Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Last post - I did what I wanted this month.

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispostions, and not upon our circumstances.
Martha Washington

Well, there you go. One month of blogging on the theme WANT. In fact, I made sure to pick the shortest month of the year to increase my chances of success a tad bit. Yes, I even checked to see if it was a leap year, so as to make absolutely sure that no one slipped in that extra 24 hours which only benefit women searching for husbands, calendar makers and hourly employees. Instead of writing 30 posts or an exhausting 31, a mere 28 postings were produced. Now, I of course "wanted" to do this project, but being naturally lazy, I wasn't going to be an over-achiever and inundated everyone with 31 pieces of useless trivia and minutia! No, no, not me! A piddling 28 would do just fine. And I am sure no one even missed the other three.

The month started out normal for this introverted, analytical, computer geek. That's right, I made a list of all the topics I would write about throughout February. But once again, my lazy nature reared its sleepy eyed head and limited the list to only 26. What would I do for those last 2 days? I really wanted to complete all 28. Then it came to me, I could do a summary last post. Perfect, I had 27 now. What was I to do? I needed, I wanted, 28 on the list so that each day would be on auto-pilot. See the title, be the title, write the title's post. Alas, it was not to be. One of this past month's posts was done without planning, without forethought, without a Google search.

Can you tell which one it was?

No, it wasn't this last one. Pay attention, I just told you that already!

Enough of that, back to the post. This month was truly an experience. It gave me a fresh look at what I want, how I view the world and relationships and of course what I want next.

If we stop wanting altogether, we would never achieve anything.

True. But what the Buddha says is that when our desires, our craving, our constant discontent with what we have and our continual longing for more and more does cause us suffering,then we should stop doing it. He asks us to make a difference between what we need and what we want and to strive for our needs and modify our wants. He tells us that our needs can be fulfilled but that our wants are endless - a bottomless pit. There are needs that are essential, fundamental and can be obtained and this we should work towards. Desires beyond this should be gradually lessened. After all, what is the purpose of life? To get or be content and happy.

I keep coming back to the post on "to have more, want less". There exists a conflict with that statement. Why isn't it "to have more, want more"? The conflict is easily resolved by the rationalization of "by always wanting more, you will never be satisfied with what you have". Hmmm, then why isn't the phrase "to get more, want what you have"? This would take care of the issue of lack of motivation. If you "want less", then wouldn't you be satisfied with less then you have and therefore never strive. Here is where this want themed month came into play.

In February, I did what I wanted to do.
In February, I was content with what I was doing.
In February, I did less than any other month.
In February, I did not want to do more.
In February, I was happy.

This may be one of those moments when my brain bends around a corner just a bit differently than everyone else's brain, but in February:
I did exactly what I wanted.
I wanted less than in any other month.
I feel I got more than any other time.
Therefore by wanting less, I got so much more.

Perhaps, it is a simple life to be satisfied with what you have and enjoy the moment. It doesn't means that you don't strive.

Do strive.
Do dream.
Set goals.
Challenge yourself.
Have desires.
Have passion.

Remember to be in the moment.
Revel in what you have.
You have so much!

This is what I gained by writing this month. That's a ton!

Thank you NaBloPoMo.

P.S. Have you really noticed how often we use WANT and its other forms?

Here is a list of all my posts for February's WANT theme.

  1. My favorite month of the year!
  2. To get more, want less
  3. Want versus need
  4. Want versus should
  5. Do you really know what you want?
  6. Do you really know what others want?
  7. The perspective of want
  8. The guilt of want
  9. The judgement of want
  10. An adult's view on want
  11. A child's view on want
  12. The definition of want.
  13. Must we resolve conflicting wants?
  14. The phrases of want
  15. Desire, need, passion and want
  16. The relative nature of want
  17. TED - Talks Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, fulfillment and flow
  18. Want and Now
  19. Does want change history?
  20. Be careful what you wish for, you may not get exactly what you wanted.
  21. Do the people of the world have the same wants?
  22. How should others react when you ask for what you want?
  23. Obama's addres to Congress
  24. Why haven't I asked for anything I want?
  25. Want what you have
  26. Asking for What you want
  27. How can we have what we want?

