Everyone (including me) has a longer list of wants than of needs. My needs are pretty basic. I need my family and friends, I need to pay my mortgage and feed everyone, and I need to save a certain amount of money every year so that later when I have no income, I can afford to retire.
Shelter, love, friendship and financial security, these are my needs. Honestly, after those things I don’t need anything.
My list of wants is outrageously long and likely yours is too. I want to travel the world, drive a Porsche, and buy front row center seats for the concerts I’d like to see. I’d like to ski in Japan (powder) and host a TV show. Given enough time, I could fill pages and pages with wants.
I could live the rest of my life without visiting Japan or buying an expensive car. I could sell my cottage, which I love, and get over it. But I couldn’t live on the street or in a shabby house or in a neighborhood that doesn’t inspire me. I couldn’t go hungry, and I wouldn’t sleep if I didn’t have investments. My needs are non-negotiable.
Our needs are essential. Failure to meet our needs is unacceptable to all of us.
We manage to get our needs met and when wants become needs, they happen.
By raising our standards, we raise our basic expectations of what we need. We do this by asking better questions, beginning with what do I need to accomplish to improve my life, to make me feel more secure, more loved, more connected. Our needs are always met, so we need to raise our expectations of what we need.
Needs have a purpose, my wants don’t. My wants would be nice. My needs are essential.
Serious shift …
Raise your standards. Everyone gets their needs met. Not everyone gets their wants, so you have to (seriously) shift your wants to your needs. Wants have no purpose; they’d be nice, but they are not essential.
You have to decide what is essential. Once your wants become a need, like quitting smoking, they become non-negotiable. Our needs become who we are. Our needs are our identity.
People always follow through on who they believe they are.
So the question you have to ask yourself is, “When did I tell myself that this is what I am?” I have a friend named Jeff who told me he wanted to quit smoking. He smokes like it’s 1970. “I have to quit smoking because I’m disgusting” is what he said. Then he said the next part, “But I’m a smoker.”
If you believe you are a smoker and disgusting, then you are a disgusting smoker.
Can you relate with this?
Tom Frisby, the secret power here at DMWSC, the Mark Messier to my Wayne Gretzky and the best partner I could ever ask for, figured this out about people years ago. He told me that when someone asks me for help, I should ask a very simple but powerful question.
“How serious are you?”
Tom says that if the person answers anything other than “completely serious” that I should just listen, and let them talk and wish them the best of luck. Unless they say “completely serious,” they are just talking. They are not ready for the serious shift to real, meaningful and lasting change.
What Tom knows (and what I know and I bet you know too if you consider it) is that the strongest force inside of us is this need to be consistent with who we define ourselves as being. Unless you are serious about change, then you are still identifying with your old self, and not the new self you want to be.
How long ago did you decide what you could and couldn’t do? How long ago did you determine who and what you are?
When you raise your personal standards, when you shift your wants to needs, you will make them happen because you have purpose and identity motivating you.
Don’t saddle yourself with limitations.
You can’t be happy when you are not being yourself. We live, we actualize, who we believe we are.
Consider your body. Your physique is a reflection of your actions. Not your goals. Not your desires. Not your wants, but your actions.
When you know who you are, when you raise your standards, you know what you have to do to keep yourself there.
You don’t get a result without action, without ritual. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.”
Rituals: the things we do over and over because they have meaning, because they inform us and keep us true to ourselves.
Rituals are needs. People draw strength from them. People who pray, who practice their faith, who go to yoga or the gym or who draw strength from their family, don’t see their actions as actions, as things they do. They see them as things they are.
Raise your standards. You’ll be happier. Tell yourself who you are.
[Just a reminder that our blogs will now be posted Monday, Wednesday and Friday.]