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Houston Spencer
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I facilitate a lot of workshops for young folks trying to figure out what to make of their lives. One thing I experience is that some of the distinctions that Sinek makes are semantic. For a lot of the most important things in our lives, the distinction between what and why is hard for folks to delineate. And that can be frustrating for them, rather than helpful. For example: Some participants in my workshops talk about how important it is to them, in the course of their lives, to be good parents. In some contexts, that strikes them as a "what": to have children and be a good parent. In other contexts, they see it as a "why": because they have values that are about family, children, and good parenting. Debating about whether its a "what" or a "why" can become just a word game if you're not careful. I like Sinek's idea and its simplicity. It's a good reminder. That said, it's so basic, that it can twist in many ways that aren't necessarily clarifying.
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May 16, 2010