Step Three: Determine What You Really Want
If you want to live an extraordinary life it is imperative that you explore and learn who you truly are. When you find this out, then, and only then will you know what you really want out of life. I call it discovering your authentic self.
Life will give you exactly what you want when you know what you want. You must be perfectly crystal clear about what you want. When you know this, the universe joins in chorus with you to give it to you.
In his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote about a secret that many successful people have discovered. People attract what they think about. In other words, we are like magnets, constantly attracting opportunities, people, and situations to us. To put it in the terms of an ancient principle: Like attracts like.
You attract and become what you hold in your mind both consciously and subconsciously.
As the first of his 17 Principles of Personal Achievement, Napoleon Hill says we have to be clear about what we want. Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.
Without a purpose and a plan, people drift aimlessly through life.
Stop focusing on and wasting your energy thinking about what you do not want and start thinking about what you do want! Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. It also says to guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23). What do you really believe? Look at your life and your beliefs will be staring you in your face.
People often do not have what they want, or do not get what they say with their mouths because they have counter-productive programs running deep within their hearts that broadcast the opposite intentions into the universe. The forces of your past feelings and beliefs put into motion the creative currents that orchestrate the circumstances of your life today. Feelings and thoughts of unworthiness, rejection, and unbelief must not be energized. Whatever has been energized in the past will ﬁnd ways to manifest in the present and future unless something is done to change what has been energized.
Even though you are speaking truth, truth has not convinced your heart that what you are saying you believe.
Just as we believed in our hearts for salvation, we must have this same belief in our hearts that God has a life of abundance available for us. When I say abundance, I am not necessarily speaking of money or material possessions. We must believe that God has a fulfilling life for us where we serve others, and also enjoy what we do while living in peace and purpose.
Select one of the following exercises which suits you best and begin the process of self-discovery that will drive you forward toward that life you seek.
Exercise 1: Write a letter to your younger self. Choose the age at which you were the most aspiring and had ambitious expectations of life. Explain to that young person how you have gotten to where you are at right now. Describe what has been motivating you and what has been discouraging you. Reveal the details of what you have done with the dreams and desires of that young you. Expound on where you are going now and where you see yourself ending up. How does it feel to that young and inspired you to hear what you are saying on paper now? After this exercise you should be able to say without a doubt what it is that you really want in life.
Tyler Perry, the movie star, film writer, and producer did this exercise and posted it on the internet for all to see. Perry began the letter by acknowledging that his childhood self was going through a tough time in life.
"I know you are having it really hard right now, and you spend a lot of time using your imagination seeing yourself running free in the park and running away from all the pain. In the reflection of your very sad eyes, I see the hurt of watching your mother be belittled and beaten," Perry wrote in the letter. "I see the pain of your own beatings and the insults that you suffer every day. I feel the horror of the hands of the molesters who are trying to rob you of who you are."
Still, Perry let it be known that his faith in God helped give him hope despite the tough times.
"As I search your young face for any sign of myself, believe it or not I'm able to smile. Because just behind all of that darkness I see hope," Perry wrote. "You've got some kind of faith in God little one. I know you don't know this right now but who you've become is being shaped inside of every one of those experiences."
While Perry spoke about the importance of making his mother proud, he also shed light on how God helped him overcome all of the obstacles in his life.
"People are dying all around you, you don't think you'll live to see 30 years old. But there's a still small voice inside of you saying you're going to be okay," Perry wrote. "Looking back on it I know now that that is and was the voice of God. That is the only way to explain how you knew how to navigate your way through turbulent times."
The film mogul ended the letter by revealing that he was proud of himself for all of his success and the ability to beat the odds in his life.
Exercise Two: The Happiest Day in Your Life. The following exercise is designed to activate the mindset of happiness. Get a pen and a piece of paper and describe all the details of what the happiest day in your life would look like. Where would it be? Whom would it be with? What would the circumstances be? What would your health conditions be? What would you be wearing, saying, and doing? Just let your imagination flow freely! Once you are done, you should have some breakthrough ideas about what you really want and what matters most to you in life.
Exercise Three: The Ten Essential Statements that Help You Discover Yourself. It is also highly desirable that you go through the simple questionnaire below and rate each statement on a scale from one to ten.
I am satisfied with myself.
I am happy with the way I look.
I am pleased with my relationships.
I am open to and accept constructive criticism.
I am positive and persistent when times get tough.
I am excited about the successes of other people.
I am fine asking for help or an advice.
I am open-minded and adaptable to change.
I am delighted to meet new people and make connections.
I am aware of myself and guided by my own goals, standards, and values.
How many statements got a ten from you? This exercise should have helped you discover what it is that you really want and need to work toward.
After completing one or more of these exercises you should now have a better understanding of who you are, your authentic self. You should also be better able to clearly identify what you really want out of life.
"Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks--we will also find our path of authentic service in the world." — Parker J. Palmer