One of the important studies in the behavioural sciences is understanding what makes a person behave in a certain way in a given situation.
In conventional behavioural studies, it was observed that three important questions typically get answered before an individual behaves in a given situation. The questions that arise are “what,” “how,” and” why.” The sequence and direction in which the questions are answered profoundly impacted the outcomes in the recent past.
The questions are typically put in concentric circles, with the innermost circles being “why,” the middle being “how,” and the outermost ring being “what.” The most popular and less effective in terms of outcome and effectiveness has been the outside-in approach. The level of difficulty increases as one moves from the outermost circles to the innermost. Perhaps the most challenging question to answer is the “why” of the innermost circle. It has been observed that behaviour that follows the outside-in path finds it easy to answer the behaviour as they move inwards, answering the questions. The most difficult to answer is the innermost “why.” But those who have managed to get a satisfactory answer to the innermost circle can find a more convincing purpose in one’s actions.
A recent talk by Simon Sinek on the golden circle unraveled the secret of success among a few organizations vis-a-vis its competitors. Companies that followed the inside-out approach found themselves exceptionally successful among their competitors. However, they did not command any competitive advantage due to technology, processes, financial strength, or intellectual property. Their purpose as to why they make a particular product or service was a distinct and guiding principle in achieving stupendous growth and results.
People tend to practice many activities in the real world, including the spiritual ones. The individuals who find the “why” of the inner circle first lead a relatively more fulfilling life with a sense of achievement. The reason is that they tend to follow the path of the heart and spend time connecting with the inner-self and creator. The others who merely depend on doing practices tend to follow the path more like a ritual, find no purpose, and experience less than expected outcomes. It is an attempt of lost endeavour that does not take them in any direction whatsoever and is stuck in the rituals’ grind. In any of the instances that they are shaken out of the circumstances, they give up and withdraw. A balanced and proven practical approach would be following the golden circles entirely and in the inside-out orientation to reach the pinnacle of success and satisfactory outcomes.
We, the believers, are asked by our Lord in the Holy Quran, “O you who have believed, enter into Islām completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.” (S2:V208). Completely following refers to the clear intent and awareness of all being done as part of Ibadah.