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why do you do what you do?

January 25, 2011

Is there an activity which is difficult but you keep going back to in nonetheless because it’s juicy, deepening and strangely satisfying?

What do you read up about, find websites about, study for and ponder even though it is not your job?

Those two questions stopped me in my tracks. They are part of a set of questions in A Little Book on Finding Your Way: Zen and the Art of Doing Stuff by Rev. Francis Briers and they are there to help you ‘find your own Way’.

As I was reading A Little Book… with an eye to writing a blog post  it shouldn’t have been a surprise to find myself thinking, “blogging answers those questions!” and as I read further it continued to tick all the boxes.

The kanji for bushido


Now when I first sat down to set up my blog I spent some time thinking about what I should call it. “finding my own Way” was what I came up with and the deliberate capitalisation pointed towards what I wanted the blog to become.

The “Way” was a nod towards the concept of Tao or Dao in China and Do in Japan.  It is the Do of Aikido, Bushido and many other Dos. The Japanese character for Do translates literally as the way, the path or the street.

A Little Book… is all about helping you to find your path in life:

The Way is not about Bigger, Faster, Stronger, Taller or More. It is about someone expressing their essential nature. It is about blossoming into the fullness of your being – and not in an ‘I’m the most beautiful blossom ever’ kinda way – in a ‘finding out who you are and living that’ kinda way.

And while Rev. Briers is an Interfaith Minister, it is not about converting you to any religion or selling you T-shirts – it is about finding your unique path in the world.

Developing your own Way.

It is always nice to find someone who thinks about the same weird stuff you do, but what I really liked about the book was that it recognised from the start that our path is our own and that we can make anything our Way – cake baking, pottery, dog walking, making tea … even accountancy!

There is not space here to share all of the bits I have marked in my copy (you will have to get your own!) but to give you an idea, A Little Book … offers three principles for developing what you do into something that becomes your do or Way:

  • A Philosophy
  • A Form
  • A Practice

And while that sounds initially daunting, A Little Book… is clear, easy to read and guides you gently through the process.

As far as my blogging goes I know I have a clear Form (a particular way that I go about it) and a regular Practice (a commitment to publish something once a week which requires me to sit down and write 3 or 4 times a week – there are a lot of draft posts you probably will never see!) but what I am finding most challenging is getting clear on my Philosophy.

A little book… offers this insight:

The philosophy of practice is what shapes the form of the practice and defines what it is you are trying to refine in yourself by doing the practice. It’s the answer to the question “Why are you doing what you’re doing?”

It is a question I get asked a lot when I tell people I blog. “Why do you do it?” Well, there are apparently a lot of good business reasons to blog but that is not why I do it.  What I do know is that I find it difficult but strangely satisfying and I think about it a lot even though it is not my job.

But what is it I am trying to refine in myself by doing it?

I don’t have a full answer yet but it got me thinking… I know someone who I think is starting out on the Way of the Cake and I know someone who I think is well down the path of the Way of the Accountant. Both of them light up when you talk to them about their particular Way – another sign according to A Little Book on Finding Your Way!

I wonder if they know why they are doing what they do, what their Philosophy is?

Do you?

Do you know why you are doing what you are doing? Whether you do or you don’t, I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.


A Little Book on Finding Your Way: Zen and the Art of Doing Stuff is self published by Rev. Francis Briers under the Warriors of Love Publishing imprint and is currently only available via his website: (although it should be on Amazon soon so if you are reading this post after Feb 2011 check out my Books I Recommend Page for a link to where you can buy it through

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Graeme permalink
    January 25, 2011 7:34 pm


    • January 26, 2011 9:30 am

      A very concise response Graeme. Welcome to my blog and thanks for leaving a comment.

      I am envious of your certainty!

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