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“What do you want?”

Some of us act like it is the easiest. We talk about what we want with the clarity of a bell ringing from a high tower. When in fact, the sound is nothing more than a bell ringer desperately calling for help.

It’s the second hardest question in the world (we will save the first hardest for another time.)

Others of us are afraid of this question, avoiding it in the seemingly noble cause of taking care of what others want. But the truth is, we are desperate to be taken care of.

Either way, when asked the deeper question, we struggle. What do we really want? Often we even become paralyzed. Why is that? Don’t we know what we want? Shouldn’t we?

It’s an important question because motive is the difference between punishment and sacrifice.

What do we desire so much, that it will make the hard work of the pursuit worth it? These are the mountains we climb. These are the adventures we go on. If our lives lack this sense of excitement, we may be avoiding what we really want.

If you are stuck on this question, these 3 tools will help:

STOP LISTENING TO WHAT YOU SHOULD WANT. This is a trap. A should is always someone else’s voice. “You should have a stable job.” “You should save for retirement.” “You should be responsible.” All good ideas but if we don’t want them, they become toxic. Living from shoulds is like living under a shame cloud; it is void of motivation. Remember, motive is the difference between punishment and sacrifice; therefore, what we SHOULD want produces maximum punishment.

LEARN TO LISTEN DIFFERENTLY. We often listen for external answers to this question. However, powerful answers are internal. This is where motivation originates. Learning to listen to our inner selves is a skill we can develop. It starts with turning up the volume of our own voices and turning down the volume of the chatter that clutters our minds. We learn to listen to our hearts, bodies, and spirits. In doing so we build a connection with ourselves and something bigger, our source.

MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE OBVIOUS. The answer is right in front of us. It is the most obvious thing, once discovered. Yet, we tend to look for the exotic, fascinating or impressive. We look for what we lack rather than what we have in abundance. It’s like asking a fish to describe its surroundings. It will often forget to mention water because it takes it for granted as normal. What is our water? What is the thing we can’t NOT do? What is it that sustains us, supports us, consumes us? Like water to a fish?

So, with these three tools in hand, let’s return to the question…

“What do you want?”


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