Inspiring Action with Why

One question I constantly ask myself is why some books, speeches, movies and music inspire us while most of the rest draw a blank. Why, for instance, are great films often followed by sequels that are losers despite the many seeming similarities?

On his tech blog, Terry White links to a TED speech on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” by Simon Sinek. The speech’s focus is on invention and corporate success. But like me, you may find that the “Golden Circle” principle of What, How, and Why also apply to writing.

Here’s my thumbnail summary. What is the sort of writing we do and and the plot (fiction) or facts (non-fiction) we’re describing. How is the technique we use and software such as Scrivener. But the real key to success, the speaker says, lies the Why that drives us to action and that leaves others moved or unmoved. That Why is what separates greatness from mediocrity. He mentions Apple, so I suspect he’d say it’s what separates Apple from Microsoft.

The video is only a little over eighteen minutes long, and it’s well worth watching. Simon Sinek also has a blog here:

The blog links to something called Why U. He also has a book named (no surprise here) Start With Why.

I’ve only just come across this, but it look like something that deserves further investigation. At one level, what he is saying seems rather obvious, but it’s often the obvious that we fail to apply to our lives.

–Michael W. Perry, editor of Across Asia on a Bicycle