My why

Scott Sinek at TedxPuget Sound in 2010
Simon Sinek at TEDxPuget Sound in 2009

Some messages are so powerful, they can force you to rethink everything. For me, it is Simon Sinek’s talk at TEDxPuget Sound, “How great leaders inspire action.

In summary, he says that successful people and companies start with the why. Why do they exist? Why do they do what they do? Why should people listen to them or consider their products?

When potential customers and supporters understand the why, they are more willing to buy their products or agree to their ideas. Simon uses an example from computers:

Here’s how Apple actually communicates. ‘Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?’ Totally different right? You’re ready to buy a computer from me…What it proves to us is that people don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.

I believe starting from why is also important for us when we create. When we understand why we want to do something, we figure out how to do it and then create what we desire.

His speech got me thinking, what is my why for fiction writing?

Here is my why: I believe my writing can educate people, spark their passions, and inspire them to work towards a more just and humane world. I write about characters who struggle to free themselves from their limitations, especially the ones they impose on themselves. Even if they fail to get what they want, they triumph by gaining dignity and self-respect. When you read my books, you will get stories that will educate, entertain, and inspire you and leave you thinking for a long time.