It was a chaotic day in the August of 2011. He found himself stuck at the war zone in Afghanistan along with 3 other officers. There were no flights to come back home. The daily noise of the rocket attacks made him more and more depressed. He was regretting over his decision to have come there. This turned out to be a life-changing experience for Simon Sinek. That also led him to come up with his inspiring theory of ‘The Golden Circle’. Which gave path to his ‘Start With Why’ movement.
Simon recalls in an interview — “That day when I was stuck and getting all paranoid, I had this thought. If I’m stuck here, I might as well make use of myself. I will volunteer to speak or help in any way possible.”
As soon as he made the mental decision to serve others, he found himself calm and relaxed. When his thought process changed from negative to positive, a miracle happened that day.
“A cargo plane landed in front of us. The door opened with a bang. And the officers asked us to get in fast.”
It was a fallen soldier ceremony. On the plane, Simon found himself next to the coffin of a dead soldier. They were only 3 passengers. The American flag draped over the casket.
Up in the sky, on their way to their homeland, America. At night, he laid there on the floor of the cargo plane, and had this thought.
“This guy knew a lot about service.”
After he got home, Simon had an interesting revelation about himself. Whenever he worked with people who believed in inspiring others, he had lots of energy. But when he worked with people who always worried only about their bottom line, he was short tempered.
For a time being, he reached a point where he couldn’t articulate why he was getting out of the bed in the morning.
After that moment of self-awareness, he made a decision. He began saying ‘No!’ to the business offers who were unsure of their Why.
Serving those who serve others became the core of Simon’s working philosophy.
If you haven’t watched Simon speak about the Golden Circle yet, go check it out. I’ve included the link below.
In the beginning of his career, Simon also defined success by big $$$ in the bank account. And all other fancy stuffs.
But his loss of passion helped him to discover the golden circle. He made it his purpose to find his ‘Why’. And he found his passion back again.
After he came up with the theory of ‘The Golden Circle’, he shared it with his friends. His friends would then call him to share it with more of their friends. And thus ‘The Golden Circle’ got shared by word of mouth.
Simon’s Ted talk on the golden circle is one of the top most watched Ted videos of all time. The viewership growth has been completely organic. No mass marketing as you’d suspect for a video that people have watched over 25 million times.
For those who know about this and for those who aren’t familiar, here’s a brief info on the golden circle.
Whenever you embark on a new project, whether in life or business, start with why. That means — focus more on the reason why do you want to do it? Whatever you’re trying to do, ask yourself ‘Why do I want to do this?’
Let’s say you want to launch your online business selling colored socks.
Ask yourself — Why do I want to be selling colored socks online?
“To make money. Duh!”
Money is a result of your Why. It’s a byproduct.
Your ‘Why’ on the other hand is unique to you. It’s meant to inspire you both, from the inside and from the outside, when you take actions.
I challenge you to put yourself in this shoe. If you had all the money in the universe, then why would you still want to be selling colored socks online? (Considering we’re still in the example I gave above).
The ‘Why’ in the Golden Circle makes you to tap into your emotional brain. The part of the brain where our feelings live. That is the area in our brain that helps to shape human behavior and make decisions.
You may think you’re a rational being, but research shows otherwise. We humans have evolved to be hard-wired for feelings.
When we feel strongly about something, we will go to all distances to make it happen.
And according to Simon’s Golden Circle, the best way to make sure that happens is — To Start With Why.
Once you have a strong ‘Why’ in place, the next steps — How am I going to make this happen?, and What am I going to do? are easy to figure out.
I’ll give you another example of the Golden Circle. This is in reference to myself starting a new blog.
Ankurmanshrestha.com is a personal blog where I will help people to build habits. Habits that will help them to get happier, healthier, and wealthier.
I will write blog posts with actionable steps on it. I will dig through scientific journals to write the most current information in the articles. I will also share stories of other people who have developed winning habits. Habits that help these people to get happier, healthier, and wealthier in life. And then I’ve got some stories of my own to share too.
Now let’s take Simon’s advise and think along the lines of the Golden Circle.
In April 2013, I wrote for my first blog post for my previous blog. I then wrote for 3 years. By mid 2015, I had discovered my true passion for writing. Writing makes me happy. It makes me feel like I’m creating something and sharing it with others.
Writing has helped me to reflect at different stages of my life.
Where am I headed? The journey I’m walking…
In fact, it was through writing for my old blog that I was able to find my answer to this question — What do I want to get out of life?
I don’t just do it for the mental high. Writing has helped me to get better at communication. As a non-native English speaker, my spoken English isn’t the strongest. Through writing, I am able to bridge that gap.
These are all good reasons. Yes, I’m passionate about writing, and thus I write.
But then, there is also a real reason.
Because there are always a good reason and a real reason for why you do something.
Why do you still go to your job that you absolutely hate?
Good reason — Because it helps pays the bills and the paycheck makes you feel secure.
Real reason — Because you’re scared out of your pants to go out on your own. Or you are afraid that no other company will hire you.
