Want

From a young age, we learn that want is a powerful force. Grabbing for toys, apple slices, candy… We get in touch with instant gratification long before we can ever understand how delaying our desires, or redirecting them, can often lead to much healthier, multifacted goals – priorities can be optimized and refocused!

But no matter how hard we try, no matter how we live our lives, it’s difficult to escape that primal feeling of want. as we get older, our desires become more diverse as well.. the smattering of chocolate bars throughout the week, the moccafrappuchinos that punctuate our day, the extra slice of pie after a satisfying meal are but taken for granted. They’re replaced by yearning for a bigger, thinner television, a faster car.. the list goes on. pushing the envelope. There’s balance in availability – how common it is, how many places it’s available, and the cost.. We often lust after things that are on the outside edge of our means.

Often this balances a further argument between perceived value vs personal connection – buying a Louis Vuitton bag because it’s a well recognized status symbol – the logo on the fabric carries a certain level of jealousy or respect from others that share in it’s value or desire. Sure, this won’t resonate with everyone, but that’s not the point. It creates a shared connection with those in that desired peer group who also hold it in high regard. This applies to fashion, cars, technology… Because often those same people – those with a real passion for various “things” tend to socialize with others who have that same desire. It’s a way for humans to externalize a shared connection with others.

Now don’t think that I’m standing on a soapbox, shaking my fist at the sky, ruing all the people who enjoy standing in a parking lot, the hoods of their Subaru’s open, drooling over each other’s cold air intakes – there’s value and genuine satisfaction in a shared hobby – but it should be approached with some sensibility and mindful engagement.

DatTruck

No, it’s not the Delorean.

Recently I came across a pickup truck that check all my boxes, so to speak. It’s the truck that Marty lusted after in the original Back To The Future movie, and has quite a cult following in regards to dependability, even over 30 years later. Probably why it is listed at $8,500. This truck is on the other side of the country, and had me daydreaming about flying out and driving it home.

Let’s think about this. We need to ask ourselves a few key questions:

  1. Why do I want this?
  2. Do I *need* this in any fashion? Why?
  3. Once I have this, what will change versus now, when I don’t have this?
  4. What feeling does this “thing” inspire?
  5. Is there any way to get this same sort of feeling without spending time, money, and stress in the process of acquiring of this “thing”?

The 4th (and perhaps the fifth) are the real keys to this line of reasoning, because they encapsulate the primary takeaway in this situation – a situation where I *don’t* get the thing, but still feel the satisfaction I’d have if I did.

A couple years ago I started working on a simple worksheet entitled “Simple Things: A Roadmap to Success”, and it’s got a couple columns labelled “Things that Make Me Feel Good/Bad” – I mention that some of the things that make me feel good, like watching clouds and drinking a hot cup of ginger tea, that I often forget about when I’m feeling bad. Note that it can take months of awareness and self honesty to fill out more than a few lines – and that’s ok! Don’t write anything that doesn’t instantly spring to mind, it won’t be genuine and won’t carry the gravitas you need this list to embody.

I’ll write up a full post on the entire worksheet, but since I mention it in the accompanying video below, I wanted to share it with you now, so you can get a head start on reading it, should it resonate with you – I’d also love to get some feedback on it, it’s something I’d like to work on, to expand on.

So, to wrap up, it’s ok to want things, it’s also ok to get things.. but understand what drives that want, and be honest with yourself as to the motivation behind it.. Often you’ll find that a nice warm hug gives you the same good feelings as sliding behind the wheel of a 30 year old pickup truck.

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Perception of Perfection

The world has always been temporary, our time here is but a blink of the eye – yet our society has only amplified the effect. We’re looking to replace our existing items, relationships, jobs with those that appear better. We’ve been served up a platter of apps, powered by the internet, to give into those basal desires.

Don’t like your car? Find a better one online! Don’t like your job? Apply to dozens with the click of a button! Don’t like your relationship? Swipe your way to a new one!!

