That One Simple and Terrifyingly Complex Question: What Do You Want?

What’s my legacy? What’s my contribution? What matters most? These are all questions I’ve asked myself recently, and I’ve asked you, the reader to think critically about.

Not only have you listened, you’ve responded. You’ve acted. I’ve received many emails from you guys thanking me for the push. The push to take action. The push to quit. The push to say “no”. The push to say “yes”. The push to do something that you’ve been wanting to, but didn’t know where, or how to start.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an adult (at least, I think by now I can call myself that – though I’ve never been a fan of the word), it’s that you must be willing to toss the old grade-school message of being selfless out the window. You must learn to be extremely selfish.

It’s not about saying that no one else matters. It isn’t about keeping all the cookies for yourself. It’s about picking up the pen to write your own story, instead of sitting by while others write it for you.

It’s easy to do the latter. To coast by and allow others to tell your tale. It’s much more difficult to take on the role of author. To be the one telling the story. To craft a story that is unexpected, unpredictable, exciting, challenging, and stimulating.

We inherently allow our decision-making to get complicated and confusing. But it doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t be. When you’re deciding whether or not you should be doing something, whether or not you’re on the right path, if you should say “yes” or “no”, ask yourself, “Do I want to be doing this?”

  • If the answer is yes, hell yes, then do it.
  • If the answer is no, then don’t.

It seems simple because it is. 

Saying yes or no to something is the easy part. It’s the effect and consequence of your answer that gets things all distorted and tricky in our head. It’s easy to give up control and to put the decisions YOU should be making in someone else’s hands. To lose focus on what you want for the sake of someone, or something else.

I love what my friend Berrak had to say a couple months ago:

“…It’s amazing how easy it is for control to slip out of your hands. No one tells you that one of the hardest things you’ll have to do is stay in control of your life because people will meddle. People will continue to have pissing contests all around, and sometimes, on you. You will want to take care of others, letting yourself slip – at all times….”

And she’s right. Control is what we all want, but it’s the easiest thing to let slip.

“…But you can’t just stop making decisions. Your life moves forward with or without you and once you start avoiding the decisions, no matter how hard, you start avoiding your life…”

Being deliberate. Being selfish. Embracing what matters most. It’s the only path to clarity. And ladies and gents, it’s the only way to live.

It starts and ends with one simple and terrifyingly complex question: What do you want?