Getting What You Want Out Of Life Starts With Focusing On What You Don't Want

by Paul Hudson

How do you measure the worth of a person's life? If we accept the differentiation of good and bad, then we have no choice but to acknowledge that there are better and worse ways to live life. The real question is how to distinguish between a fulfilling life and a disappointing one.

If to do good is to succeed in achieving one’s purpose -- one’s reason for being --, then to live a life poorly is to fail at fulfilling one’s purpose. A toaster makes toast. A coffee machine brews coffee. If either fails to do what it is intended, we label it as broken. If you don’t achieve your life’s purpose, then you should be similarly labeled.

The trick is understanding what your purpose is in life and figuring out when exactly you start to break down, as we all do at some point in our lives. We, humans, have a much more difficult time in life than, say, machines because we were not born with a purpose.

In actuality, however, we are born into this world with an innate purpose. We just aren’t able to see it as clearly or sometimes have trouble accepting it.

If we continue to believe in this differentiation between good and bad, and hold the belief that good always trumps bad, it’s safe to say that our purpose in life is to do good and avoid doing bad.

Of course, labeling things as good and bad comes with its difficulties. A lot of what we label as good or bad is subjective. However, as being a part of a larger species, as well as part of a planet and universe from which we spawned, we can say that whatever enables us to continue living and the universe to continue existing, is good; therefore, it is our purpose.

We exist for the sake of existing. What meaning we find in life is more subjective than anything else; we create our own personal legends. In other words, what you choose to do with your life is entirely up to you.

As long as you obey the laws of nature and accept that your true purpose is to live and ensure the continuity of life itself, you can do and be anything you wish. Whatever tickles your pickle is up for grabs.

All you need to do to fulfill your purpose is to maximize the good you do, the positive you put out into the world, while simultaneously minimizing the bad. The rest, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t matter.

However, on a personal level, it matters greatly. We have a consciousness -- a rather complex and intricate one, at that. We feel; we hope; we wish; we dream. We want and desire. Figuring out what exactly it is we most desire is one of the most difficult aspects of life.

In a world that has so much to offer, we find ourselves at a metaphorical buffet and don’t know at which end to begin. While no one person can have it all, you can have a whole lot of a few good things.

The experiences you choose to garner are entirely up to you. Determining what you want out of life is difficult. As human beings, we want a bit of everything. We don’t like the idea of missing out.

The unfortunate truth is that your entire life is nothing more than a series of tradeoffs; you will always be missing out on something. Therefore, you shouldn’t bother on focusing on any of that which you miss, but only on that which you attained and can attain.

Even figuring out where to begin, and what to work towards, is difficult, as the options are vast. So, how ought we approach the problem? How do we best design a life worth living and, more importantly, a life that we will love living?

Because we want so much as people, I believe the best way to approach the question at hand is from a negative point of view. When we start to think about all that we want, it can be overwhelming. Instead, think about and focus on all that you don’t want, all that you want to avoid, and life becomes much simpler.

Figuring out what you want out of life is almost like a trick question; we want the very best, yet the very best isn’t always an option. When we hone in on that which we wish most for in this life, we are focusing on dreams and hopes that may not even be possible.

Not everyone will be a billionaire. Not everyone will be a model, doctor, actor or bodybuilder. Not everyone will have a support system of family and friends. The truth is, not everything you want is possible for you to have -- you need to accept this as soon as possible.

Some things will forever be out of your reach -- even if they seem to be within reach, reality will often prove otherwise. Discovering what is possible for us to attain, achieve or experience isn’t an easy feat, as it does not yet exist.

In essence, we are doing our best to predict the future. We are focusing on that which doesn’t and may never exist. Why not, instead, make our lives easier and focus on cleansing ourselves of that which we don’t want, all the excess garbage we are holding on to that adds little to no value to our lives?

If you focus all of your energy on bringing desirables into your life, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t dream and subsequently go after your dreams, but by changing your mindset, you will make your life easier.

We focus too much on adding to our lives and too little on designing and fine-tuning what we have to work with. It’s not about having more; it’s about having exactly the right amount. From my experience, the more you focus on removing the bad from your life, the more good will flow into it.

Think of your life as a cup: Only so much water can fill it. You have to remove the tainted water before you can fill it with clean water. If you pour clean water into a cup, it will dilute what is presently there, and it will consequently become tainted itself.

If we focus on removing all the bad, the good has room to flourish and survive. It’s a much easier way to love your life. The good we wish for has yet to make it into or lives. It does not yet exist. It isn’t tangible.

All the negative we have managed to collect over the course of our lives, however, is present. You must focus on what exists before you move on to what you have yet to experience. It’s just easier that way. Life is hard enough as it is; don’t make it more difficult.

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