Many people go about their lives without considering what they truly want, and often end up satisfying other people’s wants and needs instead of their own.
The ‘What Do I Want’ exercise is designed to overcome this problem.
- We start with three imaginary premises that ‘you can do anything you want‘, ‘you have all the resources you need‘ and ‘there’s no way you can fail‘. For the purposes of this exercise imagine they are true for you.
- Choose a piece of music that inspires you and which is at least 10 minutes long. It can be a playlist that is at least this long.
- Turn on the music and start writing (or typing) as quickly as possible all the things you’d like to HAVE. Don’t censor yourself, just have fun! Write down whatever comes to mind without thinking further about it.
- After 10 minutes or so, take a rest for a few minutes. Then do the same thing again, only this time list everything you’d like to BE. For instance, in your career, the awards you want to get, etc. Remember to have fun and don’t self-censor!
- Finally, do the process again only this time list everything you want to DO. You know, the trip to Venice or Disneyland, etc. Don’t hold anything back – go full bottle! Remember: ‘you can have anything you want‘, ‘you have all the resources [money] you need’ and ‘there is no way you can fail.’
- When you’re done, the list will be quite big. Some things may seem ridiculous, some may seem impossible. Take those that are ridiculous and think of how even more ridiculous they can be made: instead of $10M make it 10 trillion! Don’t hold back!
- Next, sort them in order of ‘how hard’ it would be to create them. A good way to do this is to write them out on 3×5 index cards and stack them with the easiest on the top and the hardest on the bottom. It’s not necessary to be accurate – just sort them as quickly as you can. Separate the BE’s from the DO’s and HAVE’s.
- If you have already come up with excuses for not doing this exercise, it is most likely some limiting beliefs that are holding you back. Re-read point 1 above and imagine that ‘you can do anything you want‘, ‘you have all the resources you need‘ and ‘there’s no way you can fail‘. This is a ‘what-if’ exercise that stimulates ideas and awakens the ‘wanter’ – which is the true connection to your values.
- You should have three piles of index cards – one each for BE, DO and HAVE. Now it’s time to go through them and think about specific goals that would would be a step along the way to these. Also think about whether some goals could be combined into a bigger goal. Look for connections between goals – not just in the one pile but in all three piles.
- Do this process at your convenience over a few weeks. Review the cards every day, ponder them, and imagine them as being achieved. Ask yourself: ‘How can I move towards HAVING this?’ ‘How can I move towards DOING this?’ and ‘How can I move towards BEING this?’
- Also ask: ‘What qualities will I need to develop?’ ‘What would I need to believe about myself?’ and ‘What service will I have to perform for others?’
- Over the course of a few weeks, determine the specifics of the goal and the time limit for its completion. Write it out on a 3×5 card and carry it with you everywhere you go. Periodically pull it out and read it over and over.
- Figure out the first step, even if it’s very basic, and DO IT.
- See what happens, figure out what you learned, and DO IT AGAIN!
- Keep doing this until you get what you want.
- DON’T STOP for anything or anyone!