Because We Can

A friend of mine does a lot of cycling. He recently did a long tour with two of his friends. Let’s call them Björn and Barbara. For some reason, Barbara was cycling as if the devil himself was chasing her. At one point, my friend caught up with her and asked: “What are you cycling away from?”

Barbara thought about his question for a second. There was a lot going on in her life. She was moving flats, had a busy job, and struggled with some health issues. But she didn’t feel unhappy.

Barbara relayed the question to Björn, who was even further ahead than she was. “Hey Björn, why are we cycling 200 kilometers in a day like madmen?” And Björn only said three words: “Because we can.”

You don’t need a reason for everything you do, and you especially don’t need a reason to do something great. What a magnificent achievement of the human body, to cover 200,000 meters in a day, using nothing but one’s legs and a simple device. How awe-inspiring that we can do that! So why wouldn’t we?

Later in the day, Björn elaborated on his stance: “We are free. We are here. We are awesome. We have the power to pull off this feat, and that’s why we’re doing it. To have fun. To enjoy the challenge. To remind ourselves that we can.”

“Because we can” is the best motivation there is. It is not clouded by incentives or worries or regret. It acknowledges the infinite genius, inspiration, and creativity of the human spirit. It reminds us to be playful, to stay curious, and to not prematurely give up on things that have never been tried.

The next time you catch yourself chasing the wind, don’t doubt your intentions. You’re not doing it for some ulterior motive. You’re doing it because you can — and that’s the best part about it.