Derek Sivers

Why am I here?


Looking around the room.

“Why am I here?”

It’s a useful question to ask often.

Either it will re-focus your reasons for being where you are, or it will make you realize your reasons have expired and you should be somewhere else.

In a little apartment in Singapore, I ask it again.

“Why am I here?”

Because of the brilliant and fascinating people here.

(But I’m refusing all requests to meet, to stay focused on my work. For the past 3 years I was very social, but now I’m not.)

Because I love learning about Asia, and Singapore is a great central home base for that.

(But I’m not exploring Asia right now. For the past 3 years I was, but now I’m inwardly-focused on my writing and programming.)

Because I love and admire it, and it feels like home.

(But I’ve loved everywhere I’ve lived, from California to New York to London to Portland. They’ve all felt like home. Future places will feel like home, too.)

Because I’m here right now.

(But there are airplanes. You can sit in them.)

Most of us are where we are because of decisions we made years ago. But are those reasons still current for what we need now? Ask again.

“Why am I here?”

Damn. I ran out of reasons. I should be somewhere else.

I want silence, solitude, and wide open spaces.

I want to work all day while listening to nothing but birds and wind in the trees.

I want an intentional lack of distractions, far far away, to cure my tendency to say yes to intellectually stimulating events.

So the answer was clear.

I moved to New Zealand’s South Island.

Here I am.

“Why am I here?”

To work. To focus. To write. To code. To launch.

Yes. Good answer.

New Zealand photo
(photo by Trey Ratcliff)