Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gotta Wanna

People generally assign an activity to one of two categories: Gotta Do or Wanna Do.

Phrases and terms associated with the Gotta Dos include: "I hafta...", "They're makin' me...", and "I've got no choice but to..."

Phrases and terms associated with Wanna Dos include: "Someday I'd like to...", "I'd love too... but...", "I really wish I could... but..."

Gotta Do and Wanna Do are used so pervasively that the assignment of a task to one or the other category is rarely questioned. Further, Gotta Do has an almost magical capacity to render the motivation to pursue other activities impotent. It is frequently uttered as an incantation to ward off lurking Donwanna Dos allowing the invoker to feign wanting the Donwanna Do while neatly avoiding it. One needs simply say, "I'd love to, but I hafta..." and all protests to the contrary are rendered ineffective.

It's this last phenomenon that I find so curious and that others often find annoying when I find it curious. You see, in reality there are only Wanna Dos. Whenever we tell ourselves (or others) that we don't want to do something we're doing or about to do, we're lying. Although on the surface we may "honestly" believe that we don't want to undertake a task, deep down inside, there's a want that's being satisfied by the doing of it.

Distinguishing the differences between Gotta Do an Wanna Do is simply a matter of paying attention. If you pay attention to any Gotta Do, you'll find the underlying Wanna Do(s) right quickly. It ain't hard at all. You just have to be honest and aware.

I know. You might be thinking, "That's just not true! There are things in my life I hate to do, but I just don't have a choice."

I'd respond, "There likely are many things in your life that you hate to do, but do. However, you do have a choice. In fact, you have lots of choices."

You might think, "He's full of it."

Just go with me on this (at least for the moment).

Forget about figuring out the underlying wants that fuel your Gotta Dos and simply accept that they exist. Doing this you can simply decide, "I'm not sure exactly why, but I'm absolutely certain that I want to do what I'm about to do. Therefore, I'm going do it with the attitude that I not only want to do it, but that I love doing it. I'll figure out why I love it as I go."

If you do this and nothing else, you'll see a remarkable change in how you feel about what you're doing. You'll begin to see evidence that supports liking what you're doing. You'll get in touch with the benefits of what you're doing that fuel the underlying Wanna Dos. You'll feel better, and definitely be much more fun to be around.

There's just one caveat. If you decide to embrace the notion that everything you do is something that you want to do, you'll render ineffective the "I'd love to, but I hafta..." incantation. When someone asks you to do something you don't want to do, you might actually have to say, "Sorry, I don't want to do that."

Happy Sunday,

1 comment:

  1. Tef: in your previous post "Theory of Wanting", you wrote
    "The part that gets most confusing to many a lamenter is that I don't pursue the "what you could be doing" side of the equation. Instead, I simply point out that he does in fact want what to do what he's doing, that he's getting what he wants."
    I am intensely eager to know how that plays out in real life, with people you know, as well as with acquaintances. Methinks there's a key piece that the other person needs to bring to the table, which you referred to in this post with "You just have to be honest and aware".


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