One of the many great lines in the movie “Apollo 13” came from Ed Harris, playing NASA Director of Operations Gene Kranz. The famous line was, “Gentleman, failure is not an option.” He was referring to the three astronauts stranded in space and the importance of getting them home safely. Motivated by a true purpose was the driving force behind their unwavering pursuit of a solution. You see, there was something bigger at play here. The folks at NASA had a really big ‘why’ motivating them to relentlessly figure out how to get those astronauts home. Here is the simple principle – If you have a big enough ‘why’ in life, a purpose in life, you will always figure out the ‘how.’ A person without a purpose in life is like a boat without a rudder, drifting aimlessly without a direction going nowhere.
In all walks of life when referring to someone’s success we often hear the words focus and determination. Merriam Webster defines the word ‘purpose’ as the reason why (there‘s that word again, ‘why’) something is done, a feeling of being determined to achieve an outcome. There are enormously talented, intelligent people in the world that are unsuccessful because they lack direction. I read where in World War II if an unidentified soldier appeared in the dark and could not state their mission, their purpose for being there, they were shot without question. I often wonder if our life depended on identifying our purpose, how much more focused and determined we would all be to reach our destination. Productivity would soar. We would take real passionate and meaningful action to reach our outcome. Whether you’re an individual or a corporation, having a purpose allows you to initiate, evaluate, and refine your talents and abilities helping you find your path in life, ultimately achieving success.
A friend of mine once told me that the most impactful, motivating speech he had ever heard was just three short words. It came from his wife when she said, “Honey I’m pregnant.” He said those few words instantly motivated him because he now had a big WHY in his life, a purpose in his life. In fact, when your ‘why’ gets bigger you get better because you stop holding back. You get laser focused and you go all out. It’s why so often you hear about police officers, firefighters, performing superhuman feats when Failure is not an option!
Few people if any succeed because they’re destined to succeed. Most people succeed because they are determined to succeed and that determination is fueled by purpose.
So as you read this blog ask yourself these questions:
(1) What drives me each day?
(2) What gets me up in the morning, and …
(3) What do I believe so strongly in that I will do whatever is necessary to see it through?
You see it’s those who start with ‘why’ that have the ability to figure out how. The result is that they not only achieve the individual success, but they inspire everyone around them.
Remember, success doesn’t come from what you do in life; it comes from the power of why you do it.