Several months ago, I wrote a story on Medium called, “The Big Why“. In it, I wrote this, in part:
It’s become popular … to ask people, “What’s your why?” All of that is attributable to a young British chap named Simon Sinek, who’s managed to turn our cataclysmic dearth of self-faith and common sense — and our limitless capacity for pathological gullibility — into a gold mine, beginning with the publication of his first book ten years ago, Start With Why.
I don’t know what I feel worse about — the fact that we’re so desperate to justify our desires, our inclinations, our predilections, our reasons for doing or wanting to do anything that we turn a dude like Simon Sinek into a wealthy celebrity, even as we never end up doing what we want to do — or the fact that I didn’t become a wealthy celebrity by writing, publishing, and hawking Start With Who, Start With What, Start With Where, or Start With How.
To capitalize on the why phenomenon, I think I need to create an organization to espouse a new definition of WHY: Who’s Hyping You? Yeah. That’s it. I’ll call it the WHY Institute of Self-Faith and Self-Determination. Its purpose will be, like anti-aircaft guns, to shoot down all the idols, experts, heroes, and pop-culture pretenders on whom we squander our time, money, and attention while ignoring our own souls and callings.
As much as I’m intrigued by language — or, perhaps, because I’m endlessly and incorrigibly intrigued by language — I watch with ceaseless wonder as terms like why come and go. I marvel as they’re plucked from ordinary vocabularies, pumped full of faux meaning, are hyped into personal and professional self-help media, ride the wave of popularity to the top of the curve, and vanish from the vernacular like political integrity.
Why will wend its way to obscurity, walking the path trod by every other emphemeral term of vapid psychobabble and insipid bombast coined by every opportunistic huckster with a keyboard and a publisher, hawked by every shameless medium on the promise of making a buck, and bought by every easy mark with a lack of direction and a shadow of self-doubt. The only words that will never appear in the endless proliferation of personal and professional self-help tomes will be think and question. Especially if you haven’t lost your sense of irony, that should cause you to wonder why, indeed.
If you really want to ask why, ask WHY — Who’s Hyping You? And to restore yourself to yourself — to acquire or to re-gain the self-faith you deserve, to self-determine and to become the master of your own direction, if not your destiny — become a member of the WHY Institute of Self-Faith and Self-Determination.
Your lifetime membership includes self-paced courses that will teach you to do what you want to do, to ignore anyone and everyone who wants to tell you what to do, and to stop throwing money at wealthy celebrity nincompoops who aren’t capable of doing a fraction of what you’re capable of doing. If you enroll now, we’ll throw in two other programs at no additional charge: Start With Yes and Advanced Conviction.
To join the WHY Institute now, have your credit card ready and go to www.whyme.com, or call 1-800-WHY-HYPE.
Operators are standing by.