You Already Have Everything That You Want

If you want something and do not have it, then one of the following statements is true:

(1) It is physically or psychologically impossible to achieve the thing you want. For instance, you might want to grow wings or become omniscient. Or, you might want to not be imprisoned, when confined to an unbreakable cell.

(2) You are doing everything in your power to achieve the thing you want, and you have not yet achieved it.

(3) You already, unknowingly, have the thing that you want.

(4) You do not want the thing that you think you want.

The word “want” is defined, by google, as a desire to possess or do something. By this definition, one is compelled to refer to degrees of wanting, or degrees of desire, to determine and/or help explain whether or not one will take action to make that want a reality. For instance, there is “kind-of” wanting something and wanting something “a lot.”

But I ask, if you “kind-of” want something, do you want it at all? My point is that it seems odd to say that one wants something for which one is not willing to work. Therefore, I want to define the word “want” as something closer to one of Marriam Webster’s definitions which is, “to be necessary or needed.” I say ‘closer’ to this definition because I think it is important to distinguish between a want and a need, but I do think that a want is closer to a need than it is to a simple desire.

Another thing that confuses the definition of the word want is how consequential or serious the want seems. For instance, one is compelled to say that a want to get your car washed is a lesser want than a want to quit smoking. But I believe that this is inconsequential. Yes, the thing that one wants can be of greater or lesser importance, but the want itself is not different because of a given activity.

Consider my definition for the word want to put these points into context. To want is to be willing to do what is in one’s power to achieve that desire. So, I can replace, “I [want] to wash my car,” with “I [am willing to do everything in my power] to wash my car.” If I am not willing to take action, do I want my car washed or do I just think that I want my car washed? I believe it is the latter and this point circles back to statement number four above. If I will not wash my car, I do better to say, “I think I want to wash my car, though I am not sure.”

Why does any of this matter? Because if my definition is accepted, then it seems that we always have what we want at all times. (This point corresponds to statement three at the top of this essay.) This is quite a reassuring thought to me. If I do not wash my car, that means that I do not want to wash my car. Otherwise, the word want would have some supernatural power to defy physics: “I want my car washed magically as I sit and watch TV.” That does not fly.

The moment I take action towards washing my car is the moment that I want to wash my car. The moment I take action to quit smoking is the moment that I want to quit smoking. Anything less than action falls short of a want, and you actually want to do nothing, or you want to do that which you are already doing. This is a spectacular thought to me. I always have what I want!

One major challenge to my definition will be that it does not take into account pain. How can one be in pain and have what they want? Briefly, I will say that if one is in pain, either they want to be in pain or they are trying to get out of pain. For some, the comfort of remaining in pain is more appealing than the prospect of change. But if one is trying to get out of pain, then they have what they want: they want to be trying to get out of pain.

The reason that my definition for the word want has become something important in my life is that it motivates me to take action for things and it comforts me when I am inactive. I believe that the only thing in the world that I want at this moment is to write this essay because it is the only thing that I am taking action to do. If I would have decided not to write, that would have been okay too because that would have been what I wanted as well.

Take solace in knowing that you always have what you want no matter what you are doing. Otherwise, you would do something else. If you do not have something that you want, you are either trying to achieve it and have not yet achieved it — in which case you want to be trying to achieve the thing that you want — or it is impossible to achieve.

If I accept that I always have what I want, I am more likely to be grateful for everything in my life and I am less likely to resort to self-pity and resentment for things I do not have. I choose to see my job as a server as a privilege rather than a chore. After all, I want to serve or I would do something else. I also want to be a writer. Therefore, I write.

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