Episode 107 - Want, Should and Gonna
The Thursday Thesis - 12/07/2018
“Michael, what do you want?”
As a coach, that’s my killer question, and it really is the killer question in life, isn’t it?
As our session continued, my question morphed into several, subtler variations, aiming to pick out what Michael was serious about, what was just a fantasy, and which of his answers were just other people’s plans for him.
You see, we all have wants and wishes, but the chances are that we won’t end up with the things we want.
Why is that?
There are three levels of desire, as far as I can tell:
Those three levels of desire are based on the words we use to describe what we want. I’d go as far as saying that the elusively obvious truth is that our words are cues to what really matters, as well as dead-giveaway cues to our relative levels of desire, motivation and certainty.
A wish or a want is a nice-to-have-it sort of desire: we’d like to write a Christmas number one record or wish we could win the lottery, but...
That “want” is a wishy-washy kind of desire – it simply isn’t strong enough to compel us to take massive, determined and focused action over time.
A “want” won’t cook the rice, as the old saying goes.
And as for wishes – don’t waste your time wishing for anything. Write that wish off as a pleasant daydream with precisely zero chance of it ever coming true, because that’s what a wish is.
Wanting and wishing will have you coming up empty every time, because there’s no action to back them up.
And action is the key.
Getting off your arse and doing something about your own life and how you want to live it will move you – imperceptibly at first – in the direction of your dreams and desires. But to inspire yourself to take action you have to focus and intensify that simple want and that nebulous wish into a desire.
Our personal energy is like sunshine: unfocused, we can warm a wide area of the earth. Only when we are able to gather and concentrate that energy – like sunshine through a magnifying lens – can we begin to make massive progress. Our warming sunlight can become a blazing dot of searing heat, but we need the lens to do it.
So, what is the lens for personal power and achievement?
I’ll tell you in a little while, after we deal with the red-herrings of all the goals we “should” and “ought to” go for.
“Red-herrings?” you say.
Yes, a red-herring: a false or misleading idea or thing; a device of deception.
Our should and oughta goals are not really our goals: they are somebody else’s goals, or our idea of what would be acceptable to somebody else. Whether it’s a societal expectation or the desire to match-up to another person’s expectations, those outcomes are almost always expressed as “should” or “oughta”.
We might achieve those goals, but we’ll invariably find that to be a hollow achievement. Think of the executive climbing the corporate ladder for decades, finally making it to the boardroom or the CEO position, only to realise that the ladder they fought so hard to climb was not leaning against anything that they, themselves, actually gave a hoot about?
Here’s another thing to consider about should and oughtas – especially if you are running a team or a relationship: if someone is pushed or coerced into complying with your wishes, then you may get your project over the line or hit your target. But – and it’s a big but – expect resistance from the team or your partner along the way: there will be pushback and passive resistance any time you are forcing the issue or compelling someone to do something they are not comfortable with or aligned with. Pressed people will get even, sooner or later.
So it’s safe to say that the things we should and oughta do are being verbally flagged for our attention by the words we use. Once you perceive those cues you can set about doing something that matters to you, rather than chasing someone else’s bus.
Pay attention to the words...
Finally there are our highest, most puissant desires – out Gottas and our Musts. These are the ones that count, and the ones that have a chance of actually happening.
The moment we decide that it’s GOTTA happen, that we absolutely MUST get it done – no matter what it takes - we are much more likely to commit ourselves to taking action and making things happen. Our moments of decision are the moments in which everything changes: the change begins as a change of state, a change of heart or a change of mind, and from that moment we are never the same again.
Once your attention is focused on the goal you Must have, the you’ve Gotta do, then you begin to navigate the world based upon that goal, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of success.
But this will not be easy. Goal oriented people are not like anyone else, they are changelings, and they will not be controlled or subdued, they are a tribe apart, a primal force of relentless energy - all eyes on the prize, all attention focused.
So here’s the thing: what do you want?
How you talk about it, especially to yourself, will be an accurate predictor of whether or not you will get what you want - that's why your words are the lens that focuses your attention. Just like a magnifying glass gathering sunshine into a pinprick of ubearable heat, the right words can gather your attention and focus your energy into a tiny dot of unstoppable power.
Pay close attention to your words, they may be trying to tell you something.
© Neil Cowmeadow 2018
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