Addition By Subtraction: Why Knowing What You Don’t Want Is More Important Than Knowing What You Do Want.
There’s one key thing holding you back, and it’s almost embarrassing to admit.
In fact, it’s extremely shameful, that’s why it’s damned hard to say out loud.
Any idea what that might be?
Here’s a hint, less is more.
They say that people don’t know what they truly want out of life.
Observing people tells you that’s completely false. People try desperately to do what they really want all the time.
Your average white collar employee actually works about 3 out of 8 hours a working day.
What you just read is correct. People are that checked out when doing their work.
The problem we have today is not a lack of options.
Not knowing what job you want isn’t, because it’s not out there.
Not knowing what you want in a relationship isn’t because any and every type isn’t out there for you.
It isn’t because there’s not enough advice, consultation or information out there.
Google can give you more information in ten minutes today than people could find in ten years before it existed.
The modern dilemma
The problem isn’t that you don’t know what you want.
You know exactly what you want. You’ve always known somewhere deep down.
But it gets buried. What does it get buried by?
The Overwhelming avalanche of all this information, advice, and general non applicable opinions.
Most of which is ineffective at best.
Harmful at worst.
So the problem isn’t that you don’t know what you want.
No, the real problem is this, get ready for it….
You don’t know what you don’t want.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. You do know.
But, the overwhelming options confuse and trick you.
It makes you unable to go deep, and admit want you really want.
Surprisingly, it takes courage just to be honest with yourself.
All the things you could do or would do mean you won’t ever do the thing you actually can or will do.
See the premise?
Basically, you’ll be stuck in a never ending vortex of anxiety, uncertainty and strained effort.
You’ll commit to something, go at it for a little while, and then quit when it becomes difficult.
Now, that can be, because it wasn’t meant for you. Nothing wrong with that. But that’s not the full story.
Many times, we do this because we have ADHD when it comes to pursuing goals, careers, relationships or anything else in life.
It takes A LOT of time, effort, experimentation, thought and strategizing to know if a path is right for you or not.
You won’t know in two weeks. That’s a joke as far as eventual success or happiness goes.
Yet, you and I have been in that position.
Two weeks into a diet, relationship, new job/career, side hustle, meditation routine or anything else when it hits….
“Maybe, like, I should do Bikram yoga instead of a Vinyasha practice, man.” “Sweating is good for you, right?”
Sure, maybe. But why not give the first thing you committed to more time?
Why not see if it materializes into something extremely beneficial for your life?
But again, that takes time. You need to have patience, resolution and even a bit of stoicism to see for sure.
You can’t tell anything, because it feels hard or awkward for the first two weeks.
I can barely ride a bicycle after a long layoff during the first two weeks I start biking again.
That’s despite all the ingrained motor skills and practice over the years.
So you can’t expect something you take up like a new career in marketing to be easy.
It won’t be. It’ll be VERY HARD….
Then, it’s still hard, but you get better and enjoy it more.
As your skills increase, so will your confidence.
With the confidence increase comes an appreciation for the job or career itself.
Nobody starts out an expert. Even a natural genius or savant in something takes time to reach their full potential.
Don’t be afraid to quit things when you can see they are going nowhere. In fact, be quick to fail as that will get you to a better option much quicker.
The above statements reveal one of life’s many paradoxes. They appear contradictory.
The truth is that you should be in a hurry to try many new things, while still giving everything it’s time to manifest.
How do you do that?
It’s a process of checking in with your drives, desires and motivations.
You see, there’s actually a book by psychologist Gabrielle Oettingen that gives a quick, useful acronym to evaluate any new goal you have.
It’s most useful for new businesses, or careers, but you can use it for anything that’s a change which takes effort.
It’s called W.O.O.P.
Wish- Do you visualize it clearly? Is it murky? Do you feel a rush or get excited when thinking about it?
Outcome- What’s the endgame? Do you know exactly what it’ll be? What it’ll feel like? Why do you need this in your life? Why is it important?
Obstacle- What’s the resistance? What stands in your way? Can you see yourself working through it? What help or resources will you need to power through it?
Plan- Does this plan energize or drain you? What specifically gives you energy or takes it away?
Little clarity needed here.
The last part is asking about the overall big picture.
Go through and thoroughly map out everything.
Seriously, as my Mom likes to say.
Write it all out, in the fullest detail possible.
Mentally visualize it as vividly and powerfully as possible.
Also, don’t make the mistake of only imagining the best parts.
