No Reasons Required
Years ago, my daughter, then five, sat on the carpet stringing beads onto a thread. She was completely absorbed, happy and content with her task. Her focus didn’t waver for more than an hour as she dipped a thin needle into a small bowl of colored beads, and with her tiny fingers, slipped the round bit of glass down the string to meet the others. When I asked her what she was making, she said, “nothing.” As if that was the most logical response to spending one’s time in joyful pursuit of what her heart desired. As a child, it totally was.
I suspect most of us started this way, doing what we do for the sheer enjoyment of it. But then as we got a little older, we were told that we should be making/doing something with our time and energy. We should be able to justify our efforts in such a way as to apply a certain value to them. And soon after, whatever we created would naturally be judged: excellent, good, adequate, mediocre or bad.
As a result, we rarely allow ourselves to pursue anything unless we can validate or justify it upfront. This (primarily social) need to have a reason for what we want to do is one of the primary blocks to making our dreams come true.
And that’s why when it comes to realizing your dreams and desires, I say you don’t need a reason to pursue them. In fact, it’s best to eliminate your need for one altogether.
This is especially true at the beginning when you’re just getting your ideas or creative juices flowing. Your connection to spirit and inspiration is a tender thread and if you’re not careful you’ll snap it with all the pressures of justification. Be wary of how you feel when others inquire into your rationale. When people ask why you want to do something, you don’t need to give them any reason other than you want to do it.
I used to get so uptight whenever anyone asked me about what I was doing, the whys, the hows and wherefores. I was always afraid that my reasons (or lack thereof) wouldn’t be good enough or make sense to whoever was asking. It made me want to lie or make something up to satisfy their curiosity. It’s amazing I ever followed through with anything!!
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need a reason to do what you want to do. People will come at you asking ,”why,” and believe it or not, saying, “because I want to,” is good enough.
For example, I can write a book because I enjoy the process of bringing complex ideas together on a page and sorting out their connections. I can learn how to play guitar because I love the feel of the music moving through my fingers. I can sit in a park and watch a river rushing past for an hour…no reasons required.
In her book, Existential Kink, Carolyn Elliot says, “We get stuck when we look for ‘reasons’ to motivate us into action, because some part of us knows that there is simply no reason.”
The more I try to find reasons for what I do, the more confused I become about what desire is trying to express through me. I’ll begin to focus only on doing things “for a reason” and I’ll miss the lesser rewards that can only show up in the present moment when we’re giving attention to what feels fine, appreciation being a good one.
Nowadays, people often ask me how much money I make from the books I write or how many followers I have on my blog. They’re trying to make sense (in the traditional way of judging) why I do what I do. They’ve been trained to want and need reasons, to seek justification (financial or reward-based) that can help them determine success vs. failure (mine that is). It’s actually no one’s business what my efforts produce. I don’t judge myself in this way anymore and I don’t encourage others to either. The typical exchange for time and energy, a common way of choosing what we’ll pursue, limits much of our human potential.
Reasons naturally create expectations and therefore amplify the potential for failure. If I’m writing a book for the purpose of making money then what happens if it isn’t a bestseller? What happens to my desire to write another book if the first one doesn’t make me rich? I’m not saying that reasons are “wrong,” per se, I’m just positing that our soul’s desire doesn’t need a reason to inspire us to take an action, to devote our energies, to fight for a cause, or move across the country.
Following a whim can produce amazing results that never would have occurred if we’d had to come up with a good reason first. Your own inclination to justify your desires with a valid reason will slow you down. It will kill your motivation. When you can’t come up with a suitable response, that creates guilt and frustration rather than the excitement and freedom natural to the pursuit of happiness.
Stop trying to explain what doesn’t require an explanation. Just do what your heart tells you to do.
Removing the need for reasons frees us to experiment, take risks, and have fun with it. It takes the pressures inherent in success and or failure and throws them out the window. It frees us to go much farther in pursuing our desires than we would if we were weighed down by a hundred reasons why this or that deserves our attention.
When you’re busy making your dreams come true and someone wants to know what you’re doing, or what you’re creating, feel free to say things like, “nothing,” “just because,” and “I like it.” And then talk about what makes your heart sing! Let’s work on this together!