I’ve heard that sentence so many times, from all kind of people: “I don’t know what I want”.
Most of the time, this answer doesn’t come first… But arrives when I start trying to get real answers to the question: what do you want?
And yes, most of people feel like they know what they want. At least they’ve got some answers… the superficial ones!
“I don’t know what I want” is of course not about material things…
As long as you keep talking about material things, yes, people usually know exactly what they want. I find it sad.
Especially because as soon as you get to the core of things, it’s all becoming blurry for them. And the deeper you go, the more blurry it gets.
Knowing which material things you want is a good starting point. But only if you then start asking “why” you want it!
This is where the troubles start, and the “I don’t know what I want” appear.
Most likely, living in a world full of advertising is the main reason for that. Our brain records all of these ads, and select the things we desire the most.
Is it because the marketers were great, or because these things speak to our heart? It’s not the point. We don’t need to know.
What’s interesting is trying to figure out why we want them. And It’s much harder.
Maybe there is no real why!
Finding a why is a mental process… We can always trick ourselves, can’t we?
And maybe we don’t want to hear the reason either. Isn’t consuming a way to bring some meaning to the long hours we work hard to get some money?
Let me ask the question differently so that it’s harder to flee the real answers…
What do you want in life ?
Forget about the house, the car, the cat and the kids! What do you really want in life, when you strip down to the core of it?
What would make you happy?
In one version of an ideal world, shouldn’t the answer be “I don’t want anything, wanting is an attachment, and attachment leads to suffering.” ?
As soon as you want something you set expectations. And expectations imply goals and results. Too often it leads to deception, unhappiness and less freedom.
What would a world without wanting would look like ?
Take a few minutes to imagine what your world would look like if you thought : I don’t know what I want because I don’t want anything, I already have what I need to be happy.
Plain life, as it is, and you’d be able to enjoy each and every moment. You don’t want anything, you enjoy everything. You’re happy just to be alive.
Of course, we humans want stuffs.
It’s not even a question. But shouldn’t we try to live each and every moment for its magic? Do we need to add these extra expectations which most of the time will disappear as soon as we get what we want?
Shouldn’t we put first the act of living, instead of setting a list of things we want? A list which, way too often, brings frustration… at least.
Shouldn’t we try to extract ourselves from this crazy society we created where all is about buying. And instead, trying to create our own version of it, where all is about feeling?
Just to live in it for a moment. It won’t replace the existing one, but we’ll just get some perspective. Creating a powerful version of the “I don’t know what I want”: I don’t know what I want but I know why I don’t know, I chose to.
Oh, I’m not a hippie, far from it!
(Though I have nothing against them!) What I suggest is that we should try looking more closely at why we want what we want…
And if the reasons are not meaningful enough, maybe not wanting them will bring more joy than having them.
It’s an easy change. Just a simple “why” before buying anything.
Or as I read somewhere one day, just asking: “will buying this make me really happier?” (Or will it just quickly satisfies my needs to buy!)
Never wondered why countries were people are the most happy are rarely the ones where people can buy the most?
These two metrics are not related. At all. Buying anything will never “buy” you happiness. Sorry if you believed it…
But if you want to be really happy one day, you have to get beyond this. Tell me, what already makes you happy in your life ?
Couldn’t you just experience more of it, and more often, instead of wasting your time and energy on things that don’t matter ?
I’d love to hear your answers about that “I don’t know what I want” thing !