Yet we’re all looking for the perfect situation – something that is perceived as having immense value, but available with the minimal amount of commitment, money, or effort.

Striving for that perfection is an endless pursuit.. No matter how shiny and new something is at first, time only serves to dull it’s patina; even if it’s something that doesn’t lose it’s value – potentially even getting MORE valuable with each sweep of the clock hands, it’s often equally easy to start to take it for granted. and seek out something new, strange and different.

Perfection

This applies to the ideal self as well. We often identify with the future self, hold them in such high esteem, that we life in that dream, eschewing the now to exist in this fantasy.

Now, if you want it, if you want anything, it’s possible. You just have to understand that it takes effort. And boatloads of it. You need to make compromises, sacrifices, and get back up over and over again each time obstacles in your path knock you off your feet.

Furthermore, the thing that we want so badly, the person who’s life, who’s relationship, who’s job, we desperately want to emulate.. It’s rarely all it seems, we never see the backstage, the flipside of the positive. Even products we see advertised rarely give us lasting satisfaction.. the reality, the flaws behind the curtain become all too real once we’ve finally attained what we yearn for.. And this only serves to disappoint, to act as a springboard towards the next fixation.

Here’s the takeaway. You’ll never be your future self, it’s always in the future, out of reach. Look at yourself in the mirror right now, and smile – who you are, right now, is your optimal self – you can’t be anyone other than who you are right now. Understand that your flaws are just as important as your strengths, and they make you who you are.

Life is difficult. We’re all struggling with something, and it’s just as important to us as it is different to what someone else is grappling with. Instead of seeing the flaws, the imperfect facets, look for the good – in yourself, and in others.

You never reach the destination. You’re always traveling, so get comfortable with the now – it’s all you’ve got.

Time, Money, and (in)dependence

Money and time create an interesting interplay. Although time is the only resource that we have in finite supply, we tend to invest a significant amount of it in frivolous pursuits – most bizarre since we also don’t know how much of it we have left! We can’t log into our life and check how much we have remaining.

Not only is this an unknown balance, but there’s equal constraints on how many hours a day we can healthily invest and balance between work, rest, play, sleep.. Prioritizing what we choose to spend our time on has immense impact on our quality of the life we lead. If we shirk sleep, exercise, and healthy head space in order to increase the time we log in other pursuits, the balance slowly teeters and creates instability.

independence

Whenever I’m looking at starting a new project, I burn energy and time in the passion that fuels the idea. Since I’m only human, like the rest of us, I always get excited about sharing this growth with those around me. I want to get others involved not only so that I can create a more cohesive result, but I want to ensure that when I’m burning out a bit, the aspects of fear and failure can be shouldered by others.. Someone else who’s equally committed to success is an invaluable ally in assisting on a project.. Because suddenly there’s extra hours available to further the direction without need to unbalance personal investment.

But what if they aren’t interested? Or worse, what if they initially express interest, but then fail carry their own weight – not being accountable in following up with their promises? Then their involvement flips from being an asset to an anchor.

This is one of the reasons why the concept of money exists. As a universal concept, it creates value through time/effort – effectively providing transactional incentive that makes up for the lack of passion. But it doesn’t replace it all together, and no amount of money can make up for genuine interest and engagement. But if you’re in the market of creating content, products, or even a new business – then you won’t have much money of your own to put into it, and here’s where the challenge lies – do you ¬†look for people to help out, donating their precious time for free, who are satisfied by being co-creators? Or do you toss a bit of money their way and see what percolates?

I personally struggle a little with overcoming fear and failure, so try to infect others with my passions – and when it doesn’t work, it feels like the idea can quickly get forgotten on the backburner. Looking for alternative solutions that don’t involve spending cash – such as hosting a cowork space from my home, create solutions that endeavor to keep the pot where it belongs – heating up to a boil at the forefront of my attention.