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Start with the Why

In an effort to find inspiring material for one of my H3 lectures, I came across an amazing Ted Talk by Simon Sinek. If you’ve never heard of a Ted Talk, then you need to acquaint yourself with Ted.com. Ted.com is a website that believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. Their passion is conveyed through motivating videos and conferences presented by amazing speakers from around the globe.

Simon Sinek is one of those amazing speakers and his video, entitled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” had me riveted immediately. The basic premise of his philosophy is that people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Companies and individuals that are outstanding in their field don’t start by telling you what they sell or believe, or how they make their product, but rather why they do what they do first. Their passion drives the process. Simon illustrates this concept using what he calls, “The Golden Circle,” as seen below.


Most companies/individuals start from the outer ring of the circle and work their way inward. For example, Dell computers might explain their company by first saying what they do; “We make great computers.” Then proceed with how they do it; “We make them with only the highest quality materials.” Lastly, they would explain why; “Because we want you to buy one.” However, the undisputed success of Apple can be explained by their reversed thought process. They start with the why; “Everything we do, we do because we want to challenge the status quo and give individuals access to the same technology and information as the largest corporations.” Their how would sound something like…”Our computers are beautifully designed and very user-friendly.” Lastly, their what would simply be, “We make great computers.” Of course Simon’s video explains the concept much more eloquently.

What got me so jazzed about Simon Sinek’s idea is how wonderfully it applies to weight loss and exercise. Our journey to achieve or maintain a healthy lifestyle should start with the why, not the what.


For example, here is conventional thinking from the what to the why:

What: I want to lose 20 pounds

How: I will exercise 5 times a week and eat a healthy diet comprised of 1500 calories.

Why: Because I hate being overweight and out of shape.


Here is inspired, passionate thinking from the why to the what:

Why: I want to feel strong and sexy in my body and I want to be able to play with my children without any limitations. I want to be proud of my body. I want to be passionate about my health.

How: I will exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, reduce my alcohol intake, and cut out processed foods. I will commit myself to this process.

What: I want to lose 20 pounds.

Instead of starting with a number on the scale, or a clothing size, start with the core ideals that drive you. Start from a place of internal passion, not external motivating factors that in the end, don’t help define you. Watch Simon’s video and see how it can apply to your quest to improve your health. Email me and let me know what you think! lvolz@hhhealth.com.

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