in Ways of Thinking

What is Your Why?

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by mrkrndvs: http://flickr.com/photos/aaron_davis/16489271212

In his book, Start With Why, Simon Sinek makes the statement that, “people don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it.” The problem is that too often we get the two confused, caught up in what we are doing and forgetting why we are doing it. Sometimes we forget because we never actually give it our attention. So this is my attempt to identify the ‘why’ that I always endeavour to start with.

I see my ‘why’ as a learner with a passion for helping other learners find their spark. Whether it be sharing ideas and perspectives or providing support to take the next step or pushing back in order to go deeper. Each action comes back to a focus on creating a greater community.

Although such activities may be about me, my passion for learning, my desire to grow, they are not actions that can be measured through the number of retweets or hits on my blog. For me it all comes back to the African proverb that ‘it takes a village’. When I say that what I mean is that I never achieve what I do alone. A point Keith Hamon makes in his fantastic post, where he states that no matter how much we try, we can never identify all of the origins to our ideas.

In the end, if, as David Weinberger suggests in his book Too Big To Know, the smartest person in the room is the room. The challenge is to develop smarter rooms. For as Weinberger states:

Our task is to learn how to build smart rooms—that is, how to build networks that make us smarter, especially since, when done badly, networks can make us distressingly stupider.

So what is your why? How are you building networks? Do you think that I have missed something? I would love your thoughts.


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Aaron Davis

I am an Australian educator supporting the integration of technology and innovation. I have an interest in how collectively we can work to creating a better tomorrow.

What is Your Why? by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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  1. This is a fine distinction between leaders and those who lead, clarified in my mind by McGilchrist’s distinction between connecting to manipulate (a left-brain skill) and connecting to relate (a right-brain skill). Those who lead merely through power seek to manipulate the rest of us for their own ends and have little interest in mutual relationship. If they happen to be very skillful manipulators, then they can make things happen, but benefits to others is quite accidental. Those who lead through relationship seek to enrich both their own lives and the lives of their followers, and if they happen to be very skillful manipulators, then they can help us all make great things happen. Skillful manipulation is not a bad thing except when it is devoid of meaningful relationship. Then it can be, and usually is, awful.