there’s something you’ve been thinking about for quite some time now, an idea you’ve had perhaps, to which you’ve not attributed enough purpose to. Maybe you’ve not given yourself the space needed to evaluate its meaning fully. Maybe it’s about time you did. You might find that it’s just not worth it, or you might find that magic spark that will hold you accountable throughout the journey that’s about to commence. It’s incredibly important to check in with ourselves from time to time to ensure we’re still fully aligned to our purpose. Life can get so noisy at times that we forget to check in. We can become so distracted that we fail to notice that our wants and needs are no longer aligned, or that we’re suppressing what the world is trying to offer us. Gift yourself that time to connect with the meaning of that purpose. If I’ve learned anything over the last few months, it is that TIME is crucial whenever we’re looking for a stronger connection to our core, or looking for answers, put more simply. Time is, contrarily to popular belief, our best friend in helping us to determine where our superpower WHYS lie.

And, if you feel like you can’t quite find the time for all of this in your justifiably busy life, that 5 AM alarm is just a tap away… maybe I’ll catch you in that stillness and we can nod our heads at each other as we rise with the sun…

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