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The Bigger the Why the Easier the How

Big group of young jumping people.

I have a friend who struggles with weight. Her intention to lose the weight is honest and sincere; desire and action is not the issue. She goes to the gym regularly, participates in multiple softball leagues, and does constant reading on diet trends, trying anything that might work. But eventually, the diet falls by the wayside even if the activities don’t, hence her progress fluctuates.

When I asked what the motivation was for wanting to lose the weight it was, “I’m disgusted with myself.” Okay, sometimes pain can be an effective motivator, but how about something a little more … self-supportive? I don’t know … like looking forward to the day you go to the beach and show off? That sounds a little more compelling and positively motivating, doesn’t it?

Everyone’s motivation is going to be different no matter what the goal, but whatever that “why” is, it better be powerful. It’s got to be emotional. Hey, sometimes it might even be reacting in a moment of total freak-out, but whatever that trigger is, make it mean something to you! If you have a good enough reason, you’ll figure out a way how, won’t you?

I have another friend who quit smoking almost a year now, cold turkey. He had smoked for over 10 years. People, including me, were surprised and proud, all wondering how he did it. No patch. No gum. No electric fake cigarettes. He said it was easy—he looked in the mirror one day and saw a small lump on his neck, in a lymph area.

He then flashed forward to imaginary moments of telling his friends and family that he had cancer. He thought about what it would be like to put them through watching him disintegrate, maybe suffer. He thought about the pain, guilt, and helplessness of those who wouldn’t have the strength to deal with all of that.

That small lump turned out to be only a garden-variety in-grown hair, but it was enough. He broke his last cigarettes in half and that was that.

When you have a big enough reason, the “how to’s” come a lot more easily. You need clear and powerful reasons. It’s also going to allow you to be willing to do whatever it takes.

More importantly, your why has to be stronger than those non-supportive beliefs you’ve been working on. Like, “Rich people are greedy.” Well great! You don’t wanna be broke, but “rich people suck,” and your freaking rent’s due.

You have to have a strong purpose for pursuing money, or anything that really matters to you. If you have nothing behind it, where is there to go? You’re either growing or dying! You’re either going to it or away from it! Got it?

What was one of the biggest challenges or obstacles that you faced in your life, and what was the push that finally got you over that hump? Was it life or death? Absolute need for safety or survival? Would a less desirable outcome have negatively impacted someone you care about? It’ll be interesting to see how many people were motivated to act when someone else would be affected by our actions, our non-actions. We want to hear from you!


Join the Discussion Below

27 thoughts on “The Bigger the Why the Easier the How”

  1. Kent says:

    This is so true, if you have a strong why, you will figure out the How. A lot of motivational books don't get it and a lot of people don't get it. That's why when don't-get-it people read don't-get-it books, no results come out.

  2. Harv, great article. One the most powerful parts of the Millionaire Mind Intensive was discovering I was not connected to my “Why” of wanting to be a millionaire. My ambiguity was contributing to my income or lack thereof.

    After the MMI I am focused and clear on my Why. Being rich is an opportunity to live in a gorgeous home in Maui, where I live now, with ocean views, plenty of space, a garden, and great energy. By living in this space I offer a place for my friends, family, and business peers to gather, create, and connect. My home is a healing vortex and creative temple.

  3. Why? Simple. FREEDOM. I want the money to do what I want when I want.

  4. calmmarian says:

    Harv, GREAT way to describe it. I use “fast-forward” as part of my coaching methods with my clients. It motivates them and helps them make decisions!

    My Why? My why is so that my daughter never has to ask me “are we poor”? So my kids can bring home a paper from school and we can decide because we want to participate or not instead of because we have the money or not, like I did when I was a kid. so I can fulfill my promises to them Disney World October 2011 and three story house October 2012. The biggest why for me is so my kids can say “Mom did it so for sure I can do it!”

  5. Jamie Smith says:

    I stopped smoking when I decided to go back to school to pursue my dream of becoming a Life Coach. Smoking did not match the vision I had for myself. I used the power of a ritual, saying goodbye to the old to make room for the new. I've been smoke free for over 2 and a half years.

  6. Budakboygolf says:

    I`ve tried to stop smoking but it was very hard until one day i read your article (this one)…maybe this was my last day smoking…not maybe…it a must! Anyway thanks Harv… =)

  7. Hi Harv,

    An important question and great post here.

    Find the invisible Why in the visible What and you're golden. Our emotions are the great driving force of our life, and the Why reason drives people to do amazing things.

    It's as if the How shows up with great ease when you identify and stay true to the Why.

    I pushed through severe financial difficulties by having a super strong Why; namely, I wanted to eat and keep a roof over my head. I was down to 36 cents for a while and didn't know where my next dollar was coming from so I started to create content like a mad man.

    I pushed myself because I was driven to move out of poverty and into a wealthy way of living.

    Adversity forms a prod prosperity could never form. Many find Why's in the most difficult situations. I know I did.

    Thanks for sharing Harv!


  8. DanaiyaInspire says:

    My WHY is big enough to make my HOW easier! YES! YES! YES!

  9. Shripad1 says:

    Yes ! Yes the strong desire and why is very much necessary for achieving the goal thanks Harv Great article

  10. Shripad says:

    calmmarian, this is really true, kids will definitely say my Mom/Dad achieved it, hence they will try for sure very practical thanks

  11. Yep, I see this over and over again with so many “problems” people have … they actually use the problem to fill up their mental space, and they literally don't know what they would think about or focus on without the problem … we do need a replacement, and it's nice to have a vision or goal to focus on instead. Thanks for the article 🙂

  12. Adrianne says:

    I've always had trouble sticking to a diet, but once the doctor told me my problems were due to gluten, and if I continue eating it, I'm in for major health problems down the road – I gave it up that day. Gluten is in practically everything. I've had to revamp my whole lifestyle, but I'm committed. As a side bonus, I've lost 10 lbs. The WHY made a huge difference for me.

