Vail Daily column: Find your desire
All my friend could talk about was a new truck. In our early 20s, I really couldn’t understand the obsession. The truck itself cost nearly $50,000 back then. My friend could easily fly into a rant about how the truck would be great for towing … towing what I have no idea. He planned to haul various imaginary “loads” with his truck. The hypothetical uses of the truck were endless. The guy was serving tables and pouring drinks.
It wasn’t months after I heard him first speak this desire that I saw him drive up to work in one of the nicest lifted show trucks I had ever seen in my life.
Six months later, all he could do was complain about the $600 monthly payment. I felt terrible for my friend — primarily because I had always known him to be a bit impetuous and I had not made more of an effort to slow him down. In a quiet moment I asked him as softly as possible why he had financed the truck.
“I guess I was just tired of people laughing at my car.”
He had bought a new vehicle, not because he wanted it, but because he cared more about what other people thought than the damage that the choice would incur. He didn’t want a truck — he wanted respect.
This memory has haunted me for years and convinced me of a truth. The great blessing and curse of this life is that we will most certainly get exactly what it is that we want. The issue is not having a desire — the issue is having identified the right desires and changing our hearts to sincerely seek them.
The road to success in any endeavor starts with the wanting — the desire. Before we can even start the journey to reach some destination, we must first decide where we want to go. Unfortunately, even in this initial step there are unseen pitfalls, just as my young friend had experienced.
In forming a desire, all too often we do not dig deep enough to truly identify what it is that we want. I think most of us can look back on some choice and realize that our actions were linked to the wrong desire. We try to solve a huge want with a false solution. My friend thought that what he wanted was a truck, when in fact his core desire was respect, and perhaps even deeper than that, self-respect.
Additionally, what we say we want is not actually what we want. Sometimes our actions and articulated desires are a result of our environment, our culture, our parents, our social norms and our external reinforcements. Somebody told you when you were 12 that you were a great singer. Ten years later you find yourself seeking paying gigs. You do this in spite of your internal disdain for public performance. All external signs say you are supposed to be a singer. Suddenly, a few more years go by and you realize you are living the life that others have seen for you, and not what you have seen for yourself. You are now impressive at doing something you dislike. The internal dissonance tears you apart.
Fortunately the solution to these pitfalls is fairly simple. Perform an activity with me — be ready to get a little deep. Though going through this mentally can work, putting it on paper is much easier and less vague. Number the paper 1 to 15. On Line 1, list the thing that you want. Just one thing right now. Ask yourself why. The answer to that question goes on Line 2. Ask yourself why again. The answer to this question goes on Line 3. Continue asking yourself why. When you are finished, you will have identified the core element of desire that is fueling your initial want. Now, reverse engineer your desire and compare it to your current actions — do your actions reflect the best way to get what you want? And one more thing — are you proud of what you want? I’ll tell you how to change what your heart wants some other time if you’re not.
Here is the beauty in this activity: We will all definitely be allowed to completely change what we want at any given time. There is no need for deep regret. No need for us to explain ourselves. This wouldn’t be productive. We may simply make a change in direction, and we are allowed to do this as many times as we deem prudent. Now, you can’t expect to be at a new destination tomorrow, but you can expect to know that you are headed there. Put your head down, form a strategy, pick the next tactic and get moving. You’ll wake up one day and realize that what you truly wanted and the actions to get it were much simpler than you could have imagined.
Ben Gochberg is a commercial lender and business finance consultant. He plays, lives, works and is trying to do a little good in Eagle County. He can be reached for business inquiries or free consultation at 970-471-3546.