Scott’s Thoughts: Wanting it All

“My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions, but in the fewness of my wants.”

-Joseph Brotherton (May 22, 1783 – January 7, 1857), reforming British politician, Nonconformist minister and pioneering vegetarian.

Pushing a mountain.

There’s a school of thought which says if you want something, you should visualize yourself achieving it. See yourself accepting the award. Imagine yourself taking delivery of the luxury vehicle. Picture the view from your fabulous vacation home. I think the idea is supposed to inspire us, fuel us to overcome the challenges, and give us the will to chase our dreams.

But you have to be careful about what you want. It’s easy to say you want all of those things. There’s a real hazard in fooling yourself into thinking you want something you don’t really want. You can waste your life chasing rewards you don’t even particularly want, simply because they sound like things you should want.

Here’s a different mental mindset I find useful to determine what you really want: Imagine the pain required to get the reward. Picture the working weekends, the long days of juggling clients. Really visualize the blood, sweat, and tears it’ll take to get what you want. Then and only then can you determine if the reward is one you want. If you think, “Yeah, let’s do this! Bring it on!” then maybe you really want it. If not, take a step back and assess your desire.

Wanting one or two things versus wanting it all has a real upside: Intense focus. The fewer things you want, the more energy you have to pursue your real goals. The fewer things you want, the better your quality of life, too. It gives you more room for the downtime you need to recharge and regroup.


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