How do you get what you want?

Guest Post by Terry M. Drake

To be truly happy and appreciative of what you get out of life, then you need to know what you want.  Think about it, if you don’t know what you want then you are likely to get what you didn’t want or you won’t know if you get what you wanted, because you didn’t know what that was!  This is one of the reasons people think they know what they want and then aren’t happy when they get it.  You have heard the warnings, “Money isn’t everything”; “The grass is always greener on the other side”; “Happiness comes from within”; “Be careful what you wish for.”  These statements are true.  If you don’t know what you want then you are not going to be happy; you will always be looking for happiness and what you want.  In my private practice, when I ask people what they want, 99.99% of the time they respond with what they don’t want.  When someone comes in to become a non-smoker, the answer is always something like this, “Well, I don’t want to smoke and I don’t want to smell like smoke and I don’t want to….”  It doesn’t matter what they come to see me for, or if I have already explained how this concept works, they still tell me what they don’t want.

“I can teach anybody to get what they want out of life.  The problem is I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.”

– Mark Twain 1835-1910

Here’s how it works: regardless of your beliefs, you are attracted to what you think about and your brain doesn’t recognize the negatives.  The example I use with clients is; If I were to ask you not to think of a purple elephant, what do you think of?  This always gets a smile and a light bulb goes off.  The reason is they think of a purple elephant.  Your mind has to construct an image and think about it in order to not think about it.  It’s the same idea anytime you use words like not and don’t; in order to understand what you don’t want you construct a mental image of it.  This results in the image being held constantly in your subconscious awareness and means you are continually thinking about it.  Then you are drawn towards it and since you’re consciously telling yourself, no, no, it creates the internal battles you have as you try to change your life.

What you want must meet the following criteria:

  • Be positive
  • Be specific
  • Be in the present or future
  • Involves you taking action to make it happen
  • You must be certain you want it
  • You need to know how you’ll know when you get it

Thinking about what you want in a specific, present tense, positive manner will help you develop (in your mind) a plan of action for achieving it.  Knowing that you are certain it is what you want will allow you to put your plan into action.  Finally, knowing how you’ll know when you get it will ensure you get it and appreciate it.

It is very important to follow these easy, yet powerful guidelines (positive, specific, present, self-fulfilling, unequivocal, and knowing when you get it), as they will guide you on your journey.  Most importantly is the fact that it requires you to take action.  If you want something, then you need to go get it and not be dependent on others.  You can control your thoughts and actions, but you can’t control others thoughts and actions, so relying on them for you consistent happiness is going to be disappointing for you.

Don’t think of purple elephants, or in other words, thinking about what you want is the most important first step in creating the life you want.  The reason is that most of you think about what you don’t want and then act surprised when you get that.  The simple fact is that your mind formulates a plan to gain what you think about and then you automatically begin planning how to accomplish it.  If you are thinking of what you don’t want, then your mind subconsciously plans to accomplish this.  Since consciously you know you don’t want this negative outcome, you begin an internal battle with yourself and end up reinforcing your belief that you never get what you want.

Terry M. Drake is a Licensed Social Worker, National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Certified Trainer of Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP.  He has spent the last 15 years learning about himself and others, through his academic studies resulting in his MSW and his professional studies, as a family therapist, clinical supervisor and vast training and research into hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, the law of attraction and positive psychology.  Terry is currently a Director of mental and behavioral health programs, as well as  a Life Coach and  Hypnotherapist in private practice.  He has begun to put his skills to use as an author, speaker, consultant and coach. Terry lives in Wellsboro, Pa with his wife and children.

You can learn more about the power of your mind and how to be happy and successful in everything you do, by visiting and buying his new book, Live Happily, Ever After… Now! 9 Simple Steps to create the life YOU want!


Posted on June 24, 2010, in Featured Authors, Health and Body, How To, Personal Growth. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

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