The Magic Question

The Magic Question
By August Bradley • Issue #31 • View online
Nothing cuts through the mental fog and brings clarity to life more than asking yourself the magic question. Nothing unveils hidden solutions more than the magic question. And nothing does more to put you on the right path.
I’ve gone in a lot of directions in my life — pursued a wide range of careers, lived in a diverse set of environments, and undertook a vast array of pursuits. 
In retrospect, the choices that have been most rewarding had a single commonality, and the ones I regret to some degree had the inverse unifying factor.
The distinguishing characteristic for the most worthwhile experiences and choices was a clear understanding of my motive for doing it. And in the instances that turned out to be wasted time or regret, I had a lack of awareness of what deeper impulse was driving me. Often we don’t bother to even look.
When setting a goal, or choosing a direction, or making any big decisions, the magic question is “why”. Then for whatever answer you find, regardless of what it is, ask “why” to that first response. Then “why” to the second response. Do this until you reach the atomic unit of motivation.
Then you can assess with clarity whether this new choice is best suited to serve the root motivation, or if other paths might deliver more effectively.
And if it does turn out to be a good decision, you can pursue it more whole-heartedly, without hesitation or second-guessing. You can commit. 
The question “why” is the most powerful tool we have for our own decision-making.
But the first answer is never the real one, though it helps us get there. Follow the steps. 
Ok, but why that?
I see, and why this?
Keep going. 
It’s mining for truth. Your truth.

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