Do you have a goal or dream or something that always seems to take a back seat? You say you want it, but there’s always a reason why you can’t have it…
Maybe you don’t want it bad enough?
After spending a year mountain biking and snowboarding in Whistler, I returned to at least a dozen different conversations involving someone saying “I wish I could spend some time living overseas, but…”
Since starting a business that has allowed me to use my skills and earn “city money” while living in my chosen country of Andorra , I’ve had a ton of conversations with friends and strangers around quitting their job and starting their own business, living out their dreams – but more often than not, nothing eventuates.
What gets me down is when great people don’t believe they can do something…
I wish I could take a year off of work and write a book, but…
I can write for days about things that are important to me, but I’m not as smart as you may think. You’re reading the words of someone that crashed their first car (and didn’t have insurance), once drank a litre of Jim Beam (not recommended, not even in limited quantities) and has had a life’s share of concussions (probably not as bad as the Beam to be honest).
If intelligence was the sole driver of making change, we’d probably all be sitting around a fire in a cave bashing each other with clubs.
No, there’s a real reason why you aren’t succeeding in getting “what you want”…
It’s Not Laziness
There’s some sort of accepted wisdom out there that if you aren’t taking action towards achieving something that you should do, you’re lazy. But what you should do depends entirely on you.
Maybe you’re “procrastinating” on doing your taxes because learning how to snowboard like a pro is way more interesting?
What if you are “being lazy” and spending Sunday on your laptop instead of going to the gym because you want to learn to code?
This type of stuff doesn’t make you lazy at all.
Sometimes It’s Subtle
Often it’s obvious when something flat out does not interest us, but sometimes we have things that we care about and tell ourselves we want – but they just don’t seem to happen.
Why am I not succeeding?
There’s a bunch of things I “want”, but they clearly aren’t happening – at least not fast.
- I want a KGC10 Skyline.
- I want a 6-pack (not Jack and Cola).
- I want to fly business class whenever I travel.
- I want to build a cafe racer.
- I want to be fluent in Catalan. And Italian. And Spanish.
But at the time of writing, I do or have none of these things (my Catalan is improving though)…
You Don’t Need to Work Harder
So if it’s not laziness, it’s that you need to work harder, right?
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Chances are, if there isn’t a fire beneath you pushing you to towards success, you probably don’t want it, and that’s okay! Maybe you just need to be honest with yourself?
It takes a lot of courage to acknowledge that something you profess to want isn’t actually that important.
- I want a KGC10 Skyline, but I’d prefer to invest in websites and my freedom fund instead.
- I want a 6-pack, but I enjoy indulging in desserts with friends more. (2021 Update: I hit sub 10% bodyfat while also enjoying desserts!)
- I want to fly business class, but I can fly 3 times as much on the same amount of money flying economy – this is more important to me right now.
- I want to build a cafe racer, but I don’t have the space, so I’d prefer to wait until I have the space to do it properly, without frustration.
- I want to be fluent in Catalan, but I’d prefer to build a successful business first, so I can take a 6 month hiatus at some stage and focus on learning it properly.
In fact, before I formed the opinion that for most people, tertiary education is a waste of time and money, I thought I wanted to get a university degree.
My teachers at school told me to get one, my parents wanted me to get one and my peers told me I needed one to get a job.
Yet quitting my studies was one of the best decisions I’ve made, despite conventional wisdom that I’m now a “quitter”. Sue me.
You Want It. Someday. Maybe.
I talk about priorities a lot. We all say we want stuff, but in reality it doesn’t come close to ranking #1 in our list of priorities.
So you say you want to spend a year travelling, but you’ve never pulled the trigger? My guess is establishing a career in your home town is more important to you.
You claim you “want to quit your job and start a business” but you’ve been saying it for half a decade now? Maybe knocking off at 5pm and forgetting about work on the weekends is much higher priority.
In more everyday scenarios, I have friends that want to “renovate the house” or “redo the garden”, but they’ve been saying the same thing for years without action. It’s not that they don’t want these things, they simply prioritise paying down their mortgage or going on holiday.
I mean, I’d like to take a year off of work to drive a Porsche around the world, staying at some incredible hotels along the way.
But not having the credit card debt is a much higher priority to me at this point in time. So here I am thrashing my VW Golf R (car update here) around Europe instead.
So it’s time to face up to the shit you claim you “want”, but you’re never working towards or are constantly self-sabotaging on. There’s a reason you’re acting this way, listen to it! Get out your pen and paper (or your Trello) and begin compiling your Someday Maybe List.
Start writing down the stuff you dream about. The stuff you tell yourself you want to do one day, but today is not that day. Once it’s on the list, it’s out of your mind, to be tackled someday, maybe.
Now you can focus on the real stuff. The high priority stuff that you truly want today.
You Don’t Want It Bad Enough
It’s OK if you don’t want it bad enough. The danger comes from not acknowledging it and blaming yourself for lack of action on things that aren’t truly important to you at this point in time.
Take some time, be honest with yourself and prioritise the important things. The rest can wait.