I say they don’t really want to do those things. They only think they want to.
Like, you might say, “I’d really want to write a book” or “I’d love to be a long-distance runner” but if you don’t write and you don’t run, you don’t really want to.
I hear all the arguments. You really do want to write, you just don’t have the time, or you’re too tired, or you don’t have the right materials. Or you really do want to run, you just don’t know where to start, or you’re scared, or you’re not cleared by your doctor.
I’d say that if you really and truly want to write or run, you do it. You find a way and you just do it. It’s not effort. It’s not hard. It’s just what you do. Like when you get up with your crying baby in the middle of the night. You’re exhausted and the excuses not to get up are many, but you don’t even bother generating excuses. Your legs just start walking toward the baby’s room with or without your consent.
So if you’re not doing something, you may think you want to, but you don’t really want to.
If you’re standing in front of the refrigerator and you have to ask, “Am I hungry?” you’re not. If you were hungry you’d eat. If you’re only thinking about being hungry, you ask.
Writing and running are no different.
And to look at the reverse, it’s also true that whatever you’re doing right now, you want to be doing.
That’s a tough one, I know. I have clients who swear up and down that they don’t want to be in the job or the city or the financial situation they’re in. They serve on the PTO and they say they hate the PTO.
But if you don’t want to be doing it, why are you? No one’s holding a gun to your head.
There are consequences to every choice we make and they complicate things. We say we want a better financial situation, but the truth of the matter is that we don’t want to work the crappy job more than we do want money. We say we want to quit the PTO but the truth is we want to feel needed more than we want to quit.
So, I get it. Sometimes it’s not fair and we really want two things that are conflicting and we can’t get them both. But make no mistake—you’re always choosing the one you want more. When money becomes more important than working a crappy job, you’ll have money. When running becomes more important than being nervous or uninformed, you’ll be a runner.
There are no right or wrong choices here, either. I’d totally rather be a non-runner and (many days) a non-writer. The reason I know that is because I am.
Even though I think I’d like to run and write, it’s crystal clear to me that I don’t really want to all that much because I’m not.
And the whole reason for pointing this out is just so that you know for sure—you’re choosing the life you have. That means you can always (always, always, always) choose differently.
When you really want to.