Cheshire Taught Me About the Question "Why?"
Today I got the privilege to meet Charley Shin, the CEO and founder of Charley's Sub and Bibibop. Bibibop is a famous chain that started in Columbus, OH. In Charley's words, it is an "asian version of chipotle". During his presentation, Charlie shared a couple of points regarding good leadership and ways to overcome challenges in doing business. About half an hour into the presentation I started to notice his tendency to repeat one particular question. Charley said that the best question that we can ask ourselves in our journey is :
"What do you want? Why are you doing what you're doing?"
The question seemed to kind of make sense to me at the time but it didn't really sink; so I continued on with my day, not thinking much about the question at all. Later that night I attended an analytics class in which my professor brought up a quote that is part of a conversation between Cheshire the Cat and Alice from the famous Alice in Wonderland book:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll,
First of all, I have always thought that Alice in Wonderland is the most confusing children's book ever. It just never made much sense to me. Alice in Wonderland is not a reular Children's book because the moral of the story is often masked and hidden behind plots and conversations. But that night Lewis Carroll suddenly started to make sense to me. Caroll's words transformed from being gibberish to being wise golden words. I began to see this quote in a new light.
To me, the quote that Charley Shin mentioned and the quote from Lewis Carroll above rings the same bell. They remind me of the importance of having purpose, and the importance of being intentional about my directions and actions. Cheshire the Cat responded to Alice's indifference to her direction by saying that it does not matter where she goes if she doesn't know where she wants to go to.
This short moment of reflection also reminded me of a book that I read a while ago. It's called Principle of the Path, by one of my favorite preacher and author: Andy Stanley. The book mentions a couple of important things that, due to my lack of skills to provide better quality writing, I will quote:
"Direction, not intention, determines your destination. One gets to the place one wants to be the same way one got to the place one didn't want to be - by putting one foot in front of the other and moving in a specific direction. We don't drift in good directions. We discipline and prioritize ourselves there. They ask what I often refer to as the best question ever: 'In light of my past experience, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?' "
Note: I combined these quotes from different sections of the book.
DISCIPLINE and PRIORITY. I love it! What a great reminder. I thought about my own journey and the steps that I am taking right now; 5,10,20 years down the road, I don't want to be asking myself: "how did in the world did I get here?". So here are my key takeaways, and the things that I will do moving forward :
1. Lewis Caroll is going into my list of favorite children's book authors.
2. I want to think about my purpose. I want to think about what I'm doing, and what I want to achieve, and why I want to achieve them.
3. I want to be intentional about the steps I take : I want to be intentional about the responsibilities that I take on, about the relationships that I pursue, about the decisions that I make.
4. I want to learn to be disciplined and to prioritize my time and life according to my purpose and goals.
Today I'd like to encourage you to soak the quotes above into your soul. I have found that knowing the WHY behind the decisions that I make gives me a sense of peace and contentment. How about you? Do you know your Why?
It's been one heck of a learning day!
P.S : This amazing background is actually the wall of Knowlton Hall in Ohio State University :)