The Only Way to Get Exactly What You Want
And the simple question that clarifies it all.
What if I asked you what you really want out of life? How would you answer? I bet I can guess.
Success and happiness.
It is what we all want. But instead we feel frustrated every day. Maybe your job is unfulfilling or your relationship is at a dead end. Maybe you can’t even put your finger on why. You scroll Facebook and Instagram looking at other people’s perfect lives and think why am I not happy/successful/rich/skinny?
Something is holding you back. You have a sense that there is more available to you in life. Another gear. A higher level of existence. Why am I not getting there?
Good news. There is one question that will clarify it all.
The One Thing Holding You Back
The reality is, when we experience frustration at our lack of success or happiness, we are haunted by our unrealized expectations. We fantasize about who we could be…if only we could get there.
And you can. But the trick in life is that you have to want it, visualize yourself having it….and then you have to work for it.
“If you want to get to the castle…you’ve got to swim the moat.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
It isn’t enough to dream of being an award winning, best-selling author. If you are sitting on your couch watching Netflix every night, it is not going to happen. You have to write.
It isn’t enough to want to perfect bikini body. You can’t hit every drive-through you pass and drive right past the gym with regularity. You have to get up and move.
It isn’t enough to hope and dream and pray for more money. Financial independence is gained through hard work, year after year. Huge gain comes with huge risk. Risk of failure comes with risk of humiliation. You have to risk it all.
And it isn’t enough to want an incredible, connected and loving partnership. Relationships at the highest level require the greatest amount of risk. It requires vulnerability, putting your heart out there time and again until you get it right. You have to love and risk getting hurt.
It isn’t just wanting it that will get you there. It isn’t just the fantasy of wild success that will yield results. You will only get things when you are willing to ask yourself one essential question and answer it honestly…
What Are You Willing to Pay For?
There is a cost associated with every single undertaking in life. And you can’t just want the payoff. You have to want it all. The work, the sacrifice, the blood, sweat and tears it will take to get there.
The fact is, most of us give up long before we get there. The cost is too high. We don’t want to practice, to sacrifice. We don’t want to give up the normal everyday mundane tasks and entertainment that everyone else is doing. And that simple decision to not become exceptional make us, well…not exceptional.
There is no real reward without risk.
And that risk comes in many forms. We risk the humiliation of failure. We risk disappointing our parents, our spouse, our children by dedicating ourselves to a greater cause, a higher aspiration. We need to dedicate time to hone our craft and become expert in our dream. And not everyone will love it.
But by staying small, we may momentarily assuage the negative emotions of others while suppressing our own inherent urge for growth.
“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer
But at the end of your life, do you want to say you played it safe by living a life that made others feel comfortable? Or do you want to be able to say you at least tried to become the truest version of yourself?
Living a Life With No Regrets
So often in life, we regret the road not taken. It is the chances not taken that disappoint us.
There is an amazing book by an Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware. She is a hospice nurse who took care of those who were within weeks of dying. She sat and listened as they talked about their lives and listed their regrets. There were several that came up again and again. But this was number one on everyone’s list:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”
-Bronnie Ware, Inspiration and Chai
No one wished for more money or fame. They didn’t wish they had worked harder. They didn’t wish they had taken life more seriously. They wished they had expressed themselves, as they truly are. They wished they had shown up as themselves and let that be enough.
No matter what walk of life they came from, they all wanted the same thing. To have truly pursued what they wanted to do.
Because in the end, everyone wants to be seen and loved for who they truly are. Showing up as yourself is the only currency in this world that matters.
So, what are you willing to fight for?