It’s a simple question; a simple concept:
What is it that you want?
Length: 1368 words
Did I want to burn my face in the sun today? (did I want to spend two hours having lunch and drinking wine at a downtown terrace with a sea view?)
Do I want to write this article? I mean, it does take some time, that I could spend meeting people, playing with my dog, reading a book, stretching or catching up on Game Of Thrones (I wonder…, could it be that the cold season is approaching; and what about the pale wanderers up north?).
Do you want to get rich? Do you, really? Why? What are you going to do with the money, i.e., what do you actually want?
Do you want status? Do you want to get laid? Think about it.
Do you want nice things? Clothes, cars, watches, houses, boats, yachts? Why? To achieve a certain stature? Why? To be admired? By whom? To what end?
Why? To get laid? Or to get an even better paying job with even higher status? Why?
Ask yourself what you truly want at the end of the day. What do you do, want or enjoy when nobody’s watching?
I asked myself these questions long ago.
Eventually I sold my cars, quit my job and started blogging and podcasting as a result of my mulling these issues. I had realized I was a pattern recognizer and that my deepest desire was to learn (occasionally I want to eat, fuck and sleep of course, but evolution had it that to do those things I first had to recognize the patterns of food and females, e.g.)
Sure, I do strive for higher ratings, more listeners etc., but only to spread the message in, e.g., this article and my books. I don’t want status or fame per se, I use it to spread a message. But why do I want to spread that message?
That’s a much harder question, but here’s my attempt at answering:
It’s a drive I have. It’s the mirror image of wanting to learn as much as possible – I guess I assume you and everybody else share the same drive. Rather than waiting for your pull, I push both the method and the message onto you.
Yeah…, I like being appreciated, it feels good to be seen per se (not just for the potential it lends), and a groupie or two wouldn’t hurt (come on! what? noone? 10 000 readers and not a single girl interested? Alrighty then, maybe I’m already seeing somebody). However, most of all I just want to make others stop chasing other people’s dreams, and start realizing their own.
It applies to everything:
Why spend 5 years on ‘higher’ education, just because the last generation did. Why spend 40 years in employment, to impress people with your titles, or to buy things that put you ahead of the pack? Do you really want to be ahead or to impress, instead of doing real things with real people?
I get it that there are certain realities of life to consider. You need to eat and you don’t want to be cold or dirty or look bad to potential partners. You might want to get kids and care for them too… So, sure, you need some kind of an income and a place to stay.
But do you want to dress up like a monkey in a suit and tie everyday? (Bobby Axelrod never wears that kind of attire). Why do you want a flashy car you don’t really need? Do you really want to spend those extra hours, weeks, months, years at the job to finance a lifestyle that is just theater for others?
Do you want to throw money from the bridge of your yacht shouting “money is fun coupons” (at the price of studying for others, working for others, worrying, sleeping too little, aging prematurely)? Maybe you do, I’m not judging. I’m just asking questions.
I understand if you want to throw big parties, jet comfortably around the world (but where and why?), get the best seats at concerts (I don’t like live music), catch the attention of the most interesting people and so on.
However, are you going about it in the most effective manner, or are you taking a very big and unnecessary detour (perhaps endlessly chasing the Joneses)?
It’s very easy to get distracted, to just do what everybody else is doing. We are herd animals after all. It’s all too easy to just keep doing what you’re doing as well; breaking out of homeostasis doesn’t come naturally.
It’s irritatingly easy to just climb the nearest hill, to enjoy whatever is right in front of you, without regard for the bigger picture.
Did I want to burn my face today? No. Did I understand I would, and that my eyes would be sore in the evening? Well, I guessed as much, but the wine was good and the alcohol felt nice…
Do I want to check my investment portfolio every day? No, not really. A year ago I hardly checked it every week, but lately I’ve spent at least five minutes every day, and often more than an hour just looking and maybe making a trade or two. I actually don’t want to do that, or need for that matter.
Today, I did what I want: I did not open the trading app and never checked my portfolio or the financial markets. I went to the gym as I always do every other day. I want that. And I met a friend for lunch and we had a bottle of wine each in the sun. I really enjoyed that, laughed a lot, learned a few things, perhaps provided a few insights as well. However, I should have moved into the shade after the first hour. I wanted to (in hindsight); I just never thought about it hard enough.
So, what do you want?
I guess getting up in the morning to go to school, prepare your exams, or put on a suit and too warm shoes and be in time for the morning meeting aren’t things you really want – you just do it for the money. And how do you spend or save that money? The way you want?
Here’s my tip to you. Think through how you would design your life if you could start from scratch. How would you live (where, what kind of house/apartment, what climate, what view), what would you do (given your financial constraints), what would you eat? Who would you meet?
Once you have that ideal situation detailed, start thinking about how you can approach it from your current vantage point.
What do you want and need to learn? Is there any point in being employed or could you create value without a boss? Are you maximizing your potential during college by keeping up to date on real stuff outside school? Could you learn even more and faster without school? Are you trying out business ideas while in school or are you just focused on rote learning what and only what they tell you, like an automaton?
Back to square one:
- Start from scratch, break from the herd, from homeostasis
- Be mindful of when you feel good, when you’re happy, fulfilled, energetic
- Search deep within, and ask what you want for you; the endgame so to speak, your primary objectives that you do for their own sake, not as intermediaries
- Design the ideal situation with the point above in mind
- Think about how to approach the point above, step by step; small, easy steps
Feel free to share this article with anybody you think are in danger of joining the Joneses. Please.
And if you’re new here, you just have to read my first e-book: “The Retarded Hedge Fund Manager” (it’s free of course). Well, that is, if you are at all interested in how a guy from Jukkasjärvi went from nothing to receiving the award for “The European Hedge Fund Of The Decade” while managing not to turn into a big dick; and then unceremoniously retired before turning 42.
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5 Replies to “What do you want?”
Was browsing the archives because you hadn’t posted a new one recently and refreshed the page and here we go. Looking forward to it.
Well said, Mike. Great article.
“Why spend 40 years in employment, to impress people with your titles, or to buy things that put you ahead of the pack? Do you really want to be ahead or to impress, instead of doing real things with real people?”
Basically said something similar to my friends a few weeks ago on this and for the most part they didn’t understand what I was getting at.
Yeah it’s a difficult message to bring forward to the brainwashed masses :)
I think you can add a step between 3 & 4. Be sure to ask yourself “why?”
I agree with your point about getting to the root cause. And the more times you can ask “why”, the deeper you can go into what you really want.
Fully agree. Good input.