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Purposeful Action: Why We Start With the Why

I’ve been thinking a lot about purposeful action. As our team likes to say, there needs to be a why. Before the how or what, there is why. There is no point of doing without thinking, or taking an action without having meaning behind it. To lack purpose behind our actions is to simply follow orders or our own habits, sans questions or even thought.

It’s emphasized in common culture, especially in capitalist and developed countries, that there are certain pathways we must follow, depending on our positioning in life. As young kids, we go to primary schools; as teenagers, we attend high school. If we want a technical job, we get training for it, and once we get the job we desire we follow the instructions of our superiors. Most of us subscribe to this system without questioning it; without asking why we have to do our homework, the purpose of our assignment at work, or if our individual actions are actually moving us closer to our long-term goals.

At, we strive to always have a why, always a reason, always a purpose. Behind every action we take, every word in our research papers, every image on our site, there is purpose — one or multiple. However, that’s not to say it comes naturally.

As mentioned, thinking about every choice and the reasons behind it is not a skill emphasized in mainstream education. Since starting my internship at, where this process is highlighted, I’ve realized how much it was lacking in my educational experience. I am currently a Senior in a U.S. university, where I don’t always have a why for everything that I do. I attend all lectures, and this I know I do because I feel more engaged and that I get more out of my learning than just reading a textbook. However, it’s easy to get lazy and just do things because you’re told, without any deeper thought of what your output means.

In the past few months of being part of the team, I’ve become aware of this phenomenon in my life and just that awareness has made a huge difference. I was always a naturally curious and driven child, which made me interested in higher education and working in a research team, as I am now. However, somehow on the road of this path, I lost a little of that drive that made me question everything and decide on a meaning before any action. reminded me that this isn’t just important, it’s essential, and it incites a deeper investment into every action. Reflecting on this has made me grateful — I don’t want to be complacent with doing the bare minimum, as this type of action has no real meaning and therefore no real value, so I’m glad to have a team that has my back and ensures that this doesn’t happen.

A nice metaphor here is that purpose is like a compass. It’s not a map — it doesn’t give us a route to take or step by step guide of how to achieve our goals. However, knowing our why does guide us. Like a compass, it gives us direction, as well as trust that we know the way to go. In this way, knowing our why propels us forward, furthering our drive and increasing our confidence. I’m very appreciative to be a part of a team that

If you’re also interested in sharpening this part of your intellectual toolkit and being a part of a meaningful team, apply to our internship program here!

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2 kommentarer

09 dec. 2020

I love these words! 'A purpose is like a compass. It’s not a map'. I remembered when my friends asked me what should they do in an organisation, I always said that they have to remember the reason why they chose it


Also, every line in a drawing has a meaning "why" ;-) Whether you see the line or not, it will give a foundation to the final picture!!!

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