‘What do I want?’ A question that many ask but few can answer directly and without hesitation. Let’s have a look as to why this is so difficult.

Alan Watts said two things about knowing what you want;

‘Two reasons that you don’t really know what you want: #1 You have IT. #2 You don’t know yourself, because you never can.’ 

While the last part of the last sentence, ‘because you never can’ could be the topic of multiple posts, I want to focus on #1 and the first part of #2 today and zoom in on the reasons you might not know what you want.

There are, like Watts said, different ways of not knowing something. You might not have taught about it carefully (Watts mentions this as well) or did take the time to think about it but did not have the tools to investigate it properly. Not the right entrance point so to say.

We say that you can know what you want, only the reason you don’t yet is because you haven’t connected the dots of who you are. And this is not something that has happened by accident.

Why we act like we don’t know

Often times in reality we do know what we want but have taught ourselves to disconnect from it. We, unconsciously neglected and pushed away this knowledge about ourselves in order to safe something else.

Maybe not knowing and thus not acting on that we want, being it in relationships, your career or lifestyle was safer. Or acting upon what you knew was punished by the withdrawal of people, attention or money.

And so we act stupid and play hide & seek with our purpose. Always looking for it and running away from it at the same time. A part of us is looking for the meaning that comes from acting upon your passion, the other is scared as shit for the consequences of finding it.

You can’t blame someone for not doing what he has to, if he doesn’t know about it. And so we think that by not knowing what we want, we are not to blame (ourselves) for not acting upon it.

Going full circle

Of course the losses that may come with acting on what you truly want were not very real to begin with. For how can you lose something that would not be yours is you were true to yourself?

We often fear to lose only that which we don’t really have to begin with, but we think we need in order to feel okay. And so the key to turning this around is to give to ourselves what we thought we needed from others.

Going full circle on this is means that we give to ourselves that which we truly want to do. To allow ourselves to know what we want and act upon it. You start doing this by deciding each moment what it is that’s most important to you. The rest will follow.

Want to take this ‘doing what you want’ a step further? Read yesterday’s post on the three questions that help you find your purpose.

To your homecoming,


Tobias Mol

About Tobias Mol

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