At least I'm not getting what I don't want

h20BAA15AIt occurs to me that most of us, most of the time, don't really push for what we want.  Instead, we push for not getting what we don't want. A little over a year ago, here's what I wanted:

  • To start off a new direction, working as a coach, empowering people to take on their lives with absolute power and authenticity, enrol people in living the life of their dreams, inspire people to take on what's scary, and live life from a place of love, excitement and passion.

Here's what I went for instead:

  • Not failing financially
  • Not rocking the boat with my parents and my wife
  • Not looking foolish
  • Not failing

It occurs to me that we all play this game.  We're so comfortable with where we right now, we avoid shifts that might disrupt the status quo.  Have you ever played the game of pros and cons with yourself when confronted with a new and exciting possibility?

  • "Well, I could take that on, but then I might lose the flexibility that I currently have at my job."
  • "I like him a lot, but what if I get a job I hate after I move cities?"
  • "I don't like my job and really want to switch careers, but I don't want to give up the financial comfort I currently have."

We're playing the game of ensuring we don't get what we don't want, instead of getting what we do want.

[Tweet "When we focus on what we don't want, that's the best we ever get"]

The good news is that you're winning that game.  You're doing very well at ensuring you don't get what you don't want.  You probably don't have too much of what you don't want in your life.  Sure, maybe you find yourself pretty miserable with what you do have (after all, it's painful not getting what you really want), but at least you're not financially destitute, or totally lonely, or whatever it is that you're playing to avoid.

aae58b79eafb68d81bdec6c6d4ada36eThe trouble is that when we focus on what we don't want, that's the best we ever get.  Without actually casting our fishing line way out into the ocean of possibility, we only ever stay one step ahead of our fear.  We never gain any real traction.

For my part, I couldn't even see that this was the way I was laying out my life.  I didn't want failure, and I didn't want loneliness.  I didn't want people to think I was awkward or lame, and I didn't want them to see me fail at my career aspirations.  Ironically, that meant I never shared what I truly wanted, and never developed real connection with those people.

I never got what I didn't want.  People didn't know about my passion and aspiration, so they never got an opportunity to see me fail, trip or stumble.  People never really got a deep sense of connection with me (hard to really have that without any vulnerability), and so I never experienced the sense of loss that might come from someone deciding they didn't actually like me.

[Tweet "Are you playing a game that you want to win, or a game that you can't lose?"]

My assertion is that if you look, you can see yourself doing this in places too.  There are things that you really want, but aren't willing to go for because of what you might have to give up.  That's what playing not to lose looks like.

Playing to win means creating something that is worth the risk, and actually looking for a way to create having it all.  The only reason that you can't make both a lot of money and a lot of spare time is because that's the game you're playing.  I'm not saying these things will come easily to you, but if that's what you truly want, isn't it worth it?

Where can you see yourself playing to not get what you don't want, instead of going for what you really want?  Take a second and set aside all of the reasons not to do something, and have a look: if you were only allowed to play for what you really wanted, what would you be aiming for?