What do you really want?

Unless you know what you want, you can't get it.

Want is the only prerequisite for getting what you want.

This may not feel true if you've ever gotten something without really wanting it, but here's the thing: you got it because somebody else wanted it for you.

What do you want so badly that you're willing to suffer for it?

You're going to suffer in life one way or another, so you may as well be suffering for something that feels worth it.

What are you willing to sacrifice precious time to obtain or achieve?

This life doesn't start over. Time goes in one direction. You might get another chance in another life, but this chance happens only once.

So what do you want? It doesn't need to be a grand thing. It doesn't need to be a world-changing thing. It only needs to be something that you really want, something that's meaningful enough to change your life in a positive way.

It's okay to be selfish with this step because if it's something that's truly good for you it will be truly good for others too—nothing ever only affects you.

Be specific. Write it down. Start small, but start. Take it seriously. It doesn't need to be perfect, but it does need to be specific.

If you want everything, you'll get nothing. If you want nothing, you'll get what everybody else wants for you. But if you learn to start with something, if you learn to be specific, if you learn to achieve clarity around whatever it is that you really want, then you can get anything.

Start by moving towards something. The journey, no matter how short, will expose you to new perspectives that will reveal bigger and better things.

But you won't even see what you can get until you start moving, until you decide and clarify what you really want, right now.

Wild Envy

Is it right to feel, while I'm driving to work one sunny seventy-degree day, a sense of envy upon seeing two Canadian geese grazing in the grass? Am I really so sick of being indoors that I feel envious of wild animals? I have all the power to change my lifestyle -- is my sense of responsibility preventing me from taking action? Surely there is more to life than sitting in front of an electronic device, moving around bits of electrons, and solving problems that, in the grand scale of things, mean absolutely nothing.

Overcoming Desire, Part II

My brother bought a motorcycle this past weekend (a black 1992 Honda Night Hawk 750cc) and after seeing him and my uncle riding together I suddenly had a huge desire to own a motorcycle. But this isn't the first time I've wanted to buy a motorcycle.

Last year when I got my motorcycle license I had planned on buying a bike shortly there after. I rode my brother-in-law's Honda CBR600RR a few times and went to a couple of Harley Davidson demo rides to compare sports bikes with the Harley's. I decided the Harley's were much nicer for long rides and since I expected to be doing a lot of riding, a Harley made the most sense. I quickly found the bike I liked the most: a 2008 HD 1200XL Sportster Nightster:

Harley Davidson Sportster Nightster

It's about $9,500 new, which isn't that bad for such a nice bike. However, due to financial constraints, I simply couldn't afford it at the time. I was still going through a bankruptcy and my bank accounts were empty. It was clearly more of a want than a need and even if I decided to buy one, I didn't have the money and I wouldn't be approved for financing. That made it pretty easy to dismiss the desire and bury it for future reconsideration.

After seeing my brother's bike this past weekend, the desire was unearthed and I found myself again wondering how I could buy a motorcycle. But I ran into the same problem: with my tight financial position it's hard to justify spending any amount of money on something that I only want and don't actually need. That's when I began subconsciously looking for ways to justify buying it: "I'll save money on gas!", "I'll save money on insurance!", "I'll be able to enjoy the open air!", "I can sell my truck and worry about winter and snow when it comes!", etc, etc. Inside, I knew I was trying to justify the desire for something that wasn't needed and I heard a tiny part of me quietly rebelling.

I felt a sense of déjà vu as I observed myself doing this and that's when I remembered going through the same exact same process of overcoming desire a few years earlier (in fact, almost exactly three years ago) when I wanted to sell my truck and buy a Jeep Wrangler. That got me thinking... what the hell would I really do with a motorcycle when the ground looks like this:

During the winter months, there would be absolutely no way to use the motorcycle and I'd need to spend more money storing it (or risk spending money on maintenance in the spring). I started thinking about the goals I set for this year and the things I've already decided I really want to do, all of which will require money: complete the AFF program, learn scuba diving (classes, gear, etc), spend lots of weekends camping (commuting gas money), plane tickets to fly to various fitness events, and of course simply saving some money!

It really comes down to priorities. When I stopped thinking about how cool it would be to ride around on a motorcycle and I started thinking about what my priorities were, overcoming the desire for a motorcycle became easier and easier. The motorcycle simply didn't fit anywhere within my priorities! This didn't obliterate the desire, but at least now I feel like I'm thinking more rationally.

"Maybe I can find a cheap $3,000 motorcycle that I won't be so worried about spending money on maintenance and that I would feel comfortable tinkering with (great learning experience!)." "Maybe if I find a good deal, I can resell it before winter." Suddenly my approach seems more practical and I don't feel this urge to just go out and spend money.

Three years ago, when I almost sold my truck a splurged on a Jeep Wrangler, my truck had 133,000 miles on it. Now it's got 190,000 miles and I've had it for 4 years 8 months. Here's to another 110,000 miles of overcoming unnecessary desires. 🙂