No, imagine the mundane and vapid parts of it.
That’s reality, and it’s something you’ll have to deal with.
Lastly, imagine the potentially uncomfortable, or unpleasant parts of it.
You don’t have a clear picture of it if you don’t consider the non fun parts.
Everybody could be a rock star if that meant singing on stage, and that’s all there was to it.
But we all know the full reality of the situation, and what it takes to succeed in something like that.
So think of all the bad stuff too.
Imagine all the achievements, roadblocks, frustrations, setbacks, advice that’s involved in it.
When you do that, how do you feel overall?
Good or bad.
Energized or drained.
Hopeful and enthusiastic or tired and depressed.
Go with your gut here. Don’t overthink it.
Don’t go by feeling anxious either.
If it doesn’t give you some anxiety,
It’s not a big enough goal.
More positive nervous energy than bad is a good sign.
It means your plan is a solid one, but may not be the absolute best. Keep it in a maybe pile.
More negative energy than positive is a bad sign.
It may not be hopeless, but it’s probably not want you should do.
If you feel pure nervous excitement that borders on giddiness, than you have something special on your hands.
If you feel completely awful, depressed or exhausted when you go through the steps, well…
You know the answer to that one. Don’t even touch it. Put it in the garbage heap.
So start applying that today.
Don’t just do it for careers either.
Apply it to relationships.
Apply it to hobbies or interests.
Apply it to living in different locations.
Apply it to different circles of people you run around with.
Always remember the general rule of thumb:
Does this energize or excitement me, or do I dread the thought of going through it?
Again, anxiety doesn’t count.
Living life means a healthy amount of anxiety.
You will feel anxiety if it’s a big change, or it’s something impressive, special or different.
In fact, a good indication it’s the right type of anxious positivity is to feel your body’s sensations.
When you imagine the plan, do you feel tingles in your fingers?
Do you feel anything at the crown of your head, in your eyebrows, or any other parts of your body?
If you do, that’s a powerful signal from the body that you’re imagining something it wants, badly.
You’re imagining something that’s desired or wanted, no matter what that thing is.
I was listening to an author who once remarked that he knew the day he found his true calling.
He said he literally felt adrenaline shoot up from his kidney’s when he imagined his true calling for the first time.
Addition by subtraction is the way you actually improve your life.
The single biggest problem of today is the avalanche of bullshit we deal with on a daily basis.
It’s why you’re always tired…
It’s why you can’t get anything done and always let your days escape you.
It’s why your relationships are stagnant or slipping. and you feel frustrated.
Clean. It. Up.
Bad news, bad people, bad thought patterns,
needless drug use, compulsive shopping, porn and video games.
Even “motivational,” videos that you watch to feel good for a moment…
Then go right back to doing absolutely nothing. It’s all got to go, if you want a good life. Learn enough to get started with your hobbies, passions or business ideas.
Then get started. You’ll learn 10x more on the go than you ever will thinking, ruminating or theorizing all day long.
The day you take this seriously is the day your life changes forever. The day you quit letting bullshit affect your mood, energy and finite time is the day you start winning.
“I can’t be some maniac who just shuts himself off from their family.”
Yeah, you actually can do that, if necessary. You’re just letting the fear of judgement get in the way.
It depends on your family, environment, friends, coworkers and everything in your life. But trust me, everything around you does influence your life more than you know.
If clearing out your life is what you need, than it’s what you need. It’ll be scary, it’ll be uncomfortable and it’ll feel wrong, at first.
Just like the career or business does until you get better at it. With the confidence comes acceptance and peace of mind.
You won’t worry about what they say.
The average person barely gets by and amuses themselves to death with their precious leisure time.
They don’t create beautiful works of art.
They don’t change their communities for the better.
They don’t even add anything especially valuable to a single person in many cases.
Do you care about their judgement?
If so, stop today. Discover your own agency, as they like to say in the halls of academia.
Don’t be afraid to go deep within to reach new levels of self-love and understanding. Trust me, those resources have changed me, and I’ve only used a fraction of them.
As you can see. There’s everything from addiction treatment brain waves to vegan lifestyle assistance.
Don’t ever look back at what you left behind.
Only look ahead to your future greatness.
That’s all for today friends. Always know your true worth, and never be afraid to live life with purpose.
That starts by getting out of the quicksand of mediocrity.
Until the next episode, take out the trash my friends.
P.S. Stay tuned for some great resources that’ll improve your life. Don’t worry, they won’t take too much of you precious time. 🙂