Achievement begins with knowing what you want. Like your specific purpose, you must clearly identify what you really want out of life. Unlike your specific purpose, we are not talking about just one large major goal. What you want from life can be a list of a couple of things or pages and pages of material, emotional and spiritual desires. It’s your list.
How can you possibly pursue what you want in life if you don’t really know what you want? You may think you know what you want, but often when you get it you realize that you either didn’t really want it, or having the thing you wanted takes away more enjoyment of life than it brings. So how do you find out what you really want?
STEP 1: Brainstorm. Sit in a quiet place and write down everything you THINK you want in life from material wealth to relationships. Include things such as spare time for hobbies, spiritual goals, where you want to live, travel to, friends you want to have, family, health, and anything else you can possibly want out of life. You do not have to be too specific here, for example, if you really do want the latest BMW every year just write “latest BMW”—no need for model numbers, colors, etc. This does not have to be done in one sitting; it could be done over several hours or several days. Don’t continue with step 2 until you are satisfied with what is on the list.
STEP 2: Prioritize. Circle what is most important to you on the list. Let’s trim our watermelon vine so the watermelon we keep can grow to full size.
STEP 3: Eliminate. Elimination of wants and desires is not as tough as it seems. As soon as you realize that there are more reasons NOT to want something than to want something, you no longer want it. Carefully look at each item on your list and think about all that you would need to give up to have and enjoy that item on your list. For example, realize along with home ownership comes taxes, mortgages, and upkeep—so this may cause you to reconsider your “one home in each state” goal. Before you start crossing things off your list, remember that life is not two dimensional; your wants exist in time. So if your list has both being a Hugh Hefner (the Playboy mansion guy) and a family man, the former can take place early in life while the family life can come later. Look out for contradictions that exist such as spending more time with kids/grandkids and sailing around the world alone for two years.
STEP 4: Visualize. Create a vivid motion picture in your mind of your ideal life. Play this “movie” often and write it down like a story that is already happening. From this point, everything you do in your life should bring you closer to this ideal life you have created for yourself.
If you have a life-long partner, it is important that you do this exercise together. Or you may choose to each do the exercise, then compare notes and make sure that both of your life plans are consistent with each other’s.
The main reason people do not get what they want out of life is because they do not want it badly enough. “It would be nice to have three months vacation a year” is often heard but those who passionately desire this usually go as far to take a teaching job to have the summers off to pursue other interests. If your list is full of things that would just be “nice” to have, chances are you will not get them. If you do have these items on your list, either create a desire for having them by visualization or just cross them off and focus on what you are passionate about, and you will get it.
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