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Do You Know What You Really Want?

In keeping with our theme on stress and the judicious use of short-term acute stress for our benefit and equally the judicious avoidance of long-term chronic stress to our detriment, I have simple a question: What makes you do what you do?

I mean what motivates you? I guess what I really mean is what do you desire? Or, maybe what do you NOT desire; what are you avoiding? Both can be powerful motivators. Both have the ability move the needle away from zero. One however, will keep you tied in knots and the other will make you stronger and more vibrant. One is a benefit, and yes, one is not.

Let’s really get down and dirty.

Are you driven by what you want? OR are you driven by what you don’t want?

Why do you pay attention to your diet? Because you don’t want to get heavy? Or because you want to feel great in and out of your clothes?Exercise? Again to avoid being flabby? Or because you want to be able to move when called upon? Chiropractic adjustments? Are you avoiding pain? Or does it make sense that maintaining proper tone in your nervous system will improve your life? (Please, on this one, pick the second choice.)

What is driving you? Why not go where you want, instead of focusing on what you don’t want? Why are we afraid to say what we really want?

So many questions!

Two quick illustrations:

A few years back we were having dinner in Boise and the young man serving us was rather winsome and dashing. He was also very open. He was telling us his plans for the future and how he would get there etc… And then he said this, “Ultimately, I want to work in marketing for a sports franchise, like the Boise Hawks.” Excellent. A goal, a direction, clarity. So I asked the next obvious question, “What is keeping you from going straight at that right now? Why not go for what you want? If you already know what you want, go in that direction.” I don’t even remember his response and I wasn’t trying to put him on defense. I thought this to be a legitimate question for him and all of us. All the plans he had up to that point were not taking him in that direction. I was perplexed. He was creating more stress in his world by not moving in the direction of his goal.

Was he avoiding something? Was he afraid of his desire? Which brings me a little closer to home.

A few years back I worked summers as a river guide. I took a week away from school to go and learn the craft from the best at the time, Bill Macguiness. We learned every facet of river reading, camp set-up, cooking on the river, river rescue, the whole chimichanga. At the end of this week, in sum, Bill said, “You want to keep your boat in the part of the river that takes you to where you want to go.” Just like that. Again, slightly perplexed at the week-long training and then this bombshell, I realized he was right. Get in the current that takes you where you want to go. If you have ever seen or experienced a river raft in water, taking you where you don’t want to go, you feel the stress pretty quickly. You waste a whole lot of energy trying to get back to the current. The boat in the part of the river that is moving where it wants, makes it look simple, and not stressful.

The idea here is that we spend way too much time and energy avoiding what we don’t want. This will make a mess of you fast. Be honest with yourself and choose where you want to go and go there.

Make no mistake, this too will produce some short-term discomfort, but once the decision is made and momentum takes over, you will be in the water that takes you to where you want to go.



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