EPMEPM: ProductivityProductivity & Best Practice

How to Decide What You Want In Life

The reason most people don’t accomplish much or have much in their lives is because they haven’t decided what they want. Top body language experts Allan and Barbara Pease outline a proven way to do just with an extract from their new book, The Answer.

Most people struggle with questions such as ‘How do you define success?’; ‘Who do I want to become?’; ‘What do I want to experience?’; ‘What assets do I want to accumulate?’

Everyone knows the feeling of having an inner urge to do something that excites you whenever you think of it. But generally, people rarely make that thing happen.

The brain’s RAS (Reticular Activating System) filters the incoming information and affects what you notice, your level of arousal, and decides which information is not going to get access to your brain.

When you were born you were absolutely clear on what you wanted in life and you refused to let anyone or anything stand in your way of getting to it. If you were hungry you cried loudly until someone fed you. By the time you could talk you were hammering your parents over and over with your wants until they either gave in to you or they ran away from home. Overall, you laughed at most things that happened in life and didn’t take yourself too seriously. So what happened between childhood and adulthood?

Well, when most kids are young, their brains are being continually programmed with phrases such as:

  • Act your age – grow up
  • You should be ashamed
  • You are selfish
  • Accept what you’ve been given
  • Who do you think you are?
  • No, you don’t feel like that
  • Eat everything on your plate
  • I wish you were more like … You are a bad child!

As a result of this RAS conditioning, most people arrive at puberty being compliant with the demands of others. The spontaneity and dreams they had as children have been suppressed or completely lost. By their late teens they are doing things that adults want them to do and, whether they realise it or not, have been conditioned into making choices. This might be marrying the ‘right’ person rather than someone they want to marry, taking university courses that their parents want them to take, or choosing a ‘secure’ job instead of pursuing an exciting life. They take the safe, sensible path and many then tiptoe silently through life to retirement and early death.

What’s the point of climbing the ladder of success to discover you’ve leaned it against the wrong wall? Living up to others’ expectations is futile and will only bring you anxiety and unhappiness. We respect people who are passionate about what they want and who beat their own drum, even when we don’t necessarily agree with them. Make a decision now that you will take control and do what you want in life, not what others may demand of you.

The starting point is to write down anything you think you may want to do or achieve, regardless of how trivial it may seem to anyone else. Include on your list any dreams you have had as a child that still hold some significance to you. Also, record any idea you may see or hear about that strikes a chord with you. Try to have at least ten to twenty items on this list and include anything that has ever seemed appealing to you. And we mean anything.

Writing something on a list doesn’t mean you are committed to it; it’s just an idea that appeals to you right now or has interested you at some point in the past. When you start your list, keep it to yourself or share it only with someone you completely trust. Do not discuss the list with anyone who may want to manipulate you or who may tell you that something on your list is a silly idea or can’t be done.

This list is all about you. Do not show it to dream-stealers and never allow yourself to be defined by someone else’s opinion. Don’t let people who gave up on their dreams talk you out of yours.

Most people don’t get the things they want in life because they focus on how they might achieve something. They look at what others have achieved and think, ‘I wouldn’t know how to do that’. So they do nothing. Instead, they should decide what they want to achieve.

The first and most important principle in achieving any goal is to decide what you think you might want, and not focus your thoughts at this time on how you will actually achieve it.

If you concentrate on how something could be done you can become discouraged, because right now you either don’t know a way of doing it or you don’t have the skills or circumstances that are required to achieve it. And so nothing happens – you never get started. The most important lesson right now is to think about what you want and don’t, under any circumstances, think about how you will do it – not yet. We’ll get to this later.

First, decide what you want. Your RAS will then search for the answers to how to achieve it and the ways will begin to appear.

Collect pictures, images and text that describe or illustrate your goals. Put them in a book, and read it every day. Our personal lists are wide and varied and include things that often just seemed like an interesting idea at the time. But, either individually or together, we have started and mostly achieved over 90 per cent of the items we wrote on these lists.

Have you ever noticed that when you read a newspaper or magazine you see some articles but not others? You may feel that you’ve read everything in that paper until someone asks if you read a particular article and you can’t recall seeing it. You then re-read the paper and discover that the article fills an entire page! But you didn’t see it.

This is because your RAS is a target-seeking mechanism that only lets you see things related to the thoughts and ideas you’ve put into it and ignores the rest.

If, for example, you decide to think only about tigers, everywhere you look you’ll see stories, movies and information about tigers. You’ll see tigers on the television, on the internet, in magazines, on cereal packets and on advertising billboards, and you’ll hear people talking about tigers. Yet prior to deciding to think about tigers you probably never saw anything about them.

Studies show that you are 42 per cent more likely to achieve your goals just by handwriting them. When you use a keyboard to type, it only involves eight different movements of your fingers and this uses only a small number of neural connections in your brain. Handwriting can involve a range of up to 10,000 movements and creates thousands of neural paths in your brain. Writing your goals activates your RAS and instructs your subconscious to work on them, whether you are thinking about them or not.

When you decide exactly what you want to do, have, or become, your RAS will begin to seek out the ways to do it. Once you put the thought into your mind, you’ll begin to see, read and hear things about it. It’s that simple. And this is what very few people ever do.

Constantly re-reading your written list of goals will soon clarify how important or unimportant each item really is to you. Keep adding, modifying and subtracting from your list. After a while, some of the items will keep reappearing because these have the most meaning for you. Put a copy in any location where you can always see it. As you think of new things, add them to the list. The longer your list, the better.

A study of wealthy people in the 1970s was conducted to determine the main differences between millionaires and billionaires. While both groups were wealthy, the researchers wanted to know why one group was so dramatically wealthier than the other. After three years of research, the one point that was the most similar between the two was that both groups knew exactly what they wanted, but the billionaires had clearly written lists of their ideas, goals and objectives. While the millionaires were equally passionate about their goals and knew exactly what they wanted, they had a significantly lower incidence of written plans than did the billionaires.

The message here is clear. Make a list of your goals – in handwriting.

How you spend your working life is usually one of the top priorities on most people’s lists, yet studies show that more than eight out of ten people don’t like what they do for a living.

Here is the answer to finding your life’s mission – what is it in your past that you enjoyed doing more than anything, and that you loved so much that you’d do it for free if given the opportunity? Think back to the things in your life that gave you the most joy and happiness, and made you feel the best. These are the areas in which you will find your life’s mission, business or true career.

Maybe you enjoy eating out at nice restaurants, reading books and magazines, going to parties and dance clubs, watching movies, listening to or playing music, meeting new people, surfing the net, playing sports and shopping. Well, thousands of people get paid to do those things. By producing things for other people to enjoy or use in their lives you convert a passion into a sustainable income.

You can make a great living out of doing anything that really turns you on.

But you first need to decide exactly what you love and then write it down.

Millions of people are making successful careers right now from the things that turn them on. They wake up every day full of excitement about going to do more of it. This is what you need to do too, if you want to live a fulfilling life. Starting in a venture or career purely to make money does not stand the test of time, and it can make you cynical and unhappy. Do what your heart says you were meant to do and the money will eventually follow.

Barbara and Allan Pease are two of the world’s foremost body language experts and authors of 18 books, including The Answer.
Allan will be speaking at LPMA 2017; for more information visit lpma2017.com.au.

Show More
Back to top button