The Golden Circle of Freemasonry

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Mark Mitchell

Simon Sinek, in his book, Start with Why and his Ted Talk, speaks about what he calls the "Golden Circle." Sinek, an author, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur, studied the lives, habits, and successes of many of the world's most influential leaders. He researched leaders like Apple Computers founder Steve Jobs, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Wright brothers.

What he discovered is that what sets these great leaders apart from others is that they think, act, and communicate in ways that are different than most. The way their minds work seems to enable them to reach levels of creativity, success, and influence that most people do not. Sinek suggests that all leaders can tell you what their organization does. They can tell you about their business. They can tell you the products they produce. They can tell you all about their "widget."

Most can tell you how their product works and how their widget is different from the others. They may even have examples of how their product is better than others or even how their widget can save you money.

What Sinek discovered in his research is that there is another component that sets certain leaders apart from the rest. The component that he says sets leaders like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., and even the Wright brothers apart from the rest is the "why"." They can tell you the "why" behind their widget. 

The "why" goes far beyond making money, driving a fancy car, or living in a big house on the beach. It goes far beyond merely supply and demand. The "why" speaks to what drives that leader to get out of bed, to face setbacks and failure more times than can be counted, and continue to move forward. The "why" is what drives them to try and accomplish something that has never been done before. The "why" is the gasoline that fuels the engine of their life and their creativity. The "why" is their mission, their passion, or even their destiny. In the case of the Wright brothers, another man was working on a flying machine at the same time. His name was H.P. Langley. 

Langley had connections. He had gotten fifty-thousand dollars from the war department for research and development. He had hired the best and brightest engineers and architects to assist in getting his project off the ground. (Pun intended.) The reason that Langley is somewhat obscure is that even though the Wright brothers didn't have the resources that Langley did, they had one thing that he didn't. They had "why." Their mission, passion, destiny, they're "why" was the desire to change the world through flight. When Langley heard that the Wright brothers, a couple of guys working out of a bicycle shop, had achieved flight, he gave up. You see. Langley's "why", as to be first. When it had been done by someone else, he lost his desire.

Sinek cites the example of Apple Products, Steve Jobs. The Apple founder's mission was not to make a computer. His mission, passion, destiny, his "why" was to "challenge the status quo." Jobs' "how" was to create a beautifully designed, user-friendly product. The "what,"" we know, ended up being the Apple computer, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and a host of other products. What Sinek lays out in his "Golden Circle" that Steve Jobs thought from the inside out, as all the truly innovative and groundbreaking leaders do.

Thinking from the inside out instead of the outside in what Sinek calls the "Golden Circle." Start with the "why" and work your way out from there.

So, what is the "Golden Circle"" of Freemasonry? 

The "whys" of individual Freemasons are probably as numerous as the stars. Every man that distinctively knocks on that inner door has his own reason for being there.

Many would say that the "why" of Freemasonry is to make good men better. I think that is the "what" of Freemasonry. Better men are the product of our system of morals veiled in allegory.
The "how" is the proper usage of the working tools. When you rightly apply what it means to meet upon the level, act by the plumb and part upon the square, or when you apply the truths of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, you are revealing the process in which a good man is made better.

But the crux of the "Golden Circle" Freemasonry, i the "why." The "why" of Freemasonry is found in the Master Mason degree when where taught the great lesson of the immortality of the soul. We gather around a newly made grave, where there is a body, but there is seemingly not much hope. So the most prudent thing to do is to pray. It is then that despair gives way to new life.

Many Freemasons look at the Craft as a way to discover Light, and the more Light they find, the closer they get to the Great Architect of the Universe. I see that as an outward/in look instead of an inward/out view. When we start with the "me", as, "n individual Freemason, and work my way towards God--that is an extremely elevated view of myself and a low view of Deity.

I did not create myself, and neither did you. I submit that the Great Architect of the Universe is the "why" of Freemasonry. We are on this Masonic journey because of the immortality of the soul, to which God has designed. You may remember these words:
"Thus we close the explanation of the emblems upon the solemn thought of death, which, without revelation is, dark and gloomy, but the good Freemason is revived by the evergreen and ever-living Sprig of Faith, which blooms at the head of the grave. It reminds him that there is an immortal spark in man, bearing a close affinity to the Supreme Intelligence of the Universe, which shall survive the grave and never, never die."
We were not put on this earth to make a name for ourselves or gain some sort of title, position, or rank. We were put here to prepare ourselves for eternity. The Masonic lessons that are taught and applied are ways that we prepare ourselves to make ready that "house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens." There is a master architect, which means there is a master plan. Unless you assume a God, the question of life's purpose is meaningless. — Bertrand Russell 

The Golden Circle of Freemasonry…The "why" is the Great Architect of the Universe has a master plan and set eternity in the heart of man. The "how" is in answer to the question, "In whom do you put your trust?" and the proper usage of the working tools given to us in Freemasonry. The "what"... is a good human, made better.


Bro. Mark Mitchell is a Master Mason from Wentzville Lodge #46 in Wentzville, Missouri. He is currently serving as the Worshipful Master. He was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in 2014, became a Royal Arch Mason in 2015, and a 32 degree Scottish Rite Mason in 2019. He has had an article called, "Mind Your Own Ashlar" published in the Missouri Freemason magazine in 2020. Mark, a former pastor, is now a compliance coordinator in a transportation company. He lives in Wentzville, Missouri with his wife, Shannon, and their Aussie, Libby. He has two sons and a daughter in law.

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