Friday, February 27, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: So you have everything you want, now what?

It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy. Lucille Balll

I have now rambled on across these last 26 days. Some days I missed posting, some days I missed the point, but always I did what I wanted to do.

Let's say for argument sake that you have everything you want. Now what?

Did you find yourself? Are you now happy or at least happier?

Some interesting "wanting" quotes -

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to” John Ed Pearce

“Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get” Ingrid Bergman (Swedish born American film and stage Actress, 1915-1982)

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are” Kurt Cobain (American Musician and Singer of the grunge rock band Nirvana. 1967-1994)

“I do not read advertisements - I would spend all my time wanting things” Franz Kafka (German Writer of visionary fiction, 1883-1924)
“It's weak and despicable to go on wanting things and not trying to get them” Joanna Field (English psychologist, b.1900)

“Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is” Vince Lombardi (American Football Coach, national symbol of single-minded determination to win.1913-1970)

Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.” Les Brown (American Author, Entrepreneur and motivational speaker)

“We may think there is willpower involved, but more likely… change is due to want power. Wanting the new addiction more than the old one. Wanting the new me in preference to the person I am now.” George Sheehan (American physician, author and running enthusiast, 1918 - 1993)

“When you can't have what you want, it's time to start wanting what you have.” Kathleen A. Sutton

So you have everything you want. Now what?

Retire! Go to some tropical island, sip fruit laden drinks, soak up the sun, be pampered and enjoy not wanting.
You know what? I listened to that sentence over and over. Everything was fine up until "not wanting".
If it read Go to some tropical island, sip fruit laden drinks, soak up the sun, be pampered and enjoy, all was good. By adding just the "not wanting", it really made me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it's just me. Perhaps I haven't dealt with ALL my insecurities or issues, but that "not wanting" just felt wrong.

I think that not wanting more things may be okay, but not wanting at all is not living.

I have been told that the definition of love in Buddhism is wanting others to be happy. I don't know if that is a fact.

Yet that seems to square okay with the Second Noble Truth?
The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We will suffer if we expect other people to conform to our expectation, if we want others to like us, if we do not get something we want,etc. In other words, getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness. A lifetime of wanting and craving and especially the craving to continue to exist, creates a powerful energy which causes the individual to be born. So craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn.

Perhaps that is what is next on that tropical isle, with drink in hand.


And a little pampering!?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: How can we have what we want?

It seems like the "want" flows around the same point over and over again. That point is we want some things, we strive to get these yet we always appear to want more.

Are we never satisfied with what we have?
Absolutely correct!
We are never satisfied.
We always want more.

As I mentioned before, wanting and having are both states of mind.
If you think you want more, then you do.
If you think you have everything, then you do.

How bizarre! How bizarre!

I know for a fact that I do not have the answer for everyone to: How can we have what we want?

For me, I have what I want. As I get more each day, I am amazed. Of course, others who see what I have would go, "he doesn't want much".
They would think:
My car wasn't the coolest.
My house wasn't the largest.
My job wasn't the highest paying.
My bank account wasn't big enough.

But I am fine with all of these.

Bottom line:
Decide on what you want.
Ask for what you want.
When you get what you asked for, enjoy it.
Then, look to the future for what you want next.
Rinse and repeat.

What more could you have? What more could you ask for?

Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires.

Lao Tzu

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Asking for what you want

Someone, alone, cannot always get what they want. Sometimes the want exceeds their capability. A quick example is the want of a new car. Without help you basically can't create a car on your own. You need the auto industry to build it, the car dealers to deliver it and in many cases a bank or credit union to assist with money.

In this example, things are fairly obvious, you must ask others for what you want. No one questions the why and how of these requests. Now, when it comes to other wants the way to ask for them is not so obvious. The who to ask isn't always apparent. In some cases the asking someone is actually kind of scary. As to the how, well that gets even more dicey. In certain situations it isn't "good form" to ask for what you want.

Let's look at at couple of examples. First, you want a raise for the work you are doing. If you work for a specific boss you probably know "who" to ask, but not always "how". In some places, asking for a raise is not acceptable. Each of us who have worked for others have experienced some form of the who and how dilemmas.

