Have you ever been sure whom you wanted to be?

We tend to look up to people who achieve a lot. In the eyes of many one is something special if he makes it to a newspaper or to TV. Those guys must be something else who look back to you from the cover of Time magazine or talk to hundreds of thousands from the radio or appear all beautiful on news portals.
It doesn’t even really matter if they are gangsters, politicians, dictators, entrepreneurs, actors, models, celebrities or other dubious characters.

Simply by doing a lot – let it be running, earning money, killing people, managing a large company or just having a big ass and showing it off seems to be something that evokes serious emotions.

All those people that consciously do plenty of things, must be convinced that their actions make a lot of sense. These types of beliefs are greatly connected to our motivation and to our conscious actions. It’s one of the important things that sets us apart from the “stars”.

The answer we give to the original question – “Are you sure who you want to be?” or “Are you sure what you want to do?” is not a YES or a NO. It’s more like this:

want-it_dont-want-it.jpg

Now, we all have moments when we are sure what to do (or what not to do any more). These moments are often all-time highs. “Do you take her as your wife for now until the end of time?” “Yes!” Hurray!

“I quit this job right away. Fuck you all!” “Hurray!”

“I’m going to be a writer and I’ll write 1000 words every day!” “Hurray”

I’ll avenge my family and carry on a blood feud. “Hu… …rray? I guess.”

Or something more simply: “I’m going to meet my friend in an hour.”, “I’m going to read this book I love.”, “I’ll talk with my mother.”, “I’m gonna show who’s the best football player in the team”, “I’m not gonna look at my phone for the next one hour”, etc.

In our Western society status, money and other external values are exaggerated. If I have one million dollars, it often doesn’t matter too much whether I earned it with honest, hard work; made it with fucking over my business partners; earned it on lottery or inherited it. I’m the guy with 1 mil-li-on U-S-D.

Now, we have these pure moments of “this is what I want” and “this is what I DO NOT want” impulsively: this is the feeling that leaders have used since the dawn of civilization: let it be through intimidation or marketing.

“Entropy is the normal state of consciousness—a condition that is neither useful
nor enjoyable.” (Csíkszentmihályi: Flow, read my review here)

We do plenty to get rid of entropy: the lack of order and free-flowing, useless thoughts. We buy stuff we don’t need. We work a lot when there is no sense in doing so. We keep ourselves busy with completely useless things. We spend time with people whom we don’t like or respect. We vote for radicals that promise order. We take drugs. We pay for anything that takes our attention away from naked reality.

Then, as we get over the quick ecstasy of owning a new gadget, raising our salary and different types of hangover start to kick in it means we are back in the grey zone: entropy again…

None of us wants to feel entropy and usually people look for (and find) short-term solutions for the issue. “If I turn on the TV / go to the shopping mall / meet my friends / drink some beers / take a shot of heroin etc. it’ll pass”. And it does.

I imagine one of my weak-willed acquaintance’s graphic:

want-it_dont-want-it_weak_willed

She does not want to have sex with strangers and doesn’t want to do drugs. But waking up the next day in an unknown bed with flashbacks of cocain, next to a naked guy whom she’d never touch when sober – puts her in the weak-willed category.

And she sure wants to finish university but is not able to apply for her exams on time and loses and important year because of administration.

(The same goes for people who think it’s imperative not to kill – but still do when they are asked to by their friends and leadership.)

The more weak-willed you are the more chances there are that you’ll end up a victim of circumstances.

I imagine Elon Musk’s graphic looks like this:
want-it_dont-want-it_elon_musk

Elon knows what he wants, including putting one million people on Mars. He works over 85-100 hours a week to accomplish this and other goals. And he certainly knows what he doesn’t want: breakfast, a more than 5 minute long lunch, phone calls, emails and time with his children without being on email.

I left a tiny bit of “grey zone” on the picture because he’s still a human being and […] he is never satisfied with himself so he is never really satisfied with anyone around him.

But you don’t need to be Elon Musk to have your graphic look like this. Chances are that you already are more satisfied with your achievements than Elon will ever be with his. For you, the “want” part can easily mean living in peaceful times, appreciating good weather, friends, a meal out once in a while, providing for your children, calm time with your husband and once-in-a-while a fling on a Friday.

 I marked the “I’m sure I want to do it” and “I’m sure I don’t want to do it” lines equal.

Wanting something – and eliminating the things that stop us from reaching it come together.

As Steve Jobs said “I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

I don’t think everyone has the ability to change from weak-willed to strong-willed. I don’t think you’ll go down in history as the new Mozart or Elon Musk. But you certainly can try to be one of those who improve themselves and set out for a journey of finding the best version of yourself.

After all, “the procrastinator who gets slightly better every week is a totally changed person a year later.”

Very different people have told me very different things that is supposed to strengthen my will. I don’t think there’s any redemption waiting for us. I don’t think there is any authority worth following. I think every value is sense- and meaningless in itself.
The one road that I try to go down to is improving myself and becoming more of a self-actualizer.

1) Self-actualized people embrace the unknown and the ambiguous.
2) They accept themselves, together with all their flaws.
3) They prioritize and enjoy the journey, not just the destination.
4) While they are inherently unconventional, they do not seek to shock or disturb.
5) They are motivated by growth, not by the satisfaction of needs.
6) Self-actualized people have purpose.
7) They are not troubled by the small things.
8) Self-actualized people are grateful.
9) They share deep relationships with a few, but also feel identification and affection towards the entire human race.
10) Self-actualized people are humble.
11) Self-actualized people resist enculturation.
12) Despite all this, self-actualized people are not perfect.

 

Thanks, Maslow, for putting it nicely together 😉

Sources:
Business Insider

Quora

Wait But Why

Huffington Post

Wikipedia

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