How to Get What you Really Want 100% of The Time

How to Get What you Really Want 100% of The Time

Quite a statement that eh? As ‘How-to’ blog post titles go, that one has quite a bit to live up to and if you’re going to spend your precious time reading this post then it sure as heck better deliver on it’s promise, right?

Well, sit down, strap in, pour a small cup of white monkey paw tea into your favourite mug and get ready for the roller-coaster (of the non-tea spilling variety that I’ve just invented) and get your eyeballs around this because I’m not kidding…

I’m going to start with the answer and then we’ll back engineer the method that will make it happen. So how do we get what we really want 100% of the time?

By only really wanting what we can 100% get!

Wait, don’t go, it’s not a trick answer, consider this: If what you wanted (and by really wanted I mean the stuff that makes you happy, the things that make your life worth living and give you the warm and fuzzies) were things that you could grab onto without any barriers or exorbitant costs then you’d have your answer, right? If everything that was really important was 100% accessible then you’d be getting what you really wanted 100% of the time.

OK, that sounds a little bit airy fairy, namby pamby, yadda yadda, whatever on the face of it. I’m no hippy; I get where you’re coming from but that doesn’t make it not true.

So how does that work in practice?

Firstly let’s caveat this with a few common sensicles: Of course if what you want is a physical impossibility, if a debilitating illness has you or a loved one in it’s grip then no amount of wishing is going to change that. Positive healthcare, good diet and nutrition, lifestyle and luck are the way forwards (not to say that much of that isn’t within your reach either) but we’re talking about the day-to-day wants and needs. Let’s define them, then let’s get them:

Question: What makes you happy?

OK, So let’s break that down into two areas (we are super-simplifying here, not exploring neurology).

Things that make me happy:

  • Waking up and being alive

  • My kids being happy and healthy

  • Sunshine

  • Music

  • Being by the sea (or preferably in/on it)

  • Fireworks

  • Getting lost in a book

  • Getting lost in a wood

  • Exploring

  • Meeting interesting people

  • Traveling without a plan

Things that give me a little brain buzz that I often mistake for being happy but in fact is just my brain’s pleasure centre firing out a little bit of dopamine in response to a learned association with something I get or do:

  • Leveling up on a Video Game

  • Eating Chocolate

  • Buying something I ‘want’

  • Completing a work task satisfactorily

  • Receiving a compliment

  • Buying a bigger house (improving my social status)

  • Buying a cooler car (improving my social status)

  • Putting that new winter coat that I deserve on my credit card and not really noticing the actual cost of it

Granted, there are some distinct similarities both in terms of the things that I’ve mentioned and the neurological mechanisms that respond to them but what I’ve tried to focus on is the difference between things that make me happy that are available to me, and things that make me feel good for just a few moments but often have a barrier in front of them.

Think about the value/happiness balance for a moment…

Of all the things that you think you want, some of them will make you happy permanently and some of them will make you happy for only a short while, some of them will be freely available to you right now and some will have an inherent cost that will add stress to your life (the stress of debt, affordability, the never satisfied ladder of social standing or the clutter and chaos that an excess of ‘stuff you want’ brings to a home environment) and I’m fairly confident that if you made a list you’d find there was a frequent correlation between the things that made you happy and kept you happy being right under your nose, and the stuff that gave you a temporary brain buzz also causing you a little stress (not always visible, immediate stress, but the accumulated kind of stealth stress that creeps up on you when you’re busy chasing the next fix).

So the most effective way to get what you want 100% of the time is to want what you can 100% get all of the time (as much as is possible – but we’d all be happy with 80% right?).

And if we’ve made some minor adjustments to how we perceive what makes us happy, we’ll have a pretty sweet list to work from.

Remember, what you choose to value and how you look at the things in your life is a choice you make, and so is being happy. I don’t need to fire cheesy images into your head of borderline starving children smiling and laughing because they’ve got something in their life that makes them feel that way and they’re grateful for it despite the hardships they face. You already know all of that. You don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else and feel guilty about it; just take a few minutes to draw up a list of what’s important; what really keeps you sane, and call it the list of stuff you want. Then prioritise it above the other, slightly less meaningful list. The more you focus on that, the less important the newer this, bigger that and brand name the other will become and the happier you’ll be. Promise.

That’s it. Just a bunch of thoughts dumped on page for you to suck a small amount of inspiration from and interpret as you will. I’m off for a cup of Pu Erh and to plan an epic trip next year to somewhere hot and sunny and full of adventure that won’t cost very much at all (I’ll keep you posted).