Figure Out What You Want

You can’t ask for what you want unless you know what it is. A lot of people don’t know what they want or they want much less than they deserve. First you have figure out what you want. Second, you have to decide that you deserve it. Third, you have to believe you can get it. And, fourth, you have to have the guts to ask for it.

– Barbara De Angelis

If you read the articles on IEvo a lot, you probably already know what this post is going to be about and why I suggest it.  I’ve talked a lot about goals, wants and desires already.  I wrote about how setting goals helps achieve them and how taking those goals seriously makes them become your reality.

This post is about the process that comes before all of that.  Before something becomes a goal, it first starts as a desire.  We all have desires, and most of us have a whole lot of desires.  Some are big, like moving into a dream home, finding true love, becoming the best in your field or earning a high income.  Others are smaller, like cleaning the bathroom today, making time for exercise or simply getting a cup of coffee.

Easy right?  Well, almost.  Certainly having desires is an unconscious process that we all go through.  It requires little to no effort to identify and to generate desires.  It’s just natural.  So it follows that identifying what you want (Which most people believe to be synonymous for desires.) is just as easy.

But it’s not quite that simple.  The truth is that while we all have a lot of desires, some big and some small, that they aren’t always what we really want. Sometimes you may think you want something, but you’re not really thinking about it properly.  You’re not thinking about everything that comes with that desire– sometimes you’re only thinking about the good parts.

I’ll give you an example.  I’m a bit of a gear-head and I absolutely adore cars.  You know, the fast, expensive ones that anyone who has a penchant for cars drool over on a regular basis.  So, my dream car is and has been for quite a few years now the E92 BMW M3.  The way I want it the car would cost me $89,000 before tax!

And I can tell you that I have a pretty huge burning desire to have one of those sitting in my garage.  But there’s lots I have to consider, other than just having a really nice looking, really fast and really expensive car.

If someone came up to me tomorrow and dropped an M3 in my lap, or I won it in a contest or something, I still wouldn’t want it.  Why?  Because of how much it would cost me to maintain!

Because it’s a sports car and a high end one at that, any parts I need replaced would cost several hundred dollars more (Sometimes into the thousands) than it would on a typical car.  Because the engine is of such a high quality, the only fuel you can put into it is premium grade 97 octane fuel (Or 93 octane if you’re in US.)  That means everytime I fill up I’m spending 8-10 cents more per litre (Or per gallon if you’re American/British) than I would with a regular car.  On top of that, like every vehicle, an M3 needs to be serviced.  Again, because of the high end parts and the special knowledge and techniques needed to maintain the vehicle properly, I can expect to pay hundreds of dollars more for regular service than I would with a regular car.  On top of all this, I have to insure it!  I’m sure you’ve already guessed that it would cost me more to insure because it’s a high-end sports car.  That means more risk of theft, higher cost to replace damages and other aspects insurance companies take into account.

On top of all that money, there’s one other thing holding me back from owning an M3 right now.  I don’t own a house!  When you’re buying an expensive car like that, you don’t want to be parking it long-term outside, especially during the winter.  What you ideally need is a heated garage of your own to store it in, otherwise you could find yourself with some major problems with your car in very short order.

So even if I got the car for free, right now, there’s no way I could afford it!  Thus, based on my income and my current living circumstances, although the car would be nice to have, I wouldn’t want it right now.  What I really want then, is an income and a home that would allow me to afford such a luxury.

Ah, but how do I want to make that income?  Do I want to slave over a job I don’t like and work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week in order to have a car I barely have the time to drive around in?  Probably not.  Yet for that kind of income that’s what most people have to do.

I know that what I really want is to earn that kind of income through my writing.  (For those of you who don’t know, I write fiction novels as well as maintaining this site.)  I know that in my ideal life, I would make a secure income through my writing and royalties and that through that income (Which is made doing something I love.) I would be able to afford my dream car, my dream house and live a very comfortable life.

But unless I sat down and thought about it, my first impression would have been that I wanted an M3.  Now!

Uh, who cares?

You do.  Or you will, anyway.  You may recall how I mentioned in a previous post (This one here.) that setting a goal for something is like setting a destination on a GPS.  Once you decide what you want and tell your brain that it’s where you want to go, it puts you on the path to getting you there.  Makes it so that as long as you follow the directions, you’ll get to where you need to go.

Thus it’s very important you know where it is you want to go.  If you tell your brain that you want to have this new expensive car that costs a ton to maintain, but you don’t tell your brain to get the income to maintain it, you could end up with a huge problem if you got what you wanted.  Luckily your brain, being a brain, knows this and instead of fulfilling what you think you want, simply does nothing instead and leaves you in whatever circumstances you currently find yourself in.

Okay, so how do I figure out what I want?

You need to invest about 20 minutes and sit down with a pen and a piece of paper (Or, if you’re more comfortable with using a keyboard and a computer, your favourite word processor.) and write out what you think you want.  So if it were me, I would’ve wrote down ‘BMW M3′.

Now, from that, think about every aspect you can of actually having what it is you want.  In my case it was thinking about all the money I would need to maintain the car, as well as the place I would have to own to store it.  Try and extrapolate everything you can possibly think of– that means all the good and the bad of owning or having whatever it is that you want.

It’s not true for just material things.  For instance, if you want a promotion in your job, you should think about what comes along with that.  Yes, the increased income is nice, but it comes at a price– usually time.  You’ll have to be more responsible, you’ll have more things to deal with during the course of a day, you’ll likely have to be more available for those working under you and with you to contact you.  You might have to work longer hours or less desirable ones than you currently work.  That in turn could affect your home life.  Write it down.

Once you’ve gotten as comprehensive a list as you can think of, assess the good and the bad and decide whether or not you really want that initial desire right now, if at all.

If you decide that you do want it, but that it wouldn’t be good for you right now, write out the things you would need to change in your life in order to be able to comfortably have your desire.  If you need a bigger place, write it down.  If you need more money, write it down.  If you need to be more disciplined, or you need more experience doing something, write it down.

When you break it down into what you need to do first, and the steps you need to get to your initial desire then you’ll know what it is you really want right now.

Which makes it a lot easier to get what you want.  And you want that, right?

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