There’s an incredible power inherent to us all… and is often the X-factor separating the happy from the sad, the fulfilled from the regretful, and the champions from the stragglers.
Limitless potential… I’m talking about turning dreams into reality.
We’ve all got the chance to set this life-changing ability into motion, and yet so few will.
For turning dreams into reality – you’ve got to harness the power of WHY
We all have our whys in life.
Why get out of bed in the morning? Go to work? Push through school? Start a business? Provide for your family? Build your body? Start a blog?
Indeed, it is our whys that drive what we do – and how well we do it. Our whys even drive what we choose to not do.
Why not run an anonymous blog or business, free from public scrutiny?
I promise you this: the man or woman who has lost touch with their why, has lost their way.
It’s the difference between:
- engaging your work/business with enthusiasm vs reluctantly reporting for duty out of obligation.
- genuine fulfillment that comes from living congruent to your whys vs wandering through life, wondering who you are beneath all the layers.
- knowing that you gave this life and those you love the best you had vs wallowing in regret, dying to know what could have happened if you just went for it.
The stuff that dreams are made of
If your why is strong enough, and you become fully congruent with it in your daily actions, you align with a powerful internal force. A locomotive of success, you’ll find your actions reap tenfold the reward compared to previous struggles.
A strong enough why is how man moves mountains, touches lives and changes the world. It’s how the boy grows up in the poverty-ridden inner city, but as a man finds himself surrounded by abundance, beauty, wildlife, farmland and pristine mountains.
Real-life pixie-dust, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
If brought to full potency and utilized wholeheartedly, your why will create the “how” for you. The universe will present a unique, dynamic, and even challenging event. Typically, acting on this will take you one step closer to the ultimate goal signified by your why.
You don’t need to know every step that you’ll take to get there. You’ve just got to have the gumption to take steps towards it, knowing that you are progressing and building in alignment with your strongest whys.
Deep down within you, me, all of us, there are explosive whys. These are the whys that give you butterflies, that stretch your imagination, keep you up at night wondering “what if,” and inspire you to be great.
In this sensory-overloaded society, it’s very easy to lose touch with these elements. But reconciling and aligning with them is the secret to true happiness and prosperity.
What are your whys, Derek?
Well, it all started back in 1985. What a marvelous year!
But for now, I’ll fast-forward to the most life-changing event I’d ever experienced.
At 25 years of age I was diagnosed with a type of cancer. A tumor was growing against my aorta, the major blood highway of the body. The doctors explained that at the rate it was growing, it was only a matter of time until it would choke off my blood supply. I’d have been playing basketball or hiking and then randomly stroked out! Game over.
As you can image I was floored. This is the type of news that ruins lives, and even ends them.
After the initial shock wore off, I regained my wits and went on the offensive. I’d always been interested in health and fitness, but this was different. I became a man possessed, unrelenting in my quest for answers.
Where did I go wrong? Why did this happen? Genetics? Bad luck? WTF?!
I was as fit as the average 25 year old and ate what average 25 year olds eat.
I was extremely unaware of how our diet and lifestyle choices affect our health. It seems obvious, but I know that many Americans are still living the same life that almost killed me.
Hit up the dollar menu because you’re on a budget, eat pizza because you like it, pound your liver with alcohol on the weekends because you’re young and YOLO, take generic multivitamins because they’re all the same…
Boy was I wrong. I was so wrong that the universe blindsided me with a corrective lesson.
Through a radical shift in mindset, I was able to turn this tremendous and frightening experience into a powerful catalyst for growth. I survived, it brought the best out of me, and I am a better man for it. Ironically it is one of the best things that ever happened to me.
I spent the following years studying nutrition, biochemistry and similar topics as if my life depended on it. Hell, it did.
I applied everything I learned to myself, because I was determined to beat this. A young man still hanging on to his unrealized hopes, dreams and aspirations – the thought of losing my chance to live, gave me the strength to persevere.
My gut told me that what happened to me wasn’t solely because of “genetic predisposition,” or because of a lack of a soon-to-be-patented pharmaceutical drug. I was actively doing something to myself, turning switches on that should have been off.
I took the red pill, so to speak and was alarmed and what I learned. In regards to cancer and other degenerative diseases… let’s just say that the importance of diet and lifestyle is severely underplayed. Also, there’s a fatally accurate reason why stress is called The Silent Killer.
After spending years radically improving my own health, I began reaching out to others. I came to the realization that I’d been given a second chance at life. Deep down I knew that it wasn’t meant for me to keep what I’ve learned to myself. To earn my wings I need to share this knowledge with others.
Additionally, many other experiences in life served to harden my mindset in other ways.
I grew up in a situation best described as economically turbulent. Many of you reading this may be able to relate to that. There were beautiful memories spattered here and there, but there was also a great deal of struggle.
That type of environment often breeds a scarcity mindset that will hold you back from health and happiness. It will crush your hopes and dreams, with self-imposed limitations.
I can’t afford to buy fresh, organic food. I don’t have the means to live where I want. It’s too expensive. Life’s a bitch and then you die. If I didn’t have bad luck, I’ll have no luck at all. What can I do about it?
It’s only as true and real as we make it. We all have the inherent ability to leave a shitty situation, job or neighborhood. We can choose to expand our means, to be able to afford the things we want. Of course you can eat organic free range on a budget, but only if you know it to be your reality.
Growing up broke and surrounded by struggle, I somehow always instinctively knew that there was a better place and better way.
That type of natural curiosity and a hope for a better tomorrow is the root of prosperity. After years of trial and error, exploring and embracing zestful living, I was able to confirm my belief:
Yes, there is a better place and a better way.
