The mouse’s neck was trapped. Under a spring-loaded bar. That’s when he looked up at me…
Wow… I could feel the anxiety in his eyes… He was uncomfortable but still breathing. I’m not sure if I was making this up or not, but I could have sworn I heard a tiny, dejected voice… saying:
“You can keep the cheese, sir. Just please let me out?”
(If you read the mouse’s quote in a British accent… extra points.)
Now — here’s what’s most weird about this. I imagine that mouse has been to an inspirational mouse-seminar at one point. That’s where he met a tiny mouse version of Tony Robbins, who made him scream (or squeak) that “he can do it” at the top of his lungs, and “he’s bigger than his mouse-limitations…”
And leaving that seminar, for the very first time in his short mouse life, he finally felt worthy of the success he always desired in his little mouse heart. That’s why he went home and taped a picture of his goal over his mirror. Staring at this photo of the cheese every day, the mouse chants the same mantra:
“You can do it. You’re a winner! You can do it. You’re a winner!”
And of course, he was right! The little mouse soon got what he wanted, but he never paused to consider what might come with it. Did he? This little mouse was focused on the cheese. He was super committed to achieving it. And even though focus and commitment are essential to success, over-focus and over-commitment are often called obsession. And addiction.
Neither of those typically leads to happiness. Like all of us, you are spending the minutes, hours, and days of your life in the pursuit of something you are buying. You’re spending something that is much more valuable than money.
You are buying it with your life.
Have you inspected what you’re going after? Are you chasing what you really want? Or is there a spring-loaded contraption attached to the cheese you desire?
Too many people today are focused on what they think they want without giving a thought to what they DON’T want that might come with it. It’s important to take seriously the question:
What Do You Really Want?
The truth is — what you really want is probably totally unique to YOU. In fact, it’s probably something nobody else could ever see themselves doing, having, or being. If you want money, fame, a great relationship — sure, those are all admirable goals. But when you get specific about it, what most people REALLY want in life almost always ends up sounding like a weird, quirky off-shoot of their personality.
Not something conventionally desirable. But if you want something that is too common to want, something everybody wants, then it usually means you haven’t thought about what you really want enough. Or, you haven’t experienced enough of what you think you want to realize it’s not for you.
Here’s The Test:
If your goal is SO common, it’s often used by advertisers and marketers to lure people to buy things in hordes, then your life’s goal lacks “YOU-ness”. And ya know what? That’s okay. In fact, it’s perfect…
You thought this article was going to be a cautionary tale telling you to avoid going for something you don’t want, but it’s the exact opposite. When you get to your goal, and realize ya didn’t want it at all…
It’s Glorious News…
Because what’s often the case — is this. If you’re stumped by figuring out what the dream is that’s specific to YOU, and the dream life you find yourself actually, genuinely wanting doesn’t pass the “advertiser” test — meaning you still want some cookie-cutter marketer’s definition of “happiness” — and you can’t think of anything else more fulfilling to desire for yourself…
Then you should 100% absolutely go for it — just to realize that you landed in a mousetrap once you got there. That’s the only way forward for you. I mean, I can tell you all day that you’ll land yourself in a mousetrap, and blah blah blah figure out what you really want, etcetera etcetera…
But frankly, that won’t make you stop wanting it. This is where you should NOT listen to those “Holier-Than-Thou” gurus who try to get you to avoid the mousetrap. Why? Because they’re only getting you stuck in your head. Usually, avoiding the mousetrap means being complacent. And that’s even worse.
Instead of doing anything, you’re sitting around pondering, trying to decide what you “really want out of life…” And I’m not exaggerating when I say YEARS and YEARS will pass you by.
Which Will NEVER
Get You ANYWHERE!
You’ll discover what you ACTUALLY want to do in life in a fraction of the time when you first just go get the shallow dream a marketer made you think you want, just so you can realize you didn’t want it at all. In other words - go get something you don’t want but think you do!
Because only after that can you start to piece together what you REALLY want. Not before. You shouldn’t be hated-upon for doing it this way, either. It’s a perfectly legitimate way to figure your life out. I’d estimate at least 70% of the time, this is how successful people end up living their lives. They didn’t plan to from the beginning, but most ended up that way.
What made them successful is they simply had the drive to keep searching. Even when they achieved the “cheese” they thought they wanted — but didn’t. And got their neck caught. So a lot of people will use the "mousetrap” to tell you shouldn’t want something.
Maybe everyone secretly knows you’ll have that “painful” realization once you get there. And it will all have been for nothing. Oh, the horror…
But It WASN’T For Nothing.
The only way you could figure out what you really wanted was to do the thing you thought you wanted but didn’t want FIRST. It was a necessary step you HAD to take. I bet there are even a few folks reading this right now who know there’s a very good chance they’ll get to their current life’s goal, and end up realizing they hate it. (Maybe you aren’t certain, but you know there’s a chance) still, you’re not there yet. So you desire it, don’t you?
It’s like a thirst. You have to quench it. You can’t be talked out of that kind of thing logically once you’ve committed to it. You’ll keep wanting what you want until you get it. And you should.
So if you don’t have any better ideas don’t let anyone talk you out of your cookie-cutter instagram-influencer fake dream. Just because you’ll hate it once you get there doesn’t mean you shouldn’t quench the thirst — so you can get in the right headspace to figure out something better. Often that’s the only way to figure out what will really make your heart sing.
Life’s a journey, not a destination. It’s highly possible you’re part of the large percentage of people who have to achieve one or more things they absolutely HATE, to discover their true passion in life later on.
Just remember it’s only wasted time if you settle for something less than your dream along the way.
So commit to the search. It’s worth it.