Why You Need To Know Precisely What You Want in Life

“This is a fundamental irony of most people’s lives. They don’t quite know what they want to do with their lives. Yet they are very active.” -Ryan Holiday

Most people do not know what they want to do with their lives.

They might very busy. They might accomplish a lot in a day. But none of their actions align with an ideal destination they have set for their lives, and as a result, they wonder why stuff doesn’t work out, or when it does, why they’re not happy with it.

And the answer is this:

“Success is 20 steps in one direction instead of 1 step in 20 directions.” -Benjamin P. Hardy

You can be as busy as you like, you can fill your time with hundreds of tasks, but if your actions don’t clearly align with a higher purpose for your life you’ll never achieve anything that will fill you with immense joy.

Define Your Own Success

“What matters is that you come up with your own definition of success, and not live your life measuring up to someone else’s.” -Nicolas Cole

I cannot think of a better way to drive your success than to define it on your own terms.

For 19 years I lived with a definition of success that wasn’t my own. I thought it was the predetermined definition of having a corporate job, a big house, a nice car, a holiday home and on top of all that — a perfect family.

But recently I discovered I don’t care about any of that. I just want to live life on my own terms.

And this might sound crazy to some, but I would be perfectly happy spending my days waking up, going to the gym and then returning home to sit in my room to read and write all day.

And now that I know what I really want I just need to focus on the things that will get me that life, no more worrying about doing things to please everyone else’s perceived levels of success.

As goes a quote from podcaster and author, James Altucher,

“Approval from others doesn’t guarantee success or happiness. It guarantees nothing. Sometimes it guarantees that you’ll be miserable.”

Once you define your own success, you’ll save yourself from a lot misery. You’ll find that a lot of the things other people want don’t matter to you and you can hone in on achieving the life you want.

You’ll Make Decisions Quicker

“Studies have shown that the most successful people make decisions rapidly because they are clear on their values and what they really want for their lives. The same studies show that they are slow to change their decisions, if at all. On the other hand, people who fail usually make decisions slowly and change their minds quickly, always bouncing back and forth.” -Tony Robbins

It’s incredibly hard to know what opportunities to say “No” to and which ones to say “Yes” to when you don’t know what you want.

As a result, most people wind up saying “Yes” to the good-enough opportunities that take them nowhere.

Conversely, when you know what you want, you’ll be willing to pass up even fantastic opportunities because they are ultimately distractions from your vision.

In my own life, I recently got offered the treasury position for a sports club I’m a part of — fantastic opportunity, but my response was obvious because it didn’t align with my ideal life of being a great writer.

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins said,

“A ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ is irrelevant if it is the wrong opportunity.”

You’ll No Longer Take Advice From Just Anyone

“Once you know what you want, you can stop taking advice from just anyone. You can filter out the endless noise and hone in on your truth.” -Benjamin P. Hardy

I remember in my first year at university I went along to a talk given by a businessman who had accomplished a lot and made a lot of money. He was by all rights “successful.”

I loved everything he said, but the one thing I took away was this piece of advice:

“If you want to be successful, you’ve got to get used to having very little sleep.”

I took that advice and ran with it. The result? I ended up burning out and being miserable trying to operate on 5 hours of sleep.

Never again would I take such advice because when you know what you want you can stop taking advice from just anyone. You’ll know what’s important to you and you’ll know what advice will help get you to your desired destination.

Another brilliant quote comes to mind,

“Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.” -Darren Hardy

In Conclusion

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s only in actually knowing what you want that you’ll ever be able to achieve it.

And yet, most people are still convinced they’ll “figure it out on the fly.”

Don’t take that approach. Define your own success, work out what it is you want, have certainty in your decisions and stop taking advice from just anyone.

You are the designer of your destiny. What will you achieve?