My "Why" During Quarantine

Luke Hanson, Academic Advisor and postbac at University of Alabama at Birmingham, Capsule Contributor

I'm a huge proponent of asking, what's your "why"? I acknowledge that linking "what's your ultimate dream" to a weekly assignment can feel discordant, but it consistently proves to be the best motivator for action and conversation.

I've written about authoring and making yourself the hero of your own story. One key element of this approach is that it can help you find meaning in literally everything you do with the right mindset and focus.

That second Capsule mission recounts an old parable about three bricklayers. Each is asked why they do what they do. The first simply says, "I'm laying bricks," while the second responds, "I'm building a wall." These are, respectively, a task and a job. The last bricklayer says, "I'm building a church," concisely outlining his purpose. From this, every action is in service to that goal. Knowing his why puts a driving force behind each and every what.

Capsule's third mission, on goal-setting, then builds on this "why" by categorizing different values and turning them into motivators for all of your goals. When things veer off track, you can consistently ask: what are my values? Why did I begin in the first place?

We're all in a unique position right now. We're members of the same global society and, on a more micro level, individual communities. COVID-19 has thrown a lot of us off track, but ultimately, we share the same why: to keep each other safe.

Working out in the living room instead of a public space? Telecommuting instead of going into the office? Reading a book or playing a video game instead of going out for entertainment? Some of these measures have been made for me, and some I'm self-selecting.

All, coupled with whatever emotions I'm feeling in a given moment, are making me feel isolated and a bit stir crazy. What makes it easier (and more fulfilling) is to pause and refocus through the lens of, "I'm doing X because it's my duty as a citizen and human to protect everyone else."

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