On life

I would like to vs. I want to

One of the most interesting things about life is how we are all interested in different things. Some of us love to make music, while others love to cook, or write or paint. Life seems to have infinite possibilities, but we all end up doing different things. How do we know which way to go?

One of my favourite quotes is “You can do anything, you just can’t do everything”. I’m not sure who said it, but it’s so true. I’ve been reading a lot of soul-searching self-help books lately (which I love!) and sometimes I really do feel I can do everything. But if you really dig deep, you know you can’t. You know why? Because you don’t care about everything. I don’t care about singing, or painting or marketing for that matter. I will never work in those fields and I’m fine with that.

“You can do anything, you just can’t do everything”

Still, sometimes we can be fooled into believing we can do everything. However, as you get to know yourself, you realize that’s not true. I just need to think back to chemistry class and how incredibly stupid I would feel. On the other hand, whenever I was in English class I felt pretty smart. I could have become a doctor, sure, but I wouldn’t have been very happy. I would have had to work ten times harder than everyone else and probably wouldn’t have had much fun. So if you’re thinking ‘I don’t know what I want’ or ‘I don’t know what to do’, the key is to get to know yourself. And don’t just focus on what you’re good at but what you really enjoy doing.

If you start observing the people around you, you can get some idea of what they want in life, what they really believe is important. People with secure 9 – 5 jobs, large homes, big families probably feel really good with what they have, while single people traveling the world without ever settling down do too. Both types of people may be perfectly happy while their lives are completely different. It’s so interesting to me how this works.

Why aren’t we all rich?

Money is always a fun example. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t want to be ‘rich’. So why aren’t they? Here’s why I wrote this blog post: because they would like to. And in my opinion, this is what distinguishes all of our goals and dreams. There’s plenty of things I would like to do, be or have, but my mind focuses more on the things I want to have, do or be. When I wanted to get my PhD, I went out and got the position. I wanted it so badly, it was all I thought about. All I was thinking was: that’s what I want and I’m going to get it. On the other hand, I’ve always said I would like to write a book. Well, I still haven’t and there’s a good chance I never will.

Think about it. What about yourself or your life don’t you like? What would you like to change? And what do you really want to change? For example, I often say I would like a six pack, but I would never give up the foods I love and spend (even) more time at the gym to get there. And that’s what it takes. If I’m not willing to put in the work, it’s not really what I want. Yet, for someone else, this may be exactly what he or she wants and it won’t even feel like work. This is exactly the drive that guides us all in different directions and defines who we are.

We all want different things

I’ve written this on my blog before, but a reminder is always a good idea: we don’t all want the same things. So don’t be greedy! Share your dreams, and help others with theirs. They will have to get there on their own anyway. And if they don’t really want it, they won’t get there at all. There’s room in this world for all our dreams, that’s what’s so great about life. No two dreams are ever the same. The most important thing is to focus on yourself – on what you really want. Do you want to be rich or would you like to be rich? Do you want that job or does it just sound fun? Do you really want to lose weight or are you secretly happy the way you are? Figuring that out might save you a lot of energy. You know what you want, deep down inside. Be honest with yourself and discover what you really desire. Then you can go out and get it and that’s the fun part!

Emmelyn X

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