  13. Broderick says:

    A compelling why is crucial. It's also important to remember that why and to review it daily. If you let the why fade away, the action will fade away with it.

  14. www.superbestsites.com says:

    I learned somewhere about the three types of motivation: (1) pain motivation, (2) pleasure motivation, and (3) purpose motivation.

  15. Olgadewar says:

    I am still in that process of trying to become financially free. Couple of mistakes set me back but I am still at it. The reason – MY FAMILY!

  16. Red Denal says:

    Thanks Harv for sharing this. This is so true. Without the “why”, it's really difficult to execute the “how”. We really need to find our biggest emotional why. Red Denal @ Virtual Assistant Business Philippines

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  18. jo says:

    Because when i lived in asia for 2.5 years saw child prostitutes everywhere being sold as young as 4 years old. This changed everything n ihad just read rich dad poor dad n strivedcto b financially successful to help them. This is my why

  19. Great insights here! 

    I recently heard someone say that not only do you have to have a strong “why,” but it has to be much stronger than your “why not!”  It seems that a lot of us have a good solid “why,” but we ALL have “why not's” that have a LOT of emotion to them. 

    For me this is very true.  If I find myself avoiding action, that tells me that my “why not” is emotionally stronger so I need to go back to the drawing board and take a look again!

  20. I have found out that if you want to improve something then negative motivation works as the startup little bit better and once you start and gain some momentum you should move into more positive motivation.
    Ex.: Someone is obese, one day he looks in a mirror and see how fat he is, he decides to lose fat and start that day, because he looks terrible. After week he starts focusing more on the lean body he will have in three months and how much more activities he is going to be able to experience.
    What do you think Harv? Do you agree?

  21. Kátia Kassimatis says:

    Hello, my name is Katy Kassimatis, I'm 41 years old, and I'm from Brazil. I read his book “Secrets of the millionaire mind” for 1 week and am looking for my model of money. I have a motivational blog, because I think the strength of our mind is very powerful in all aspects of our lives. Seeking to understand and read everything that comes to happiness, including money and be a millionaire. Hence time I am writing again here to tell you his whole theory about being rich, millionaire, actually works with everyone. Thank you for reading this, that even as you say in your book, we learned nothing of what we know, we turn our thoughts not only on results, but which we must seek to make the invisible visible results. Congratulations! Long live the millionaire mind!http://www.fenixosegredo.blogspot.com

  22. HarvEker says:

    Momentum is that force that makes it easier for someone who’s successful to do what’s right than to do what’s wrong. Momentum is that process of getting that snowball moving. The hardest part about working out is getting to the gym.  Once you get there, it’s not that hard to do.

  23. Paul Vegas says:

    Харви молодец)) так держать)

  24. I fully agree on this! I still recall how my father-in-law quit smoking after 50 years on it! His BIG WHY: to let his grandson have clean air when the little boy (i.e. my son) around him.

    I have compiled a list of resources at 

    1. https://www.facebook.com/stepby… 
    2. https://www.StepByStepMLMSucces

    to help you define your WHY!

  25. Patrick says:

    Wonderful reminder Harv, thank you!!

    I would like to share an insight I had while reading about your friend trying to lose weight.

    Her negative reason, as you said, was that she was disgusted with herself (as a side-note, in that statement, she identified her feeling as being who she is). Consider this… She feels disgusted with herself, so she goes on a program, she does all the right activities, exercise, diet, etc. She's well motivated, she's channeling that motivation into progress. She's doing the right things, starting to see results. I'd imagine she must be feeling pretty good about herself. She's doing the right things, making progress, she's on her way, her condition is now hopeful, and she can feel pretty good about herself because now she's doing it, she's achieving it and seeing results – yeah!

    Notice that she no longer feels disgusted with herself at this point. She pulled the rug right out from under herself, her motivation to lose weight is now gone. So she slacks, she does less, she doesn't have the same motivation ummph anymore. At some point she realizes she's back where she started, she feels disgusted with herself, and assuming she doesn't now feel a learned helplessness, she's now motivated again to lose weight, and the cycle repeats, although perhaps damped a bit (like the next cycle of a damped sine wave) due to a somewhat amount of learned helplessness from before.

    Her negative reason wasn't grounded, it wasn't solid, it wasn't stable. It moved as she moved.

    The positive reason of looking good at the beach, as you suggested, it just so happens that reason is grounded, it's stable, it doesn't move as she moves, it's solid, it's unconditional.  So no matter where she is, her motivation continues until she achieves it. But the motivation also continues to maintain it once it's been achieved, because showing off at the beach isn't a transition or bound to a one-time event. She can do it often. Only once the natural currents within her are no longer pulling her away from that ideal is her motivation no longer necessary and so thus it fades – as it's no longer needed.

    Secondly, reading about the person who quit smoking, in the detail you described… that's a compelling energy (that can be applied to some of my own situations), thanks for sharing it!!

  26. Some get it earlier, some get it much later in life. when people read, they are trying to find answers. That's a gd step. The issue lies in not taking actions.

    Find out they “WHY” seems easy but if you think again, it's not so clear cut for many people.

  27. Vegas is a great location for parties… If you haven’t heard, Hakkasan at MGM is opening. It is the biggest nightclub inside the MGM. The nightclub also has a restaurant. Check it out!!

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