Let’s face it, we’ve all done the “what if” scenarios, as in, “what if you had unlimited time and money”. Where would you go, what would you do, what would change, what would be the same?
As I cover in The Right Question, you don’t necessarily know that. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the most important reason is that it simply isn’t real yet. So there’s no reliable way to tell exactly what you’d do. You probably think you know, and I’m sure you’ve thought about it, but you can’t know. None of us really can.
I remember once when I got off the phone with a good friend who works in the film industry. She occasionally rubs shoulders with some pretty big names, and always has a hilarious story to tell about how this big Hollywood star or that threw a hissy fit and stormed off the set. It happens so reliably that it’s comical. And the way she tells her stories are so engaging, so humorous, and so full of detail and life that it makes me want to run away and join the circus myself every time we talk. On this one particular occasion I remember hanging up the phone and realizing that my very idea of who I was faced a challenge because of this. I knew enough people in the film industry to get myself working; I taught acting, I’d worked with these people before in some capacity or another. Involving myself in that world was a distinct possibility if I wanted to.
And there’s the issue – we can all do anything we want. Any one of us can. There’s nothing different or special about any one of us that makes one life easier or more achievable than another. Whether we know it or not, the lives we’re living are our answer to the Question. The ones who succeed are ones who’ve asked the Question, and that’s all there is to it.
After that phone call, I knew that a few days would go by, and I’d find myself enjoying the life I already had. Flying my airplane, lying on the beach, tending to my little house in the country, writing a song. Connecting with people on the internet through sales of The Right Question.
Was that because I didn’t want to get into film? I don’t know. I remember it being fun, the times I did work with those people, but I also remember thinking that since I feel comfortable anywhere doing anything, it wasn’t really a pull to me one way or another.
It doesn’t matter what you want. What you get in life will be the result of asking the Question.
I remember when all the things I do now frightened me. I imagined myself getting my pilot’s license, but nothing could have prepared me for my first cross-country flight when I had passengers and the rain was coming down really hard. The first time I stepped out on a stage to sing a song I’d written myself. The first class I ever taught. All these things have a quality about them that completely changes once they become real. And the biggest thing about them that’s different is how we relate to those experiences based on who we actually are.
When we think about what we want in life, an excellent question to ask is this: Am I thinking about what I really want, or just what I think I want?
I’ve said in The Right Question that in regards to what you’ll actually achieve in life, what you want is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what you want. What you get in life will be the result of asking the Question. Everything else is in the category of “nice to have” or “maybe someday”. Wanting something is a fun mental exercise, and it can be an emotional exercise too if we get really good at projecting ourselves into that situation or that life and really feeling it, but the fact is that we’re only ever going to get what we discover and decide in advance by answering the Question.
Am I thinking about what I really want, or just what I think I want?
The point is this: Instead of thinking about what’s possible, realize that the answer is “Anything”. Instead of thinking about what you want, think about who you are. Ask The Right Question, and you’ll never go wrong.