Being healthy and prosperous is something we all desire. We don’t deserve either without dedicated, focused action – but we are fully capable to do so.
Earl Nightingale was one of the most successful men to ever step foot into the business of self-improvement. Growing up poor during the depression, he became obsessed with finding out what separates the haves from the have nots.
He ultimately summed it up to the powerful observation, “We become what we think about.” He outlined this in his powerful spoken-word recording – The Strangest Secret – the first in history to reach gold status with over one million sales.
Ultimately, my goal is to encourage others to see how their thoughts and actions can supercharge their health, happiness and prosperity.
Steps to harness the power of your why
Here’s what worked for me. This isn’t an overnight fix, and it isn’t easy. It’ll be challenging and awkward at times, but that’s the way it is.
1.) You have got to be willing to break the mold.
This is the most important step. If you’re not prepared to rise up and break away from the herd, then you may as well stay seated and do like everyone else – reality TV and chicken wings.
That’s a tough love approach that might upset some people. But others will be jarred enough to take a step back, look at the big picture, and consider how much happier their life could be. This message is for those people.
If you tell the average person that you’re “harnessing the power of your why,” they’ll look at you like you’re crazy. Yes, to average people, exceptional people seem crazy.
But would you rather be “crazy” and exceptional in health, happiness and prosperity, or average and miserable?
I guarantee you this: you have to be MORE afraid of mediocrity, MORE afraid of regret, MORE afraid of always wondering “what if” … than you are of breaking the mold, being brutally honest with yourself, and pushing yourself to try new things.
2.) Time to get selfish.
We are conditioned to think of selfishness as a bad thing and sometimes it is. Yet being selfish to a certain degree is one of the most important things you can ever do to better yourself.
In life this often manifests as:
- are your classes in school aligned with the future career that YOU want, or the ones your parents want?
- you have an idea of yourself being an X, yet because of social pressures and expectations you find yourself working as a Y. Society and HR departments consider X to be unacceptable and “offensive.”
- do you find yourself doing things out of obligation, rather than personal enjoyment?
I’ve seen it first hand, and I bet you have too. Those situations lead to a deep-rooted dissatisfaction in life.
You have got to live for yourself first, before you can offer true value, service and creativity to the world around you.
Take time in isolation, in a place that expands your thoughts and relaxes any tensions. For me, being out in the woods, on a mountaintop, or even a beautiful garden in the country does the trick. Find such a place for yourself.
Imagine that you’re laying on your deathbed. Perhaps it’s at a ripe old age, or instead at an unfortunate and early time. You’re looking back at the time you spent here… the people you knew, the memories created, all the vivid experiences you cherish.
Imagine that you’re looking back, on the current situation you’re in now.
How happy are you?
Does it feel like you’re living for yourself, or someone else?
Does what you see make you feel happy, or regretful?
If you found things that you’re currently not happy about, or would leave you unfulfilled and regretful, take note. That’s your internal compass telling you that you’re not living true to your WHYS.
Take time to embrace the mortality that intertwines with our existence here. Each current life will come to an end. The curtain will drop and the show conclude.
YOU are the actor in your movie. Do you like the movie that’s being played?
What kind of movie would you prefer to be in? What type of character to you want to play?
On that deathbed, whether in your mind or in real life, you’re going to look back on your life as if it were a movie. The highlight real will run, and we all hope to like what we see. We want to know, deep down that we lived for a great cause and filled our cups.
You’ll still include others in your life, perhaps love a special few dearly, share goals and so on. But primarily you have to live true to yourself above all.
3.) Work backwards from the end-game, the ultimate goal.
Get wild for a bit and consider that you have the power to radically change the direction and projection of your life. What outcomes do YOU want to see?
If you want to leave a legacy of grand business enterprise, dozens of grandchildren, retire at a sensibly young age and live abroad – GREAT!
If you want to make a powerful humanitarian impact, showing people how to create local farms to boost security and sustainability for thousands of people – AWESOME!
You can have any dream you want, any highlight reel. Start with the result you desire, then you have to “see it happening” every day in your mind.
You have to expect that it will be so. YES you can make the impact you want, whatever it is. You have to believe this in the deepest of ways.
4.) When opportunity knocks, you must answer the door.
Even if you’re not ready, you have to try something new and different. Here’s what happens: you keep seeing yourself living the life you want, and then life presents an opportunity to bring you closer to that vision.
If you don’t take action, then it will forever remain an unrealized dream. This opportunity usually comes in the form of an uncomfortable challenge, awkward experience, and so on. But that’s how growth happens, through overcoming challenges.
Heck, often you’ll end up surprised that it was easier to overcome it than you thought!
5.) Rinse and repeat – it eventually becomes a deeply satisfying lifestyle.
Our daily thoughts and actions comprise our lifestyle, and lifestyle forms the path we walk on. Keep your mind set on true goals, the things that really matter deep down to you, and continue to overcome new challenges.
Those are the footsteps that take you towards your goal.
Ultimately, the idea is to work backwards from the end-goal, charting a path towards it. Be a trailblazer.
If you stay true to an end-goal aligned with your deepest whys, accept and overcome the challenges that bring progression, you can turn your wildest dreams into reality – whatever they may be.
My life began in a place that looks a lot like this…
But harnessing the power of my whys allowed me to escape that nightmare, and instead enjoy myself in places like this…
Take time to explore yourself, and embrace your ultimate desires and values. You’re the screenwriter, actor, director, and producer of your movie. What kind of film will you leave behind?