It’s often been said to start with the end in mind when it comes to planning. The rationale is that it’s easier to plan the course of action when you know exactly what the end goal is. After all, how would you ever know if you’ve reached your goal if you haven’t clearly defined it. You’d be surprised how often this intuitive process is overlooked or skipped altogether. I’m occasionally guilty of skipping this myself.
With that being said, it’s important for us to consistently ask ourselves exactly what we want. This is a key fundamental in the process of accomplishing what we deem as important. Such a simple question, yet it packs a big enough wallop to often stump us. That or hurl ourselves into the abyss of deep contemplation. Due to this, we typically fail to ever clearly define what we want or prolong the decision to be made at another time. We also tend to me misguided about exactly what we want, more on this later. Why do we struggle so much with this question? Possibly because we assume that we want exactly what others want or what society has told us to want. I will warn you, this is a dangerous approach that will leave you nowhere short of disappointment. No two lives or situations are ever the same. Out of everything that is worthy of your time, I implore you to answer this question with urgency.
Because we are easily deceived and biased towards our own devices it’s also vital to ask “Why?” when determining what exactly you want. Doing this is a means of validating, or invalidating for that matter, what you’ve communicated as important. For example, I often witness individuals communicate that financial independence is important to them. However when asked, “Why?” I hear the cliche, “Because it is the responsible thing to do.” Although this answer may be satisfying for most if you take a closer look they haven’t detailed why financial independence is important to them. Responsibility is what occurs whilst forging towards financial independence. A correct answer could look something like this, “I want to live a financially independent lifestyle because I’m tired of living shackled to debt and bills.” See the difference?
Do you ever recall having a conversation with a kid and they seem to ask “Why?” in response to every statement you make? The frustration was real as you tried to keep your cool as you remembered the child hasn’t fully developed cognitively. In hindsight, is it too farfetched to believe they weren’t fully satisfied with our answers? That we never actually explained why but rather recited more fluff? Now there’s a good chance that they were doing it just to annoy us but there’s also a chance they called our bluff.
What you want only has real value when paired with why you want it. And frankly, we should only be concerned with the things of which we know exactly why. Life is too short and valuable to squander opportunity on things that won’t ever really matter. I’m a firm believer in ongoing self-examination. I believe that for every decision standing before us that we should be asking ourselves “Why?”. This presents clarity as well as affirmation that our actions consistently align with what we hold as important. After all, what good is exerting effort if we don’t even know why we’re doing it.