Would you stop thinking about what everyone wants, what do you want?
I’ve sat with many teenagers, asking them what they want to be. Lately, I have been asking similar questions to adults who are stuck in jobs that they hate, feeling a little loss or simply wanting a relationship. What do you want?
What I have discovered through years of being an academic counselor and my own life experience is the secret to achieving what you want most.
Here is the basic recipe:
- Knowing what you want
- Understanding why you want it
- Actions you have to take to achieve it
It is super easy. You just have to get over the first GIANT hurdle of actually knowing what you want.
Working with young people who shrug their shoulders when asked “what they want” has taught me some valuable lessons. When confronted about their wants, needs and desires they become self-conscious. Afraid to say out loud what they really want in case they are judged or if they fail. I always encourage the ambitious. Ambition is a great trait to have because it means you dream big and have high expectations of yourself.
More times than most, that person knows exactly what they want, they know what they are passionate about and most importantly they know what they don’t want. When exploring this you have to be selfish and not take other peoples expectations of you into account. It is not about what others want of you, its about what you want.
Figuring out what you want
The secret to discovering what you really want is to figure out what you don’t want. It is as easy as picking food off a menu. You know that you don’t like squid so you pick the chicken. When it comes to work, you don’t like gossiping banter so you don’t participate in it. Relationships, you don’t want someone unreliable so you pick someone that is. What you want is usually the opposite of what you don’t want.
If you don’t like your job, figure out what you don’t like about it. Once you’ve got that list you can start figuring what you want out of a job.
Understanding why you want it
This one takes a bit of reflection on oneself. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is a great pyramid to get to the deeper reasonings behind someone’s desires or wants. The bottom tiers cover the basic need which is food, warm, security and shelter. The middle tiers cover the psychological such as self-esteem and a sense of belonging. The top tier is self-actualization when a person is able to meet their potential. Without the bottom and middle tiers one cannot reach the top.
Think of it as ’cause and effect”. Let’s say a person lacks a sense of belonging and has a low self-esteem. This person starts to value material items in order to attract others approval. They want to be rich or at least look rich. This person wants to be rich so that can feel like they belong and to build their confidence. They want people to care about them. Starting off with a lack of belonging and low self-esteem made them an outsider. By being wealthy they hope to create a sense of importance but deep down all they really wanted was to feel loved and appreciated.
To have a holistic and deeper understanding of why you want the things you want, or perhaps need the things you want will help give you drive and motivation. Your wants become internal, rather than external. When you begin to understand your deepest desires it gives your goals more weight and when you finally fulfil them it will be a rewarding experience.
Actions you have to take to achieve it
Be vocal about what you want. Tell people with confidence. Do not fear failure, you are failing yourself by not sharing it. If you want to be a dancer say it. Doctor, say it. Actress, say it. By telling others you are holding yourself accountable. Now, you have to walk the walk. Whether you believe in magic or the law of attraction, sending out what you want into the universe sometimes has it replying back to you.
Don’t just be a dreamer. Some dreamers are all talk but no walk. Dream big but take actions towards achieving it. Hate your job, then apply for another one or look at other career options and then leave. Life is too short to only be dreaming and living in misery. You want to be an art teacher? Then pick the right subjects in school, work hard to pass them, apply for university, work even harder to get that degree and graduate diploma. BOOM, ART TEACHER.
Action Plans. You have to have an action plan. For most long-term goals, there are going to be several steps and stages of life to get you there. They’re not instant and involves hard work. Even for life problems like feeling something is missing, you still need an action plan to figure out what is missing. Join a club, read some motivation books, travel. All of your action plans should be driving you in the right direction-toward what you want.
The only thing that you should be indecisive about is what to eat. Once you begin to live a life where you know what you want you will begin to reach Maslow’s Self-actualization and become more metacognitively aware. Throughout life your priorities may change and what you want might. That is okay, so long as you understand why they have. I dare you to be vocal about your dreams and the things you want right now. Comment below, double dare you.