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The Second Key to Living a Great Life – Be Clear on What You Want

Do you know what you want?

I mean what you REALLY want?  You have to WANT something or want to DO something or your life will be pretty boring.

Define Happy

But you say, “I just want to be HAPPY.”  You’ve got to be more specific than that.  What does happiness mean to you?  Define happy.  What makes you happy?  Be clear on what you want?

You might say, “I want to buy a house.”  Will the house make you happy?  Or is it what the house makes you feel that makes you happy?  Security, sense of accomplishment?  Did your family lose your home in foreclosure as a kid?  Or did you have to move from rental to rental?  What does home ownership really represent for you?  You need to clarify.

How about, “I want a new car.”  Is that car going to make you happy?  What happens when it gets old?  Is that a good story, you finally getting that new Tahoe?

Or would it be a better story…

…if you bought a used Tahoe…

…because you needed a larger vehicle…

…to fit your family…

…and be able to pull a camper…

…across country for six weeks during the summer?

That would be an awesome story.

No More Stuff

I’ve come to realize that I don’t want THINGS anymore.  I want EXPERIENCES.

I bought a mountain bike.  I wanted a mountain bike.  Or did I?  What I really wanted was what riding a mountain bike would give me.  The experience.  Riding down a technical trail a little faster than I’m confortable with.  Riding on the edge.  All of my senses heightened, anticipating (and fearful) of a fall.

Then there is the memory of taking water break on the trail while over looking an awesome mountain view with a lake below.  Those experiences are what I wanted, not a mountain bike.

Experiencing More

You might say, “I want to travel.”  But where and why?  It’s the same for me.  I enjoy traveling but not for the sake of traveling.  Who likes layovers or sitting in a hot airplane on the tarmac during a delay?

I want the experiences that travel brings.  I am currently planning a vacation to the Arizona / Utah area because of the incredible photography opportunities in that region.  I am also researching volunteer vacations for 2013.  That’s where you spend 1-3 weeks helping in conservation work, teaching English, or helping with scientific research.  Think about your last vacation…What was the most memorable experience?

I want to be healthy.  Most of us do, but why?  For a small few, it’s because they want to compete in bodybuilding or physique competitions.  [Believe it or not, I actually did that in my mid-20’s.  I enjoyed the experience of winning.  It was thrilling to push your body beyond perceived limits and physically change the way you looked.  And then get a rush from the competition.]

But for most, they want to feel healthy to be able to DO things.  For some, health is a priority because they are rehabbing from an illness or injury.  Some want (or need) to lose 100 pounds for health reasons and they simply want to be able to play with their kids.

Ask Why?

For me, I want to be healthy enough to run a half-marathon in October of this year.  Then I want o climb Mt. Rainier next year.

But break down your WANTS even further.

I want to be healthy. Why?

To run a half-marathon. Why?

To be fit enough to climb Mt. Rainier? Why?

To see if I can really push myself and actually do it. Why?

To feel an incredible sense of accomplishment? Why?

To feel good about being part of small percentage that have done it? Why?

To help me believe that anything is possible. Why?

To know I’m using my lifetime to live it to the fullest? Why?

To have good stories to tell? Why?

Why not? What’s the alternative?

Try that exercise.  You can go on and on and on.  It can be very therapeutic.

But what to YOU want?  Really want?

Read more keys:

1st Key: Take Responsibility

3rd Key: Engage Others

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