Another example is when you are in a relationship and you want something from the relationship or would like to change a perceived issue with the relationship. Once again, the who may seem reasonably obvious, but maybe not. The other person in the relationship might be who you would ask or maybe some intermediary is needed. Not always apparent, depending on the issue. The bigger item is the how. This is a delicate balance of timing, sensitivity, understanding and maturity.

For me, I can't say with any certainty that I know the best way to handle any of these requests for wants. All I know is that if you never buy a lottery ticket, the odds of winning are much, much lower. I believe this holds true for most wants as well, if you don't ask for what you want, your chances of getting it are much, much lower.

Guess I really didn't help much with this post. As the month rolls on, I am finding far more questions than answers. Good luck.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

After seeing Obama's address to Congress...

I didn't know the words that Obama was talking about when he mentioned the inscription over the House of Representatives, so I looked it up. They are:

Let us developed the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests and see whether we also in our day and generation may not perform something worthy to be remembered.
—Daniel Webster

If only we and they would have recalled these words over the past decade, perhaps our current catastrophe could have avoided. At the least, it might have inspired the honest ones.

February 2009 - WANT: Want what you have.

This may be a lot like the "get more, want less" post, but not exactly. In the United States we have tended to have a wide range of choices of "things". As the economy goes into the toilet, the choices are becoming less. Not a whole lot less, just a little less.

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you had what you wanted and just decided that was it? That you simply have what you have and stopped wanting more.

I don't know that this would be a good thing. Or, maybe not. Maybe you could focus on relationships or health or helping others. Perhaps it isn't all so black and white. People who have wanted things, have in some instances become the biggest philanthropists. Does this mean that if you have more, you are willing to share more.
Some times you see people with hardly anything giving to those in need. Maybe it isn't what you have that lets you share. Maybe it is who you are.

Hey, maybe that's it. Maybe it doesn't matter how much you have,but rather who you are. Maybe having is actually being.
What if, wanting more is fine?
What if, wanting nothing is fine?
What if, what you have is fine?
What if, just being is having it all?

Could it be that wanting is a state of mind?
Could it be that having is a state of mind?

Is being happy just a state of mind?

So may questions. Wish I had all the answers. But there I go, wanting again!

Monday, February 23, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Why haven't I asked for anything I want?

Today is the 23rd day of the NaBLoPoMo February "WANT" blogging month. As of yet, I haven't mentioned anything I really want. So here goes.

Rich's Wants, in no particular order.

  • Enough money so that I don't have to worry about my next meal.
  • Enough work that is as much fun as a hobby and still makes money (see above).
  • Some creativity so that I can paint, write and build the things I love.
  • My love by my side, forever.
  • To stay healthy enough as I get older to truly enjoy getting older.
  • Wisdom to understand, clarity to know and empathy to share.
  • Learn something new everyday.
  • Teach someone something new everyday.
  • Everyone to be always honest, even when no one is watching.
  • Be able to love and be loved by just one special someone.

Hopefully, this doesn't sound greedy. I hate greedy.
Just FYI.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: How should others react when you ask for what you want?

How should others react when you ask for what you want?

To some this will seem like such an odd question.
To some asking for what you want is a normal part of life.
To others it is scary or maybe even unforgivable to ask for what you want.

Can you imagine that?

I used to fall in the latter category. It wasn't until I defeated the guilt monster that clarity about asking for what you want came into being. I say it that way, because that is how it felt. You know, when people say why can't you just be this way or that, you don't understand because this way or that simply does not exist for you.

Is it because you don't understand the concept? Oh no. That concept just does not exist. My partner says it as if this "thing" exists in another universe and we have no view of it at the present time.

Back to the point. How should others react when you ask for what you want?
What do you care? Well, there are lots of reasons. Perhaps the healthy ones are:
When you ask for what you want, you may be asking for help in getting it.
When you ask for what you want, you may be requesting them to get it for you.
When you ask for what you want, you are saying you are not alone.
When you ask for what you want, you have left guilt behind.

What if every time you asked for something you wanted you got:
That's too extravagant!
Do you really need that?
That's just stupid!
Why would you want that?
How selfish!
That's just silly, how foolish!

I would bet that after a short while you wouldn't be asking for what you want anymore.

