Finding Your “Why”

Steven Barnes
5 min readSep 20, 2023


Until Jason has the first steps of the “Fractal” goal/energy system nailed, I’m staying with this, and use the system to enforce the system.

WHAT? To get the basics of RPM into Jason’s “unconscious competence.”

WHY? Because it seems the best breakdown of “executive function” I’ve ever seen. Literally every successful person I know has these patterns, usually at “unconscious competence”. This will allow him to leverage his intelligence, emotion, and physical energy to first SURVIVE in the world (strength, clarity, resources, self-love) and then to THRIVE (health/fitness, love, finance) and then, blossom into SERVICE and SPIRITUALITY. This would make me a very proud papa, and feel like I’d completed the circle of life and given a fine young man all the advantages I should have gotten from my absent father.

HOW? By focusing on his use of the Burchard HP6 journal, the wall calendar, and the “Fractal” system. Let me focus in. What is the order of work?

  1. GET EXCITED. Get wild! Raise your energy to the highest! Do this by moving your body, shifting your focus, and controlling your language. Breathing and the MORNING RITUAL. This includes elements of the MAGIC formula, your secret to generating “luck.”
  2. Do a “Capture” dump where, first thing every morning, write out EVERYTHING you can think of to do that day. Do the same at the beginning of every week or month or year.
  3. Go to the WHAT and WHY. And the WHY is most important.

Let’s focus in there.

ANY time someone says they aren’t motivated to act, or cannot sustain action over time, all you have to do is ask them WHY they want to do it, and you’ll get a few weak, usually external motivations (“my doctor told me…”. “My parents need me to…”) and so on. You need INTERNAL motivations. Have to discover the “burning core” of your own heart and being. WHO ARE YOU?

WHAT GETS YOUR MOTOR GOING? What excites you? What would you DIE for? What is the deepest, realist part of you?

If you don’t believe you can have it in your life, you might not even let yourself admit you have such passion. This has been true with Jason. Being “Blasé” can become an addiction: if you don’t want anything from the world, it cannot control you or hurt you.

WHAT DO YOU CARE ABOUT? The most powerful sources of energy will be in the “Belly Brain”:

  1. Personal survival
  2. Genetic survival (sex, mate and children)
  3. Tribal survival (power, status)

You could take the most depressed, suicidal person on the planet, stick their head in a bucket of water, and they will fight for their lives. ANY time you connect behavior with this core survival drive its like touching the “third rail” of human consciousness, for all practical purposes it is “hardware” or “ROM” as opposed to any abuse, neglect, oppression or deprivation software “installed” after birth. “If I do this, I will survive” is the most reliable motivation on the planet, for all creatures.

Genetic survival? If you can find a way to believe that “If I do this, I will get more and better sex” or “if I do this, my progeny will thrive and survive” again, while not as reliable as survival, about 95% of people will respond. Just think about all the advertising that associates random products with either health or sex, and you’ll see the power here.

Tribal Survival? Striving for status, or leadership. The support and acknowledgement of your peeps. POWER within that structure. Again, look at all the marketing that relates to power: cars, clothes, houses, fancy vacations and travel, etc.

Note also that the beauty and power seen in these ads connects to sex and reproduction: the more you have, the wider your options, and IMO on some level everyone understands this, whatever stories they tell to feel good about themselves.

Politics is also related to this arena, and people going to war generally relate the motivations to power, sex, or survival…even if what they SAY is “Motherhood and apple pie.”

In other words, START WITH THE EMOTION. Find the deepest well and tap THAT. Artists do this, connecting their work with something powerful they feel about humanity or life. Martial artists do this, and IMO the ethical systems in MA exist to be sure that you NEVER fight for ego. Only for things worth dying for. THAT’S how you access the deepest energies, and why I’d rather fight an average black belt than a mother protecting her child.

You can go back to the Emotion triad: how you use your body, what you focus on, and the language you use.

HOW WOULD YOU STAND AND BREATHE if you were about to have the most important meeting/confrontation/event of your life?

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO YOURSELF if the day ahead determined your ultimate destiny?

WHAT WOULD YOU FOCUS ON if you needed to bring your very best to this day, if this was the turning point in life, and YOU determined whether things went up or down from here?

RAISE YOUR ENERGY before you make plans, take meetings, brainstorm, work, workout, whatever. If you have a voice that says “how do I do that?” you need to consider the possibility that some part of you is blocking your mind…the text above is FILLED with ways to raise your energy: why didn’t you “get” that? What stopped you?

We have been disappointed, cheated, denied. We’ve failed and butted our heads against walls. It HURTS to care, to hope, to have faith…and be disappointed. And yet, the study of successful people who started with nothing suggests that they connect so deeply to some sense of “If I can’t…I MUST” that they keep going when others drop away. SOMETHING is more important to them than mere ego. Some sense of survival, love of family, or commitment to community or desire for power and money.

Find something inside you for which you would die, and you have found your reason to live, and fight, and endure.

A person with such a “why” cannot be defeated…they can only be killed. And since we don’t have the option of living forever, seems to me that the best use of the “death drive” is to gain clarity on survival, or family, or community, and find ways to connect EVERY action to it.

Anyone who can do that cannot be stopped while their hearts beat. And people can feel the PASSION radiating from them a mile away. They are different…but this energetic state is available to ANYONE willing to go deep enough.

And the more clearly you see and feel it, the easier to connect your goals to it. And honestly…why do you want to do ANYTHING that doesn’t connect with something that decreases pain and increases pleasure for yourself, your family, or community?

This time/energy management system is about accessing your EMOTIONS, which fuel your action. If you do this within the Three Centers, Three Gates and Three Questions, you are safe to do it. There are other approaches, I’m certain. Find one. Or use this one.

But get clear on your WHAT, and your WHY, and the HOW gets much, much easier, just a matter of keeping your eyes on the goal and experimenting with different forms of organization and prioritization. The journey will be grueling. You WILL want to quit. So before you begin, know why you are committed to staying on the path when others quit, following a mentor or map who has made the journey before you, and preferably guided others as well.

If I can give this to my son…I get a bunch of Dad Points. And for that…I’d die happy.



(only three days until the SECRETS OF HOLLYWOOD SCREENWRITERS workshop! If you want to see the HOW of this dynamic and exciting art form, join us!



Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts.