Why start with 'Why'?


I look at where I was a few years before in a dead end job, drifting aimlessly and almost ending it all (more in my book). I've had a few hard knocks (no pun intended)  and where I am right now, I am truly grateful for all that I've experienced in my past for it's led me to this point in my life.

So why start why with 'why'?

I believe it's the single and most important driving force to achieve sustainable progress and success both individually, and professionally. Watching Simon Sinek's TED talk 'Start with why' a few years ago, and reading his book truly inspired me. 

'Why' is what has driven me to be better than I was yesterday:

Becoming more - In my younger years, I always watched my dad 'pumping iron' in our home gym. He prided himself on being able to do 1000 sit-ups at one go, and easily run 10km in the trail a few times a week. Suffering from a plethora of health issues (kidney disease, epilepsy, childhood obesity and asthma) and spending most of my time in hospital, I was always inspired by my dad's level of fitness. My journey into the gym started when in my early teens when I wanted to be more than a 'double scoop ice cream with a cherry on top' (what my peers called me).

Overcoming adversity - In 2010, it was just after my storm had passed. I decided that it was time to channel all that negative energy into something that I was passionate about. Competitive bodybuilding was my focal point. The result? I came 3rd place (Novice) at the 2010 INBA Victorian Titles and won 'Best Routine/Poser'. A title I chuckle at till this day. (Video of my routine here

Challenging the status quo - About a year after I turned vegan, I wanted to show that you not only thrive without consuming any meat or dairy, but also be a competitive athlete. The result? I came 2nd place Fitness Model (Over 30s) at the 2013 ANB Victorian championships. Many years on, I'm fitter, faster, stronger and healthier than I have ever been before and the best thing? I am also making a difference whilst opting for this lifestyle.

Acting on inspiration - At the same time, I formed Evolved Generation through inspiration from our sister team Plantbuilt. I was passionate about spreading the plant-fuelled message through conscious athleticism. 

Activism - I then specialised in plant-fuelled nutrition and was driven to help others achieve their own physical and emotional success through this perspective. To me, this was my form of activism. Helping others become the best version of themselves, while standing up for what they believed in. 

Being a part of a growing community - I remembered being extremely inspired by Plantbuilt and reaching out to Giacomo and Dani (the founders). They were extremely warm and friendly and I still remember our first Skype conversation. We just hit it off like a house on fire. After a few international conference calls, It was decided that team evolved were to travel to Texas to compete alongside Plantbuilt. As a collective of 41 vegan athletes from around the globe, we represented our cause and believed with all our hearts, 'Strength In Numbers.'. The result? I placed 1st Physique (Novice) at the 2015 Naturally Fit Games in Austin, Texas. This goes in the books as one of the best times of my life.

Growing a brand - Becoming an author on the subject. Now focussing on growing Evolved Generation, A.W.A.K.E Method and creating Plant-fuelled athlete workshops and seminars, I am now driven to build a conscious coaching brand, with sights on opening a health/wellness retreat that specialises in plant-based wholistic nutrition. 

My ultimate vision and goal is to create a world where consumption is both conscious and positive. "A thriving culture of 'awakened' individuals being the change they wish to see in the world."

I now realise that when you have a strong enough 'why', take focussed and consistent action, you will be develop a thirst that cannot be quenched, a fire that cannot be extinguished as you charge forward blazing a trail around you.

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.
— Simon Sinek

Take away points:

1. Find your own 'why' 

Think back to a time when you were in flow, it could be a few years/months ago or when you were a kid. Where time did not matter and you just truly and deeply enjoyed doing what you did, without a care in the world. This moment in time could hold significance for your existence. 

2. Serving a higher purpose or value  

Why do you train? Why do you do what you do professionally? What drives and motivates you? What would you like to change in your life, and in the world? What is your measure of success? Often, this will be more than something that is just self serving or validating.

3. Walk your own path 

We get bombarded 24/7 by mainstream media, unsupportive friends/family on what we should or should not do, be or should not be. The key to it all is drowning out all the noise around you and creating an enriching environment around you.

  • Is your social network letting you down? As Jim Rohn once said 'You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.' Maybe it's time to look at who your current 'influencers' are?
  • Writing affirmations on your wall or putting them up as screen savers, writing your own manifesto, creating a vision board or just having a hiatus from social media, create your own 'bubble' of success.

4. Learn and connect with those that inspire you

'Success always leaves clues' is the one thing I always think about when I am learning something new. Who has done what you are attempting to do? How would they think, feel, speak, train? Is there a chance to connect with them? Have they written a book, recorded a podcast or created a training video? If success has already been achieved by someone, it can be modelled by you too.

5. Say 'yes' and commit to fruition

Opportunities only present themselves a little later than the point you've decided to do something. Don't give up only after a few tries, or be flippant in your commitment. The day that you 'fail' is the day you stop trying. Know that anything and everything is possible if you want it bad enough.

So whatever you do, always start with 'why' you do what you do.

Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as an unintended side effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself, or as the byproduct of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.
— Viktor Frankl, author of 'Man's Search For Meaning'

Peace and strength,

Luke Tan