My Why-Statements

“Why do you want to succeed?”

This is the central question of lesson 2 in Little Coffee Fox’s course Fast-Paced Productivity. The goal is to “dig deep and find motivation for your productivity” in the form of a “short explanation of your core motivation”.

I was advised to sit down and try to formulate what it is that keeps me going, and what has the potential to motivate and re-align me in moments of stress. So I went and scribbled down a whole page of would-be Why-Statements, but nothing felt quite right. It was over the course of a few days where my thoughts kept returning to Why-Statements that I finally came up with my three Why-Statements, and in the right order. I will spare you all the ruminations and get right to them:

  1. I want to make myself proud.
  2. I want to be conscious and open towards it all, good and bad.
  3. Les Instants Radieux.

1. I want to make myself proud.

… for me is the motivation I get from the prospect of having acted and decided in a way that makes me proud of myself. This combines two aspects:

First, I am proud of myself when I do my best, no matter the outcome. This refers to days where nothing goes right, but I do not let myself be side-tracked, I do not procrastinate, I just keep trying diligently and calmly. At the end of the day, even if nothing went right, I can be proud of myself. This is a reason for pride intrinsic to my work the activity.

Secondly, I am proud of myself when the product or outcome of what I did is good. This is a reason for pride intrinsic to my work the product. This has long, perhaps since I started primary school, been my primary motivation, and this is problematic for a number of reasons – suffice it to say I believe it to be the root of all perfectionism, and therefore anxiety, self-doubt, and procrastination. But I believe it is still a fair and useful motivation to have alongside the balancing factor of doing my best no matter the outcome.

2. I want to be conscious and open towards it all, good and bad.

… for me is a reminder that there is value for me in my experiences, my being alive and consciously perceiving both what I do and what happens to and around me. It goes in the direction of neutral acceptance; perhaps it is a form of grace, of transcendence without religion. It is about losing the self with its problems to a somewhat stoic, non-judgemental sense, however temporary, of being a conscious part of existence, of the world, of my life as a story. “Less of me, less of me, concede and believe.”

This is a curious and open perspective which I wish to take up more often and which gives me a perspective within which to detach myself from the intense emotional nature of being me in my everyday life, if that makes sense.

3. Les Instants Radieux.

… are about a deep sense of joy; the moments that make life worth living. This joy is not simple hedonistic pleasure, but a more profound, shimmering joy of moments that feel just right, meaningful and authentic. There is a sense of the transcendent here, too; but it is less stoic and instead more connected to what I like, what I think is beautiful, to whom and what I personally love in the world. “Magic moments” might be a more accessible formulation, but I personally love the beauty in this expression taken from Alcest – La Nuit Marche Avec Moi (who have given me so many of these moments with their music).


A Literal Instant Radieux cycling home on the “Promenade” in Münster

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