The true purpose of guilt is to temper our ability or desire to do evil. It really should not be applied to our wants. Granted we need to temper our wants as well, but perhaps there are other traits that should handle this instead of guilt. Perhaps empathy, sharing, contributing to society and the like are what keep us from becoming the thieves who could exist everywhere.

The perfect situation would be that you can ask for what you want and those around you listen. Maybe they respond with "Do you need our help with that?" or "How wonderful!" or even "I always wanted that too!" Yep, that might just be the perfect world, where everyone looks at everyone with trust, respect and compassion. And those are returned with no betrayal.

Until then, try just wanting without guilt, it works wonders!

Consider it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Do the people of the world have the same wants?

According to the lyrics of the Scissor Sisters song "Everybody wants the same thing", they do!

The key is:
Love is what I want
Love is what I give

The lyrics

Could it be this simple? Note that I didn't say "easy". Because, love is never easy.


Friday, February 20, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Be careful what you wish for, you may not get exactly what you wanted.

Thinking about today's post, the story called "The Monkey's Paw" came to mind for some reason. It is a short story by W. W. Jacobs, published in 1902. The basic premise is that the holder of the monkey's paw gets to make wishes that do come true. However, the wishes were granted with consequences. In the story, a man wishes for money. He receives the money but it arrives because of the accidental death of his son. The couple then decides to wish for the son back. He of course comes back, but still mutilated from the accident. As a final wish, the man wishes to have the knocking at his door stop. The knocking was from his mutilated son and his wish is granted.

The moral of the story, as put forth in Wikipedia is contained in this description of the paw:
"It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow".

Naturally, there is no Monkey Paw, so this fate is merely a story. However, it would appear that many who wished for wealth did so at the peril of others. The Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Bernard Madoff comes to mind.

I have a belief in the quantum pool concept. Which in my head goes like this. Each of us has the ability to change our reality instantly. For example, I have something I call parking karma. Some days the parking karma is stronger than others, but always it results in the following. I pull into a parking lot and it appears full. Usually I am advised by a passenger to simply find the next available spot and park. My response is normally, no, I think there will be a open space near where we want to enter the building. Unscientifically, I have recorded about a 95% positive result in these situations. This is due to the fact that no matter what the current situation, my control over the quantum pool "makes" the open spot exist. I don't visualize any adverse consequences for myself nor others, so there isn't any. But one might imagine that the cause for the opening was that the car to be parked there became disabled in some way so as not to arrive to fill the spot.

Crazy? Of course it is! No one can do this! But it happens on a regular basis and for more things then just parking spots. Don't know why. Don't know how? I don't question it either. It just is.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone understood how to do this AND more importantly, could do this without adversely affecting anyone else? We could all have what we wanted.

Here's where it gets messy. Not that any of this has any basis in reality. What happens if two individuals want conflicting things. How would the quantum pool allow this to exist? Would this be the matter-antimatter situation that no one ever wants to see occur? Of course not, remember this isn't real. It is just my imagination.

Could this be the time when they each get what they want, BUT, both must live with the consequences. Could be. This might be "the monkey's paw syndrome".

Well, headed back to get some more cold medicine. That last bunch really did the trick. What was I talking about? Oh well, what the heck, I need to go write my post for February's WANT blog... maybe after some more meds and a nap.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Does want change history?

In fact, "want" may be the only thing that does change history!

Women wanted the right to vote.
Gandhi wanted civil rights for people.
Colonial Americans wanted independence from Britain.
US civil rights leaders wanted equality for their people.

Leaders across the ages have wanted to rule the entire world.
Others wanted to cleanse the earth of those they thought inferior.

All these and many more wants, both good and evil, have changed history.

Some people may say that civil rights are not wants, but rather basic needs.
I would agree. But I would also propose, in a world where so many still to not have those needs fulfilled, it is the people who turn those issues into a wants that make things to happen.

In the 2008 United States presidential election, a collective want was moved to the forefront. The want for change was great enough that history was made.

I tried to think of other history making moments to determine if all of them were generated in some way by "want". I could not find one case where want wasn't involved.

So, from my small unscientific study, I must say that all human history happens because of WANT.

What do you think?


