Communicating, from the inside out

English: A diagram of what Simon Sinek calls '...

English: A diagram of what Simon Sinek calls ‘The Golden Circle’. In his TEDx talk, he says ‘People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Madeline Laughs

Recently I watched a short video of Simon Sinek, How Great Leaders Inspire Action. Very informative and captivating piece. I walked away from it with more than what I bargained for. Usually when I click on the numerous videos posted by friends online, my expectations are extremely low. It isn’t often I make it all the way to the end of something like this, but Mr. Sinek held my attention to the very end.

Have a look for yourself.

At one point during the play I picked up my pen and started making a note to myself about something he had said that struck a nerve. It was about communication and how we communicate in sales, but to me it went a bit deeper than that. I wanted to apply his codas to how I communicated in my everyday life. I wanted to apply his theory to how people communicated with me.

Think about what that could mean.  

He explains it so much better than I could. I hope you’ll also take the time to watch the video. Essentially, it is communicating from the inside out, instead of from the outside in. He drew a circle within a circle within a circle. The outside circle was What?. The circle in the middle was How? and the circle in the center of the bullseye was Why? He called it the Golden Circle. Everyone knows what they do, sometimes they even know how they do it, but not many people can tell you why.

This is what struck me most…the Why? He said people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. You can apply this to just about anything! The best part is this simple truth is firmly rooted within all of us already.

It’s biology!

The neocortex is the part of our brain that is responsible for rational, analytical thought and language. This part of our brain responds to the What part of his Golden Circle. The limbic part of our brains are responsible for feelings like trust and loyalty, also human behavior, and decision making. This responds to the How and the Why part of the circles. We are all already hardwired to communicate and understand in this way.

So why don’t we do it?

Why am I constantly having to second guess someones intentions? Why do I find myself sorting through the myriad of minutiae and debris of the reason someone does what they do? Could it be this simple? Could it be the reason I struggle with understanding some people is simply because I don’t buy why they’re doing it?

I think I’m onto something here!

Applying this to my field of work was simple enough. I know what I do. I research people and their habits. I know how I do it. I gather data from random selections of the general population based on an algorithm following a protocol designed not to influence the outcome of my study subjects.

I also know why I do it. Personally, I enjoy observing the human condition, figuring it out, adding value to it. But could I apply this same set of criteria to my personal relationships? To my friends and my loved ones? Isn’t there some esoteric set of rules that governs these intimacies?

He makes the point that it behooves you to forget about selling to the people that need what you have and concentrate on the people that believe what you believe.


How many years have I wasted trying to sell to people that need what I have, but didn’t have the first thing in common with me as a person? I made a conscious effort the last 5 years to surround myself with people that are of the same mind. I wasn’t looking for people that always agreed with me, I was looking for people with similar goals in life, similar beliefs. I sought comfort and camaraderie.  I wanted to start avoiding drama and conflict as much as possible.

I was looking for a mass to wrap myself in as I enter the last part of my time here. So I have searched for that peace in this part of my life.

This is why I do the things I do.

This is why I love the people that I love.

Communicating from the inside out.

I like it.

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Communicating, from the inside out

  1. Lisa (Woman Wielding Words) says:

    I read (saw?) something somewhere recently (could I be more vague) about achieving our dreams by not asking how or what, but by asking ourselves “Why?” That seems to be the magic question.


  2. Regyna Longlank says:

    The why is in order to express something about the human condition, to make a record, to leave some traces of having been here – the idea of an artistic legacy. To create or birth something new, unique, and important because only you could do it. Still working on the what and how…

    As the Leonard Cohen song says, probably about someone who left Manhattan to do something other than art: “You’re living for nothing now, I hope you’re keeping some kind of record.” Here’s to going clear.


  3. Pingback: The Daily Inspiration » Blog Archive » The Golden Circle: Why To How To What » The Daily Inspiration

  4. Devin Ambron says:

    This is such a fantastic piece of information about how we present ourselves daily. How can we become better and start selling from the “why”?


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