When I ask people what they want in their lives, so often they say “But I don’t KNOW what I want!”
This is sometimes because we don’t realise that there are two stages to finding out what we want. First we need to access our creative, imaginative brain, and allow ourselves to explore possibilities and ideas. Then, AFTER we have done that, we bring in our logical, analytical brain and refine it, decide what is practical, plan, and problem solve.
Mostly when we are having difficulty with knowing what our goals are and achieving them, one of these stages is being missed out or not working properly.
For many people it is the creative, imaginative stage that gets missed out. When we ask ourselves “What would I love to do?”, immediately thoughts like these come up:
· “That won’t work because....”
· “You’ll never be able to do that.........”
· “That sounds like it will take too much hard work / money”
· “I haven’t got the skills........”
· “Yes but.........”
· “I can’t....”
Doing this is a bit like if you planted an acorn, then, as soon as a green shoot poked above the soil, you pulled it out because it didn’t look like an oak tree! Being reasonable and practical is a valuable skill, but it is only half the story.
Creativity and imagination are abilities we were all born with: just watch and listen to any small child playing! These abilities will still be within you, whether or not you feel like they are, and with a little bit of practise and uncovering you can remind yourself of them. I recommend this exercise:
Give yourself a set amount of time, an hour, a day, even 10 minutes is a good start. And promise yourself that in that time you will let yourself be as wild and creative and impractical as you like! Then allow your mind to wander freely, accepting, exploring and playing with EVERY idea that comes up. Personally I like to get a big sheet of paper and put my question in the middle, then write down whatever comes to mind all over the sheet (like a spider diagram). You can use different coloured pens or pencils, draw or paint your ideas, make them in clay...... I also like to let my mind wander as I go for a walk, or even while doing ordinary things like washing up.
All of these things help you to access and encourage the creative side of your brain. Once you get away from the need for things to be logical, to make sense, you will be surprised what comes up. If at any stage your logical brain wants to get involved, promise it that it will have time later to make these ideas practical, and then gently but firmly put it to one side. Set aside a different time to look at practicalities; I would recommend having a gap between the two activities. It is good go off and do something different in between, or to “sleep on it”, to allow your unconscious mind to process what you have done before involving your logical conscious mind.
For further tips on answering the question “What do you want?” see my previous blog "What do you want?"