The WHAT and the WHY

We at 25 Financial are thrilled to announce Terry Tsue, MC FACS, as a guest contributor to the 25 Financial Blog.

As a Head and Neck surgeon, and the former Vice President and Physician in Chief of the University of Kansas Cancer Center and Vice President of Physician Services for the University of Kansas Health System, Dr. Tsue has a wealth of knowledge, experience, and credibility in the area of physician lifestyle and culture. This, coupled with his passion to share his experience with the next generation of physicians, makes Dr. Tsue an incredible resource for those we serve.

We are confident that these regular contributions will greatly benefit you as you partner with us to live your life to its fullest potential.


The “WHAT” and the “WHY” – Terry Tsue, MD FACS


Congratulations on taking time away from your everyday, every-minute commitments to pause and think about where you are, where you are going, and where you want to be.

As we get to know each other, let’s start by asking these questions of ourselves: “What is my what?” and “What is my why?” While both the what and why of life are important, we need to know the difference between the two so that we can give the appropriate amount of attention to each.

Your “WHAT”
What is my what? For most, the what is found in material things. Money is a classic example of a lowest common denominator what, but other things fall into the category, as well. Possessions, appearances, strength, power – each are significant. However, it is vital to understand that the what, no matter how appealing it can be, is only a means to get to your why.

There are a lot of sources and recommendations to help us accumulate the what, and though some accumulate better than others, we all get pretty good at it. In fact, it’s probably one of the easiest things we do- getting paid to do what we love. While we will spend some time together in the future learning to get better at the what, we must first define the why that we are working so hard to achieve.

Your “WHY”
What is my why? The why is something you learn more about as life goes on. Unlike your what’s, why’s aren’t very quantifiable, but once you’ve experienced a why, you won’t ever lose that memory. Try to remember instances and experiences that you just sat there and uncontrollably smiled, laughed ’til you fell on the ground or temporarily forgot all the stress of your daily life. Remember those experiences that gave you a full sense of joy, happiness, contentment, fulfillment, accomplishment, gratitude, excitement, anticipation, calm, gratification, love, grace, or relief. Those experiences point to your why.

Unlike the what, we aren’t very good at defining, preparing for, or achieving our why. Each of us have seen those who have plenty of what but not enough why. Even worse, some spend their whole life building the what kingdom but are cut short from experiencing their why because of one CT scan result or icy road stoplight. Let’s not do that. Instead, let’s find the way to utilize our what to achieve our why.

Connecting the “WHAT” and the “WHY”
Once you understand and are intentional about your why, having enough what to provide for your why is important. Recent research (2023) by Killingsworth et al.1 has shown an overall “linear-log” relationship between happiness and income. The research also showed “for higher incomes, …very happy people gain much more from increased income than unhappy people do. The upper part of the happiness distribution rises with log(income) at an accelerated rate in that range…”. In other words, the better you are at your why, the more why you gain from your what investment.

The goal of this contribution is to encourage you to discover your why while teaching you to build your what, giving you the freedom to experience life at its fullest potential.

So, let’s get at it and learn from each other. I look forward to our journey together.


*Terance Tsue MD FACS, as Manager of TTTsue LLC

1 Killingsworth, M.A., Kahneman, D., Mellers, B.: “Income and emotional well-being: A conflict resolved”, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 120(10) e2208661120 (2023)

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