I read an amazingly good essay the other day titled "You Probably Know To Ask Yourself, 'What do I Want?' Here's A Way Better Question". It's about the fact that most people are not willing to put the time and effort into making their goals/dreams a reality. For me, the key to the whole topic rested in the following brief paragraphs:
If I asked you, "What do you want out of life?" and you say something like, I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like," it's so ubiquitous that it doesn't even mean anything.
A more interesting question, a question that you've perhaps never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant in how our lives turn out.The brilliance lies in the question involving pain. What is so important to you that you are willing to walk through the fire to obtain it? Most of the things we believe we believe we want are not that important to us. Why? Because we live in a world where we are told what we want, but this doesn't necessarily line up with the goals and desires of our hearts!
Here in the United States, we are overwhelmed by advertising and programming where material objects are important. We watch "reality" shows about people like the Kardashians. Images of expensive cars, plush homes and exotic locations come to us through TV, movies and the internet. We are expected to attend our assembly-line schools, where we are taught to get good grades so we can get a good job and make lots of money and buy all the things they tell us we want. Typically, we are shunted into cookie cutter jobs that use our abilities but do not always tap into our interests and talents, all for a paycheck. This way of functioning is through the mind. It is purely rational. Consequently, it does not touch on those things that really drive us and make us tick.
The things that matter to each one of us come through the heart. Even though they might be unconscious thoughts, they have great power in our lives. When our hearts desire something, we are usually willing to go through great pain in order to get it.
When I look at my own life through the level of my brain, this is what I see. I have money to live on but not much more. I did manage to receive a college education that I have not really used in life. I am on my second marriage. Although this marriage is much stronger, I am disappointed that I will not have the 50+ year relationship that my parents have. I did raise some amazing children. I have always been appreciated in the jobs that have provided for me because I am intelligent and a hard worker. Still I have not attained a high level in any of my career paths. I think I want to travel all over the world and personally experience the many cultures that have peaked my interest. I make friends easily, and my close friendships include people of all ages.
When I look at my life through my heart, I see something very different. Although my jobs never paid a great deal, I was always able to pay the bills while still making sure my kids had at least some of the things they wanted. I also got to spend large quantities of time raising them, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have successfully avoided the stress and health problems that come with taking on management positions. While my first marriage failed, I learned self-reliance and independence through having to take care of myself and my family. My fascination with people from different cultures has resulted in having friendships with people from all over the world. I have a good many strong friendships in general. These are all things that are important to my heart, and I have consequently been extremely successful in such areas.
If you have not already done so, it is time to ask the hard questions. What can you not live without? What are you willing to endure hardships for? What things are so important to you that you would walk through fire to obtain them? The answers may surprise you.
Connect to your heart and allow it to guide you. This will lead you back to self and all that is truly important to you. Your goals are never outside yourself.
To thine own self be true.