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Want and Now

You some times hear the phrase "live in the now". Does that go for "wants" as well?
Not everyone has an immediate need to get they want right NOW. However, from the people I have met, it would appear that most do.

The American (the United States) culture promotes the "have it now" concept with quick credit, get it now, pay later. This seems to have brought us all to this particular point in a global economic meltdown. It of course was not solely brought on by the "want it now" desire, but it would appear that this desire was the spark that was later fed by fuels of greed, dishonesty, lack of trustworthiness and the lack caring for what would happen next.

I recently posted a TED Talk by Barry Schwartz, where he talks about the real crisis.

Does this mean that wanting things NOW is bad? Probably not. As with most things, there are extremes. The old story of having a power and using it for good rather than evil. What is bad is divorcing ourselves of the wisdom we all hold, but some times ignore for the gains of now.

Amazing things happen when we want, but only when tempered with the knowledge of what is right.

History has been changed because of wanting now.
Lives have been saved because of wanting now.
Good has prevail over evil because of wanting now.

Wanting now is not evil, but how it is achieved can be.

Today is a dark day. Story after story arises in the news about greed, fraud, corruption and crime. People are losing their confidence not in the economy, the market nor their abilities, but rather they are losing their confidence in each other.

Much of this seems to have been brought on by the greed fueled want it now mentality.

Hopefully, we can once again trust each other. Perhaps then confidence will return.

We need to "want" to repair this. If we want it now, we can do anything.

Monday, February 16, 2009

TED - Talks Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, fulfillment and flow

I had not heard of Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi before writing here on NaBloPoMo. After receiving a comment on one of my WANT posts regarding his "Flow Theory". Now his October 2008 TED Talk pops up. Surprised? No, it s just the quantum pool taking its turn.

In this TED talk, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow."

Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi's TED bio


Sunday, February 15, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: The relative nature of want

In normal times we all have wants. Usually many wants.
Recently I was reminded of a situation where my wants were reduced down to one and only one want.

How could that be? Aren't our wants many and varied? Well, that depends on the situation. It's all relative.

Awhile back I got sick. Really, really sick. Whenever I would open my eyes the room would spin and in short order I felt nausea. A really, really lot of nausea. It got so bad I thought I wouldn't be able to breath. At some point in this experience my wants were clear and focused. I wanted only one thing and one thing only. The room to stop spinning. I did not care about anything else. Literally, for me at that moment nothing else mattered. The room just had to stop spinning!

Eventually, this passed. Things were once again back to normal and I was looking at my wish list adding even more "things". Ah, everything was right with the world.

That, I believe, is the relativeness of want.

I can't say what others feel or want for sure, but have tried to imagine what others want. Let's say a terminally ill patient. They of course go through many stages according to the psychology books, but I would imagine at some relative point in time they have a single-minded want. A want that supersedes all other wants. Never experiencing that situation, I can only imagine. For each, that want is most likely different or maybe not. I don't know.

When flight 1549 "landed" in the Hudson River, how many people on board had one and only one want? Bet they didn't all have the same want. Maybe, I don't know.

People in war torn areas awaiting the next bomb or rocket to explode. Or starving people in conflict torn African nations wanting food or to not be the next causality. Are they wanting something else as well? Do they have a list? I imagine not, but I don't know for sure.

Here's an exercise for the reader. Think back. Was there ever a time when you wanted one thing. Only one thing. And that one thing superseded all other wants. Hopefully, you have never experienced an adverse event that makes your wants so single minded. Or perhaps you have been so clear, so positive that you had only one single want. For the first situation, I sympathize. For the second, I congratulate you on your clarity.

The point is that wants are relative.

Every time I want something now, It think back. Weighing the current want or list of wants against my wants of the past. Some times I decide that this want isn't all that important. Other times I decide that this want is not only important but essential. And still other times, the want falls somewhere in the middle.

I guess what I am saying is that want is relative.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Desire, need, passion and want

Desire, need, passion and want.
Are all of these related?
Does one influence the others?
Can they all be rolled up under one common concept?

I certainly wish I had all the answers.

The 3 tenets I use as a base are trust, passion and caring.
So why isn't want in there? Good question.