In middle school, I had a Hindi teacher. Just like you have an English teacher in the US, we in India have Hindi teachers. Her name was Miss Valeria (pronounced Vah-lay-ree-yah). If she were in the States, people would call her Ms. Valerie.
Anyways, this is what she said to us one day in class.
There are three ways to leave your legacy on earth.
Number 1 — Marry someone you’d want to spend the rest of your life with. The offspring that you guys have — give him the best values humanity has heard of. And then your child becomes your legacy when you’re gone.
Number 2 — Own a house. Because when you’re gone, it’ll still provide shelter and protection to your family members.
Number 3 — Plant a tree. And it will bear fruits years after you are dead.
I like her point #1. But there’s time for that in my life.
In regards to owning a house, I like James Altucher’s way of thinking. Whether you’re planning to buy a house or not, you should read his thoughts on why he’d rather shoot himself in the head than buy a house.
Yeah, a house would provide shelter and protection but only if the owner pays off the mortgage in full. If he dies before paying the house off, the bank comes back like hungry hyenas go after a deer in the African jungle. They will extract the left over mortgage through the life insurance policy of the dead owner. If no insurance, the bank then moves on to harassing the dead property owner’s family members. Welcome to reality.
I’m 26 as I right this post and in no hurry to buy a house. As for now, it’d be stupid to invest a big chunk of my net worth into the most illiquid asset. If there’s positive cash flow 2x to 3x times the mortgage, I will reconsider.
But for now, I want to tell you about the mango trees I had planted in Nepal almost a decade ago. I don’t know if they are alive. Never got to taste the mangoes. I’m not even sure if they were mango trees to begin with.
There’s nothing wrong with planting a tree. If you get a chance, go do it.
But when it comes to leaving a legacy, I like to see it with my own bespectacled eyes at least till I’m alive.
That brings me to my story.
In the Aug of 2014, I embarked on an epic journey to drive over 11,000 miles, do over 5000 Pushups across 40 US States. All in 24 days.
Yeah.. My friends thought I had gone nuts. But I called this campaign — A Drive To Inspire.
To raise awareness about the global obesity epidemic and raise charity for Groceryships. Now that was a good reason.
But there was a real reason behind this campaign. I wanted to find answer to some burning questions inside of me.
The drive to inspire campaign changed my life for the best. The Ankurman writing these words is uber grateful for that experience. I’ve got some super interesting stories of people and places during that journey. May be I’ll share more in future posts.
The other story that changed my life. My first business venture with my ex-roommate. AJ was a psychopath wanted by the State of Georgia for mortgage fraud and identity thefts. That business felt in my ass big time.
7 months of manic depression. I used to live with him isolated in some not-so-civilized part of the city (some folks call it the Ghetto). In the April of 2015, he ran away with my car (the same one I drove during drive to inspire).
I was on the Streets for a while. He had also left for me a gift of 25 thousand dollars worth of debt on my head. Identity theft is not fun. There are fake credit cards and bank accounts you have to close. Psychopaths are smart people btw. That’s another blog post.
I’m sorry, I digress.
I’ve had certain experiences in my life that a normal 26 year doesn’t get to experience. That’s what my friends tell me when they learn about my story.
But I believe these are the experiences that have made me who I am today. They have shaped me as a human being who wants to live inspired everyday and live to inspire others.
My purpose in life is — To Live Inspired & Live To Inspire.
The way I think and act, the things I’ve set out for myself to achieve while I’m alive.. It’s all a byproduct of my life experiences that have stretched me beyond my limits.
I want to document all the lessons I’ve learned in my blog. I want to share it with my future kids so that they know that their Daddy is the strongest. And for readers like you who are giving your time to read my story.
Just think of this — when I die, I’d have left a great volume of text behind. These will still be accessible to my loved ones and everyone. I’ll make sure that I’m on top with my GoDaddy hosting renewal.
Many bloggers have written posts on how to start a blog. And you know what… I’ll let you research it for yourself.
Curiosity is important. That helped me to reawaken my inner child. And it feels awesome.
Check out Erik Wahl’s Unthink if you need some help to awaken your child within.
Write whatever comes to your mind. Once again, you are starting your blog to write, to put your thoughts down somewhere. To be a better thinker. To be a better communicator. The richest entrepreneurs say you need to be a better writer. How’s that for some motivation?
Yes, there are entrepreneurs who are scoring big bucks from their blogs. But that takes time. Just like everything takes time.
You can create a revenue generating business out of your blog. But if this is your first time, set your most important priority to write. Pour your mind and heart out.
The writing process will stretch your mind like a rubber band. Don’t take my words, give it a shot.
I’m amazed these days how I can say out loud the answer to the question — What do I want to get out of my life?
Thanks to the writing I did at my old blog. RIP.
Check out the Golden Circle here.
Below is the video from the ‘Drive to Inspire’ campaign.
If you liked this article and would like to learn more about habits, and how you can use habits to get happier, healthier, and wealthier, just subscribe to my newsletter.
P.S. I also wrote about the 5 things you can buy with money and also be happy.