What if I were to ask you, “What do you want?” What would your response be? Would you know right away what you want? Or would it take some time for you to think about what you want?
Perhaps your mind would be at odds with how many things you want, convincing you that only two or three “big” things would be sufficient to make your life complete and make you happy? Or perhaps you would feel guilty that you want anything different in your life? Because after all, you have it so much better than others. Or perhaps, you don’t have enough, and so want what others have?
All of the responses are okay and valid because they are thoughts. And while thoughts can create your feelings, and your actions result from your thoughts and feelings, there is nothing inherently good or bad about them. Your thoughts are simply just thoughts. In fact, you are free to think about whatever you want (and often do) without judgement (easier said than done)-because they are just thoughts.
It’s what we do with our thoughts that can create great joy or major issues in our lives or the lives of others. So, for now-just focus on your thoughts and know that this is the place where all of your life joy originates. There is great power in your thoughts-as it’s the birthplace of all that happens in your life.
Focusing on your thoughts (without judgement), answer the question-What do I want?
Take however long you need to do this. Write down your answers.
The way you respond to this powerful question may differ based on the day, how you’re feeling and, the mood you are in. Yet, it’s a question that you have asked yourself in many ways throughout your life. And you’ll also find that when you’re considering “What do I want?” You’re really asking yourself, “What do I need to feel happy and fulfilled in life?”
The interesting thing about this question is while your answers may change, the core of what you need to feel happy and fulfilled-hasn’t changed. Let me repeat, the core of what you need hasn’t changed-it’s the things you think you need in life to make you feel that way, that change. And again, that’s okay-but identifying what you want to make you happy, will help you evaluate what things you truly need to get there.
There are 6 Commonly Accepted Human Needs that we live by. The ones that are most important to you can change based on where you’re at in your life. These 6 Human Needs always drive your behavior and actions.
1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness with someone/something
5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
6. Contribution: a sense of service/focus on helping, giving to/supporting others
So look back at your list of things you “Want or Need” and see which of the 6 Human Needs are connected with those things that most resonate for you.
For example, I may write that I want to spend more quality time with my family. This would align with Human Need #4 Connection/Love.
Or I may write that I want to go back to school so that I can either change jobs or be promoted within my company. This would show that at this time, I greatly identify with Human Need #5 Growth.
Naming what you want and how it connects to your Human Needs is powerful in creating the life you want. When you are able to clearly name these things-you give your life direction and purpose.
However, just thinking about your Human Needs and wants isn’t enough. That is your conscious mind working for you, you want to pull your subconscious mind into it as well.
“The conscious mind is the captain and master of your ship, which represents your body, environment, and all your affairs. Your subconscious mind takes the orders you give it based upon what your conscious mind believes and accepts as true,” (Murphy, 2007, p.16).
There are many ways to make your subconscious mind work for you. The thing to remember is that there is great power in knowing what you want and identifying what Human Need/s your wants are coming from. Then you can start to think about your thoughts and change your thought patterns, so they work for you.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Man is what he thinks all day long.”
Are the thoughts that you’re having creating room for success in your life? Or…are your thoughts throughout the day, reinforcing the ideas of why you can’t have what you want?
One powerful way to create what you want in your life, moving past your thoughts, is to act as if you already have what you want. Keeping your conscious mind busy with expectations of your being successful in creating what you want, allows your subconscious to align with what you want, and things start happening for you.
For example, if you want to have many close friends-you’ll want to consider what need that meets for you. Then visualize with as much detail what it would look like to have many friends.
- How would you meet them?
- How would you spend time together?
- Are they part of your every day life?
- Or are they in and out of your life?
- Do you talk, text, FaceTime etc…often?
Be as clear and specific as possible. In visualizing that you want to have close friendships, you will start to notice immediately the friends you have and what works for you regarding those friendships. Then you’ll start to notice opportunities to meet other friends. It’s not that the opportunities weren’t there before, it’s just that you didn’t notice them, because you were focused on something else.
Simply by focusing on what you want-you begin to see all of the opportunities that are present in your day-to-day life to make you truly happy.
The amazing thing about knowing what you want and visualizing it, is that you start to notice all of the ways those things are already showing up in your life. Sometimes they are simply there, you notice and reach out to experience them. Sometimes, you need to think more about steps you can take to bring those things into your life, on a grander scale.
Knowing what you want, and clearly identifying what that looks like in your own life is the first step to building a life you love. Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you.