How to Get What You Want

To get what you want, step one is to know what you want.

Sounds easy, but it’s not.

Often, what we think we want turns out not to be what we want at all.

We’ve been taught to alter our desires to align with what is reasonable and realistic for our circumstances. So we spend our lives building houses we don’t actually want to live in, and then wondering how we ended up living in these houses we despise.

Then, to contend with the frustration and disappointement we’ve unwittingly created for ourselves, we develop compulsions designed to protect and distance us from those uncomfortable feelings. To “take the edge off” the central misalignment at the heart of our discomfort: the fact that we still aren’t going toward what we want, we are simply trying (and ultimately failing) to move away from what we don’t want.

If you are exhausted and sleep-deprived from overworking, you may feel like all you want to do is to stay in bed for a week straight. But that’s only addressing the symptom, not the root cause. And after a couple of days in bed, you’d probably start to feel pretty bored and restless, so to stave off your boredom, you’d start binging Netflix.

So now you’re treating the side effects of your self-medication. But none of this is getting at the actual root cause or moving you closer to what you actually want.

To know what we want so that we can get what we want, we need to be able to differentiate between a desire and a compulsion.

Imagine I have a magic wand, and I can grant you one wish.

What will you wish for? Say it out loud or write it down, or both.

Now imagine that wish has been granted. Put yourself into that reality, where that wish has come true, and feel what that feels like.

If the primary emotion you experience is relief, in other words, the absence of unpleasant emotions or circumstances, that’s probably a compulsion.

If, on the other hand, you experience an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude at having been granted this wish, congratulations, you have discovered an authentic desire!

The moment you stop judging that desire as unworthy, unimportant, frivolous, etc., is the moment you become capable of fulfilling it.

When you’ve found a true desire, write it out and post it somewhere prominent. Then pop into the Innovator's Guild and share it in the #Inspiration-Station channel!

Adrienne MacIain, Ph.D.