Why Do I Need to Know This?

In my day job as a professor I am developing a new college course. It’s about one of those subjects that people think you either “get” or “don’t get.” Have you ever heard someone say something like that?

“I just don’t get math, but I am great at literature.”
“I’ve never been good at memorizing names and dates, but geometry just works for me”

The challenge I am facing as I prepare the course is that it’s a required class. Every student going through our program will be taking this course. Instantly, the most common complaint of all students comes to mind:

“But why do I have to learn this? I’m never going to use it anyway.”

We’ve all made this gripe. How on earth would someone know in advance whether they needed to know something or not? How do we even define “needing to know” something? What does it even mean to “use it”?

Simon Sinek recommends that we “Start With Why.” Why? Because the “why” is where our motivation is hiding. When you have a deep motivation to work on something, you can’t be held back. You can’t help but hustle and grind and lean in until it’s done.

The “why” motivates you to commit, and then you cannot be stopped.

So here’s how I’ll teach that class: I’ll motivate students. Then I’ll surround them with resources that help them succeed.

You may have noticed that I use a similar approach here: I focus on “the why.” That’s because most people need help just admitting that things aren’t the way they should be. Most people need help realizing they have the power to change themselves and the world around them. Most people don’t believe that they can get better results if they put in better effort. (note “better” doesn’t mean “more)

The “how” will take care of itself after you’ve got the “why.”

Looking for more of both “the why” and “the how”? I’m launching a free class in a few weeks about getting control of your time, your money, and your career. Visit me at www.tonyferrar.com/question to register for free!