Do you know the real key to getting what you want?
The key to getting what you want is deciding exactly what it is that you want to acquire, accomplish or achieve.
It sounds simple, right? The trouble is that many, many people don’t know what it is that they want.
In addition, there is a lot of confusion out there about what it takes to get what you want. This is sad really because it means that a lot of people are struggling to live the life they desire simply because they don’t recognize this one simple key to success.
I want to emphasize that whatever it is that you fancy for yourself is available to you, if you clearly decide and define what it is first.
The Confusion About Getting What You Want
I know this all sounds very simplistic. When we hear it, most of us go, “Duh, why don’t you tell me something that I don’t know? This is just commonsense.”
Well, my response to that is twofold. First, if it is so self-evident, then why don’t more people know exactly how to make themselves happy? Furthermore, why are so many people doing the very things that lead to unhappiness and continue doing these things?
Second, why when I do a search on Google, do I find so many other answers? On the front page, I found articles professing each of the following as the key to getting what you want:
- Integrity – Yes, living according to your values is very important, but is it really the key to getting what you want? No. You can be living a principled life and pursing good things, but still be miserable because you aren’t really getting what you truly want.
- Persistence – Does it take persistence to get what you want? Absolutely! However, you can certainly be persistent in pursuing the wrong things too. So, persistence is not the most important key to getting what you want.
- Taking Action – You’ve certainly got to take action to make things happen. I’d definitely agree with that, but you can obviously act in the wrong direction. In fact, you can take action in the complete opposite direction from what you desire.
- Visualization – Visualizing what you want in your mind’s eye can be a very powerful technique to help focus on achieving your goals. However, if you don’t know exactly what you want first, how can you visualize it?
- Self-control – It definitely takes discipline to accomplish things. You’ve got to be able to get yourself up out of bed in the morning and keep yourself headed toward the objective. Of course, what’s the point if you don’t know what you are after?
I could go on and on because these are just what I found in the first few articles. I’m sure there are numerous other suggestions and I’m not belittling these authors or the point they are trying to make. I’m just saying that before you can do any of these other things to be successful, you’ve first got to clearly decide on what you want.
The Importance of Deciding What You Want
Why am I hammering on this point? Because it is crucial. There is something incredibly powerful about deciding what you want.
I will suggest to you that when you clearly and firmly decide that you want something, you almost always get it or something better.
Think about it for a moment. Recall something you really wanted 5 or 10 years ago. Chances are you have it now. I know this is true for me. I’ve been very conscious of this lately and it appears very reliable.
This is not magical. I don’t believe that. I’m simply saying that once you decide what you really want, then things just seem to happen so that you get it. It is that simple.
I’m not the only one saying this either. You can find some very successful people professing the very same thing. For example, take a look at these excerpts:
“In order to get what you want, you must first decide what you want. Most people really foul up at this crucial first step because they simply can’t see how it’s possible to get what they want — so they don’t even let themselves want it.”
~ Jack Canfield, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“There is no hope of success for the person who does not have a central purpose, or definite goal at which to aim. When you have Definiteness of Purpose fueled by a burning desire to reach your objectives, nothing can stand in your way.”
~ Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think and Grow Rich
“All successful people, men and women, are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.”
~ Brian Tracy, speaker and author on personal development
These guys are some of the kings of success. They have all made careers teaching others how to be successful and they all three make it extremely clear that deciding firmly on exactly what you want is a very crucial step in the process.
The clearer you can be about what you want, the more likely you are to get it and the faster it will come.
How to Decide What You Want
If I asked you right now, what do you want more than anything else? Would you be able to answer me quickly, clearly and concisely? Most regular people cannot. They might, if they are particularly good, be able to stumble around and eventually name something, but most don’t know what they really want.
This isn’t something to be ashamed of, but it is something to fix. If you are most likely going to get what you want, then what are you going to get if you want nothing? I think you know.
Therefore, we all need to spend a little time figuring out exactly what we want. Here are a couple of suggestions that I really like from The Success Principles to help you get started:
1. Create an “I Want” List
I’d suggest beginning with this simple exercise to get your thoughts flowing in the right direction. We generally have some blocks when it comes to knowing what we want. So, it is important that you take a few minutes to warm up and stretch your mind to get it ready for action.
Get some paper and a pen, go to a quiet place and create three “I Want” lists. Clarify what you really want by making a list of 30 things that you want to do, 30 things you want to have and 30 things you want to be before you die. These three lists will help you to start formulating a picture of your desired future.
2. Write Down a Vision for Your Future
The second thing to do is to write out a narrative vision for your future. Remember when you were a kid and you had a picture in your head of what you’re life was going to be like when you grew up? You knew what your spouse was going to look like, how many kids you were going to have and what kind of car you were going to drive. Well, you need to create another such vision for your life.
Write down a detailed and descriptive vision of exactly where you want to get to in your life. You need to include these seven areas: work and career, finances, recreation and free time, health and fitness, relationships, personal goals, and contribution to the larger community. In each of these areas, allow yourself to imagine your ideal future and record that on paper.
Don’t let that negative inner voice tell you that your dreams are impossible. At this point, we are simply recording what we want. How we get there is a whole other issue. However, it is impossible to get to the success we desire if we don’t even know what it is. Also, think of it this way, what if you don’t get it all, but you get 80 or 90 percent of your ideal? Wouldn’t that be pretty sweet? Try to capture your ideal situation without any inhibition.
If you struggle with this exercise and need help getting it done, there is a wonderful guide in The Success Principles to assist you. Check the book out from your local library if you don’t want to buy it or if you want to preview it first. I think you’ll find it very helpful.
Deciding What You Want Is the Key to Getting It
Deciding exactly what success means to you and where you want to get to in your life is crucial to getting there. Otherwise, you are just floating along letting the currents take you wherever they are going. Why not decide for yourself? Get intentional about your life and you’ll be amazed at just how much of what you want will come your way. Of course, the beginning of all this is deciding exactly and firmly on precisely what you want. Have you done that yet?
Photo by farleyj