Goals and desires. How do I know what I really want?
The mark of a happy person is a healthy appetite for life. And it’s the journey that makes them happy. If you look closely, it is easy to see what all these people have in common: 1) they know exactly what they want, and 2) they go and get it. So how do I know what I really want?
I remember the day, about a year ago, when I suddenly realized that the transformation I had been striving for had finally happened. There were still plenty of unresolved mysteries and questions – doubts, fears and other companions of any change – but one thing had changed definitively: I knew exactly what I wanted. In all aspects of life, as well as at different stages of my life.
Wake me up in the middle of the night and demand I reel of a list of my life passions, and I could do it without hesitation. In detail. Offer me to swap these goals for other, perfectly respectable ones, and I would refuse, because my structure gives me so much space to spread my wings. If my life turned into a choice between finding love and these goals, I would choose the latter. Because true love makes no such demands, and anything else is just a fantasy – miraculous love that makes you happy for the rest of your life and means you never actually have to do anything. There is no space in my life for this type of illusion.
It is an interesting feeling to know what you want and where you are going, because it does not take away your freedom of choice or ability to rethink, but you know that you have made your choice.
Absolute freedom doesn’t exist; what does exist is the freedom to choose
anything you like and then commit yourself to that decision.
Paulo Coelho, “The Zahir”
To commit to a choice is a truly wise step, because focus on one direction allows you to advance step by step and feel the rhythm of life – the growing joy of conscious progression. It is also the only way of getting what you want, for those of you aren’t afraid of dreaming on a grand scale.
To put it simply:
- To stay inspired to move towards your desires, you need to think big – big enough for the flight of your soul. Grand goals inspire you to have faith in your abilities, thus unleashing your inner potential and giving you a burst of energy.
- In order to reach big goals you need time, during which you must continue moving in your chosen direction, not veering off course. Only sustained movement in one direction can bring tangible results. You have the right to change your goal, rethink, choose another, by all means. The divine right of free choice will always be yours, as well as the law of cause and effect: every time you begin something new, you begin on a new path, and you must stay on it for as long as necessary, without losing focus.
- To resist the temptation of choice and changing your intention, you must define specifically what it is you want. Therefore, at this particular moment in your life, it makes sense to properly decide: “who am I?” and “where am I going?”. Otherwise people keep changing their mind and trying out lots of different directions, never really excelling, and eventually giving up on all ventures, thereby narrowing their horizons.
If you are prepared – you don’t need to prepare yourself.
Once you have defined your aims, it is easier to deal with doubts and temptations. Easier not to get distracted from what is important and keep your focus. When people have not made this choice, they are just waiting for a miracle (that everything will work out on its own), and blowing in the wind. I don’t think any of us would be happy to sail on an unmanned ship or a fast-moving row boat without oars. So why are so many people perfectly happy with the dangerous approach of “going with the flow”, when it is should be obvious that this will shipwreck you on the rocks of impotent old age?
While I am writing this, the World Championships in Athletics is going on in Moscow. Let us take a closer look at the competitors.
What is the essence of success for an athlete? Someone will say that it is down to hard training coupled with natural talent, but the core of it is deeper: it is in their choice to pursue the one specific type of sport that best suited them, and heir continual work to perfect those specific skills.
Only long-term and technically correct training in one direction can bring success. Being physically fit and skilled, any sports star could, in principle, flit from sprinting to skiing, from skiing to marathons, from marathons to triathlons, and say that they were “searching for themselves”. Define your direction as early as possible is the most important decision in sport, and everybody knows it. But, curiously enough, this is also the most important decision in life in general, but much fewer people realize it.
In order to get what you want, you have to choose one direction and move towards it, constantly improving over a prolonged period of time.
From here arises the logical question: do you know what you want from your life? In all aspects?
I didn’t know for a long time. Or, more accurately, I incorrectly interpreted my wishes. For example, I yearned to live by the sea. And only after 2 years of hugging the shoreline did I realize that what I actually want is to visit the sea regularly, as well as the mountains, and forest, and snow. In other words, I want to travel the world, but only as breaks between more significant and constructive things, for example developing my project. So it wasn’t necessary to actually live by the sea. The big city answers a lots more of my questions than the peace and solitude of an island. In terms of my personal life, I have also daydreamed about becoming a lady of leisure with nothing to do, which gave the universe a good laugh while it dished out the appropriate lessons to teach me otherwise!
Every talent makes a demand.
But even when my desires proved to be starry-eyed fantasy, and not mature decisions, I continued moving forward. I wanted to live by the sea, so I went to live there. I wanted a flexible schedule, so I found a way to work freelance. I realized I had to return to Moscow, so I went. I wanted a creative project, and here it is in front of you. It was this action and movement, and not pure reflection (!), that allowed me to separate the wheat of my soul’s true aspirations from the chaff of idle entertainments that don’t lead anywhere. At some moment the genuine goals started to take increasingly defined shape, leaving behind all the layer of affectation and illusion.
My favourite example is a long climb up a mountain: at the beginning you can hardly see the summit, but as you get closer, at the next viewing platform, you get a better view and suddenly your goal becomes fully visible. If you stay on the couch and never embark on your journey of conscious development beyond the boundaries of your “I want” and “I can”, then you will not have so much as a notion of your summit.
A few tips on how to understand your true desires and discover inspiring goals
0 Tip number “zero” – to begin conscious progress towards your desire. You need to start your uphill struggle in order to find your specific path among all this grandeur. If you plan to only start something once you have found your Path or end goal, you won’t go any further than your own doorstep. That’s called “armchair finding yourself”, and it’s ridiculous.
1 Pay attention to your desires
The presence of a large quantity of desires and ideas is a sign of high energy. Do not dismiss your own aspirations. And don’t listen to those who say that desire is a bad thing. Desires incite us to move forward, grow and overcome ourselves, or rather, our images of ourselves. Desires are catalysts for new vitality. What is more, unrealized potential starts to become oppressive. Desires are there to be to fulfilled.
The difference between a genuine dream and one influenced (i.e. imposed) by society, is usually only recognisable in practice, and not just in the imagination. Be prepared for a period of trial and error, especially if you grew up in a very “closed-minded” environment, but this is also a very productive phase.
I often receive letters along the lines of “how do you manage to change everything without making mistakes?”. The truth is: you don’t. Yes, it’s technically possible to not make mistakes, but even a mistake can be useful, with the right intention for improvement and realisation of maximum potential, because it removes another layer of illusion from your eyes, which would never happen if you didn’t try.
A failure is someone who was so afraid to fail that they never even tried.
It was mistakes that led me to the viewing platform from which I could clearly see what I wanted: who to be, what to have, where to go. And, as a bonus, what I was no longer willing to put up with.
2 Find the junction between your desires and your abilities.
The direction I speak of is often found at the junction between “I want” and “I can”. This is not restricted to your current abilities; they are boosted by the strength of your desire. Whatever you have talent and inclination for, put it in the context of your ultimate dream. It is this conscious development to master your abilities that allows you to fulfil your wildest desires. As soon as you find this junction, give it priority. Nothing gives a person inner wholeness and peace like a distinct understanding of where they are going.
3 Big goals must always be connected to the present moment
The only difference between a goal and a pipe dream is whether or not you are taking real steps here and now in your chosen direction. Otherwise, if you want something but don’t do anything about it, it is no more than a childish fantasy that is unlikely to ever be realized.
In order to get somewhere, you need to define your end goal. That is essential. And the sooner you define it, the clearer everything else will become. I wish you all the best in discovering your goal, and choosing from the many choices life has to offer.