Sunday, November 18, 2012

WORDS OF WISDOM: What Do You Want?

I assume you’ve read the title, so….what’s your answer? What do you want?

Clearly, the first step in getting what you want, is knowing what you want. Once you can do that, the first step of your work is complete! But the problem is that determining what you want can sometimes be challenging, in part because your body and your mind often provide signals that mask your true desires or needs.

Take the human body as an example. Imagine you’re craving chocolate. You think –I’m craving chocolate, therefore I really want chocolate, so I shall eat chocolate and my craving will be satisfied and I’ll be happy…not so fast. Apparently (according to Huffington Post Healthy Living), when you’re craving chocolate, or carbs in general, it is often because your body is tired and is looking for the slight energy boost that it will reap from the carbs.

Here’s a few more biological/psychological examples: if you’re craving something creamy, you’re seeking “comfort food,” which can mean you have worrisome thoughts and desire something soothing. If you’re craving caffeine, you may be discouraged, dissatisfied, or dehydrated. And if you’re craving something crunchy, it might be a sign of inner frustration or irritation that the action of “crunching” may momentarily release.  So, it’s not always easy to know what you really ‘need’ from the signals your mind/body provides.  The key is to go beyond the signals and discover the needs. 

Emotionally, we wrestle with the same issues.  We can crave new feelings, new circumstances, new friends, etc. and sometimes be disappointed when the changes we make in our lives don’t bring about the hoped-for happiness – discovering and tending to our needs is the key to success.

Let’s consider a desire that most of us have -- to go to college.  Why do we desire this; what is the deeper need?  Because I’m supposed to? Because my parents told me to?  Because I enjoy learning?  Because all of my friends are going to college? Because I enjoy school?  Because I don’t know what else to do? Or maybe it’s because you know you have a bigger goal, and although you may not know what that goal is yet, you know you need a college education in order to be one step closer to achieving it.  Clearly there are many possible needs associated with this desire to go to college – sorting them out and prioritizing them is the key to getting traction towards a decision, and then action.  

But there may be information gaps to fill in order to better understand your desires and the needs ‘beneath’ them.  Fill these information gaps first – friends, family and Google can all be useful!  Once the information gaps are filled, stop Googleing and start thinking (the internet never actually solved a problem – it only helps provide you with the means to do so). 

So, turn your desires into needs and your needs into questions.  These questions can be big, little, important, or perhaps even embarrassing, but  I can assure you that you will benefit from formulating your questions, filling in the information gaps associated with them, and then thinking about them carefully and with a purpose – to get what you need.

Feel free to contact columnists at Unleashed 

The Words of Wisdom Column, Lia Vosti:
Lia Vosti is an undergraduate at Santa Clara University, majoring in Bioengineering. Growing up together, her words always made the most obscure situations crisp and clear. She is the up and coming Renaissance woman, able to give homely advise after a day in the lab, and wise beyond her years.  

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