How to Get What You Want in Life

Written By Keith Ng 17.02.2009

I have been asked to write an article on ‘How To Get What You Want In Life’ by several of my readers, colleagues, relatives and friends. It is kind of overdue but I do hope that some of the points that I will be about to share would be relevant to you guys and play a part in your journey towards achieving what you want.

Firstly, we must know that everyone in this world who got to where he is had to start from where he was. No one is born a winner or loser. How much we want to win in our lives depends on how ‘hungry’ or responsible we want to be for it. But before you can even really win anything, you got to know what you want in your life.

Many a times, most people are seeking what most people out there are seeking. By normative social pressures, most people skipped the process of thinking through what they really want in their lives and conform to what most people out there are pursuing. And when they finally get what they think they want, they finally realized they were actually looking for something else. Therefore, you got to really know what you value in your life. If one does not know which port he is sailing, there is always no favorable wind. Without knowing your objectives, you will also miss out on opportunities that come along because you can’t see it as one to begin with.

By knowing what matters to you, it is also very easy to make seemingly difficult decisions. Most decisions in our lives involve accepting something while rejecting something else. There is an opportunity cost to every choice we make. It is only by being very clear on your own set of values and beliefs, that we would be able to act decisively upon them.

Now that you have uncovered what truly matters to you, you got to start asking yourself questions like, ‘where am I now?’, ‘where do I want to go to’ and ‘how do I get there?’

Your questions however, should not be just the average questions. If you just ask the average question, you will get the average answer. The key thing is, do you, want to be just the average?

If you simply prefer to be the average, you may stop reading this article at this point. If you desire to go beyond your current situation, the following points might help you to get to where you want.

Ask yourself, what are the critical questions that will help you to uncover the ways that will get you where you want to arrive. It could be anything that you define it to be. To a student, it might mean getting a high GPA. To a salesperson, it could be exceeding his quota. To a father, it could be how to enrich the lives of his family. To a patient, it could be how to recuperate in the best possible way and quickest time. It doesn’t matter how you define it to be. Find out, from those people who have been through it. Learn from their experience to cut short your learning curve. To know the way ahead, ask those coming back.

Challenge yourself as well. Instead of asking what is the average income that a university graduate makes after you graduate, ask how much are the top graduates are making. Instead of asking how long is the expected duration to finish an academic course, ask what is the fastest possible time to complete the course. Instead of asking what is the average time span life you are looking at after being diagnosed a terminal illness, ask so what are the methods that has allowed similar patients to recover and have beaten the odds totally.

Never be satisfied with what you are told or what the expected result is. You are you. If you anchor yourself to the average population out there, you are certainly not doing a justice to yourself. In essence, the quality of your life depends on the quality of the questions we ask ourselves and others.

When you start to challenge yourself and ask why not, you open yourself to a whole world of possibilities. You have redefined your winning chances. Awareness would then give you additional power because awareness gives you choice.

There is always this thing call unconscious competency. When we start to limit ourselves by other people’s standards, we are compromising our strengths. Every athlete who has broken the world records will tell you that the importance of tapping on your unconscious competency cannot be over emphasized. Ask not what we are, but what we may be. It is more important to not know what one can’t do, than to know what one can do, when it comes to achieving personal feats. Remember, miracles are not a contradiction of nature. They are only in contradiction of what we humans know of nature.

After seeking the answers from the questions you asked, you would then be able to make an informed decision on the various choices you have. The right knowledge will help lead you to the right path. But still, we are only halfway there.

You may have heard that knowledge is power. But I totally disagree. It only gives you the potential to get towards what you desire. Knowledge itself has no power. It is the application of your knowledge in the right manner that manifests results.

After knowing your options you got to make a firm decision. At this point in time, procrastination will be your greatest enemy. There is absolutely no point asking intelligent questions, knowing your available options and then not doing anything about it. But sadly, this is the stage where many people stops. They are simply happy enough to know a lot of things without realizing they are in no way better off than someone else who knows nothing at all. You need to decide and act upon it.

Having made an informed choice, it does not stop here. You need to be persistently fighting towards your goal. More likely than not, you will have to go thru a fair share of setbacks before you can get to where you want. Persistence inevitably comes with it that you would have to have a great deal of faith in yourself and what you do. Faith is the evidence of things not (yet) seen.

However, what keeps most people from getting what they want is because of the habit of wanting instant gratification. That is, wanting to enjoy now and not having the patience to wait for future benefits. By spending on that new car or designer watch, they get instant gratification. When it comes to investing on self-improvement books, courses or seminars, they will think twice as they have to wait for future benefits. When they do not get what they want from the first few attempts, they give up. It is not success that they desire. It is comfort and a life without failures that they want.

Perhaps, these people might want to learn something from the Chinese bamboo tree. After planting the seed of this amazing tree, you see nothing, absolutely nothing, for four years except for a tiny shoot coming out of its bulb. During those four years, all the growth takes place underground. But then in the fifth year the Chinese bamboo tree suddenly starts to grow above the ground level up to eighty feet tall.

Most things in our life are akin to the Chinese bamboo tree. You strive hard, you invest time, money and effort, doing everything you can, but most of the time, do you see the results? Yes or no? Yes, you’ll always see results. It’s either results you want, or results you don’t want. However, sometimes you don’t see anything for weeks, months, or even years. But if you have the faith and keep on moving, that “fifth year” will eventually come, and you would be astonished at the growth and change that takes place.

But take heed, perseverance is not the only prerequisite to success. It is perseverance with intelligence that really brings you to the top. When you fail and you do the same thing over and over again, you will keep on getting the same results. If you do not learn how to evaluate and improve on your current situation, to search and try out ways of doing things better, determination would get you nowhere except to exhaust you further. In summary, we can see that the process of getting what you want, may not be seemingly easy, but it is definitely achievable with the right mindset, attitude, knowledge and wisdom. Lastly, acknowledge that not everything is worth your time. Personally, I believe that what is not worth doing is worth not doing well. If you spend equal amount of time on everything, you will not be able to maximize your own strengths and realize your fullest potential. When you spend equal amounts of time on tasks that you are both competent and incompetent in, you end up getting the average. That is, aim to do what you want most and best in.

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~ by Keith Ng on February 17, 2009.

2 Responses to “How to Get What You Want in Life”

  1. I can’t believe that you’ve here exact what I also think. Thank you for writing it the professional way.

    There are many problems that we face because :
    “most people skipped the process of thinking through what they really want in their lives and conform to what most people out there are pursuing”

    however, sometimes, it’s one’s way to “acknowledge that not everything is worth your time”

    Here is where I think we need the strength to proceed. But, as your rightly said:
    “After knowing your options you got to make a firm decision. At this point in time, procrastination will be your greatest enemy.”

    What seems as procrastination could simply be the confusion about the surety of what we are trying, or the time when we are thinking whether that is really is worth our time; or just the perception of what REALLY matters a lot to us, as per the importance (sometimes: assigned in the procrastinator’s?) list.

    Thank you very much for sharing this article, I can’t wait to share it with my friends.

  2. YES i have such feeling sometimes too but i did not realis it. now i understand better. thank you!

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