If I remember correctly, I think it was a cat poster. He was sitting in what looked to be a comfortable chair with a smug look on his face, wearing a top hat and a monocle. And the caption below read:
“You can be anything you want to be!”
Now, I’m not just saying this because I’m more of a dog guy. Although one could argue that my little nine pound Bijon Frise and Shih Tzu mix could hardly be considered a real dog. I’m saying this because I think it’s a false statement used to lull people to sleep so they could dream about one day having anything they want at the expense of actually getting anything they want.
Case in point. I want to be the bass player for David Bowie. And I want to be a New York Times Best Selling Author. I want to ride my bike to San Francisco. And I want to travel every inch of the globe with my family. I want to be a multi-millionaire. And I want to give away most of my millions to people that desperately need it more than I do.
I want all of these things. In fact, I’ve wanted all of them for a long time. Any why not? They are all attainable.
Yet, I have not accomplished any of them. Not because I didn’t want to. But because wanting to just wasn’t enough.
It wasn’t enough to get me to start pedaling my bike towards San Francisco like my friend Wayne. It wasn’t enough for me to take out the map and plan out a single trip with my family. It wasn’t enough to get me to finish my book. And It wasn’t enough to get me anywhere near The Garden performing Ziggy Stardust. Heck, it wasn’t even enough to get me to reach out and give David Bowie something to say “no” to.
I wanted it. But that was it. And wanting something gives you just enough energy to feel bad about yourself for not having it.
It won’t keep you awake at night. It won’t have you mapping out a plan. It won’t force you to take action. It won’t convince you to do the impossible. It won’t get you to do whatever it takes.
Wanting is weak. It’s passive. It survives on the hope that someone else is going to magically appear and hand it over to you. Wanting relies on the same mindset that has you laying on the couch wanting ice cream while being too lazy to get up to go get it.
And aren’t you better than that?
You Need a Better Plan
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting something as long as you are willing to embrace the fact that you may never get it. However, if it’s something that you must have, there is a better alternative.
I know. It sounds trivial. But language is so important and this one little shift could be the difference between dreaming about it and having it.
Think about it for a second.
Who do you think is more likely to walk away with the prize? The person that approaches life this belief:
“I want to be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise!”
Or the person that approaches life with this belief:
“I choose to be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise!”
The person that chooses will win every time over the person that wants. Because they have made a choice. And making a choice cuts out all other possibilities. It creates a certain definiteness of purpose. A declaration. It plants your flag in the sand and commits you to a certain outcome. Not because it is something that you want. But because it is something that you are. When you choose, it’s who you become that makes the difference. You are essentially tying a string around your nose with the other end pulling you towards that outcome.
When I graduated from college with a degree in music performance, I chose to be a Broadway musician long before I ever stepped foot on that stage. And because I made that choice, every action I took from that day forward brought me closer to that opportunity. I was willing to move heaven and earth until the truth in my head became my reality. It was an incredibly difficult journey every step of the way. However had it just been a want, I probably never would have experienced it.
(If you haven’t read the full story, you can do so here.)
And that’s just one example. I can go down the list of impossible goals that I accomplished throughout my lifetime and the one thing that they all have in common is that I made a choice and refused to look back. And in that same breath, I have a pile of wants that have never been realized.
The difference between the two has been that one word.
So, What Would You Choose if You Could?
Let’s be clear. This isn’t the book or movie The Secret. And it’s not going to cost you three easy payments of $97. There is no magic potion. And it’s not the Four Hour Work Week.
There is a tough road ahead of you. Choosing doesn’t relinquish you from doing the hard work. Quite the opposite actually. It inspires you to do the hard work.
You just have to be willing to take that first step. And here’s your chance.
So, what do you choose?
Share it in the comments below and make the declaration that you don’t just want it. You choose it. And then get started on making it happen and allow the rest of us to help you and cheer you on.
I choose to be a New York Times Best Selling Author.
And now the work begins.