The key question in life is “Why?”


I was recently watching a Marathi movie named Paavankhind, based on the legendary battle of Ghodkhind(a narrow mountain pass), led by Chhatrapati Shivaji’s commander Baji Prabhu Deshpande. In this battle, three hundred Maratha soldiers held back an army of around ten thousand Adil Shahi forces. One may wonder, how is it possible? In the movie, the commander gives a scintillating speech to his troops. He does not tell them how to fight but gives them a “Why?”

In the 1996 mountaineering expedition to Everest, Jon Krakauer asks his team, that despite all the pain and suffering, ‘why’ is everyone climbing Everest? Doug Hansen, an ordinary mailman says, “I climb everest because I can.” He did scale Everest (but died during descent).

As the German philosopher Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” For ages, we have seen men rise against all odds. We have witnessed this in the Battle of Rezang La, where 120 Indian soldiers defied three thousand well-armed Chinese Soldiers. We have seen this on innumerable occasions, when men, driven by a strong ‘why’, can manage any ‘how’.

This can be transposed to every sphere of life. Asking fundamental questions can lead to first principles. Clearer first principles can lead you to lateral thinking, thus expanding horizons of human thinking .This enables people to find superhuman courage or unbelievable resourcefulness, even ingenuity. If the why is clear enough, how is a matter of time.

P.C. Wikipedia.


Prasad Kulkarni is a Data and Analytics professional. At work, he analyses historical data and ponders over historical events otherwise.

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