How long have you been waiting to take that fantasy vacation? What is on your list of things to do ‘one day before you die’ that you are simply putting off? How many of these things would bring you true happiness, a feeling of success and accomplishment, as well as the satisfaction of living your life to the fullest? So why then, do so many of us put off our wants and desires and hide behind a life that involves years of waiting followed by regret for decisions not made and experiences not experienced?
According to Plato, “human behavior flows from three things…desire, emotion and knowledge.” While many philosophers have tried to decipher his code of ethics when it comes to separating desire and reason – the bottom line still exists. If your heart, soul, spirit, and being crave something in your life – denying yourself will only leave you dissatisfied and constantly striving to fill the void with something else. And sadly, that something else will never satisfy. Great philosophers throughout antiquity have settled on the fact that the human stirring of desire, should always be negotiated into the routines of your life. For it is your desires and wants – that will truly shape your life experience and ensure that you feel satisfied.
Translation….if you don’t do what you want to do, you will never be truly happy.
Of course, in today’s world of marriage, children, and responsible living it often makes sense to put aside the things we want. Obviously, you have to worry about finances, and ensuring that your desires are reasonable. If you want to sail around the world and you have a family at home that needs you, chances are leaving them for 6-8 months may not be a possibility just so you can experience wind in your sails. If you desire a new, fancy home or car than obviously, you have to encompass the monetary qualifications to do so. Perhaps this is where Plato’s aspect of ‘knowledge’ comes into play as it pertains to human behavior. However, it is perhaps wise to sometimes consider that you just may know too much.
From a young age, it has been seen as a responsible trait to teach people to think of the future. Teenagers and young adults are encouraged to use their time wisely, to always think before they jump, and to invest in tomorrow, both figuratively and literally. Then, when you become a spouse, parent of finally get the ‘good job’ you are led by financial analysts, self help gurus and highly lodged fragments of information that make you feel bad if you ever choose to do for yourself and follow your dreams. On the flip side, there are tons of money making schemes and cliché courses that are designed to help people follow their desires, rather than put off their wants and desire. In fact, if you Googled ‘follow your dreams’ or ‘live your dream life’ you would be slapped with millions of philosophies, plans, techniques and stories on how to do just that. It seems that while we are all trying to be responsible beings, living up to the social demands of today – we are also secretly searching the internet in the hopes to find permission to follow our dreams. Bottom line, you have to give it to yourself.
Putting off wants and desires, while responsible at times – should be done in balance. If you have a vision or a dream or quite honestly, something you just want to try I life, you owe it to yourself to take steps to make it happen. This isn’t to say you should quit your job, take a flight to Timbuktu, and tell the world around you to go to hell! Yet, you can take baby steps that keep your wants and desires in mind that will be facilitating forward process rather than denying yourself.
For instance. If you want to take a vacation to a faraway land, then start saving money. Set up an account and put a little extra in it each and every month. Start researching places to visit and take steps to prepare yourself for your trip. Even if the trip is years away, making efforts to keep it in the forefront of your mind is important. If you dream of working at home and starting your own business, then make a goal-setting chart that will responsibly lead you to that point. Even if it is months or years from opening your doors, you will be proactive. And this means you won’t be ignoring your wants and desires.
When people think of wants, dreams and desires left unfulfilled, it is often in the tone of whimsy saved for children. I want to be a rodeo star, I want to live in the Florida Keys with my toes in the ocean, or I want to be a millionaire. Truth is that most people say and think things like this in jest, when their real wants and desires are both worthy and possible. So putting off these wants and desires is silly. You don’t have to do them today, right now, in this very moment – but you can be working towards it. And if they are truly your personal wants and desires, than you will truly find the way to make them come true.
It is easy to find an excuse to NOT do something. There will always be obstacles that you feel are immovable mountains. Yet the reality is that the only thing that stands between you and your wants and desires, is YOU! Putting off desires and wants will only guarantee one thing. You will never reach them. Instead, think in terms of baby steps and make sure that every thing you do today – keeps your innermost stirrings in mind.