I propose that living life based on these three ends up providing one with what they desire, need and want. Passion is already included.

Back in July 2008, zen habits asked the question

What are your top 3 life goals?

It was amazing what people responded. The word "want" shows up a number of times, as well as desire, need and passion. Perhaps we all have a common thread on this one. Perhaps each of these DOES effect the others.

I think that all of these can be rolled up under the concept, of having our time here have "meaning". If these are not part of us, then we are simply "here". We are not participating. Participation is an essential of getting what we want and giving what we have meaning.

Whoa! Sorry about jumping into the deep end. Back to "he who dies with the most toys wins."

I wonder how many others have life goals or tenets upon which their time here is based?

Isn't wonder a wonderful thing?


P.S. Happy Valentines Day to all of you who celebrate it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: The phrases of want

Have you ever listened to all the times WANT comes up in a conversation?
Have you noticed that people use NEED and WANT interchangeable?
Here are some basic phrases I hear:
want list
all I want for Christmas
I want to break free
I want you
I want it all and I want it now
I want you to want me
for want of a nail the shoe was lost
what women want
what men want
I want to be alone
you can't always get what you want
he who dies with the most toys wins
you can't take it with you
when you wish upon a star
blow out your candles and make a wish
can I have a drink of water
wouldn't this look great on me

Feel free to share your phrases.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Must we resolve conflicting wants?

What if our wants conflict with each other?
For example, I want to eat the birthday cake, but I also want to stick to my diet plan.

What if our wants conflict with someone else's wants?
For example, I want to watch a loud action movie with my honey, but she wants to have us go some place quiet and talk.

Must we resolve these conflicts?
Can we have it both ways?
Are wants so important that they should not be compromised?

One of the curious things that we recently learned is that for the most part each of us gets to make the rules we live by. In addition, these rules aren't fixed in stone.

Part of the issues that we are currently experiencing in the world were the result of people sticking to rules that had become outdated, were incorrect to start with or the situation changed and now calls for new rules.

Back to the point of must we resolve conflicting wants.
The answer is a resounding some times.
If your want hurts someone else, you may wish to review it.
If your want would harm you or someone either now or in the future, you also may wish to review it.
Also, some times want and now are thought of as synonymous. They aren't. Wanting and getting may occur at vastly different timings.

So looking back at the examples from above, it may be as simple as compromise.
Compromising about the when, where, how, who or what may have the effect of resolving any conflicts. If not, perhaps a new rule needs to be formed. If that's not it, then perhaps the reasons behind the want or the reasons behind the conflict are the most important things to review.

Remember, as much as we want everything to be black and white, shades of gray are the norm. If everything is only yes or no; black or white; I want or you want; I get or you get, then more conflicts arise. Many talk about win-win situations. Those aren't always possible.

As my partner sometimes says, pick your battles. Is this issue big enough that you are willing to die on this particular sword? If so, then go for it. If not, try to see the whole thing from the other's point of view. Stories talk of the willow that bends with the winds to remain standing, while a mighty tree that stands firmly upright is snapped, ending its existence.

After 10+ years with my partner, she and I have found that even our conflicts have threads of commonality. Once we have discovered what is common, the conflicts lessen and in most cases we both get what we want. The more times the common threads are discovered, the less conflicts exist. Another view on this is when you don't always put self before others. Conflict of wants tend to disappear when you are thinking of the others wants, then your own.

Enough rambling. Hopefully, I said something worth reading. If not, forgive me. If so, enjoy!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: The definition of want.

Today's post will be short. My time has been involved with my daughter's birthday.
Birthdays are extremely important to me. The importance must be due to the times when I was a child and birthdays, holidays and general celebrations didn't always come off as well as I wanted.

Based on those times, I now always want all celebration to be enjoyable.

In that vein, here is what the general definitions look like.




Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: A child's view on want

Really it has been a every long, long, long time since I was a child. So, this post is based on those shadowy memories from long ago. As a child, I recall, my wants were few when compared with today. I also recall that though few their importance was extreme. Again, as with an adult, a child has many layers which build with time.

At first, the only thing you want is well being. I course a child translates that into "mom". Later as the world expands, things become important, very important.
The thing that moves over the crib.
The thing that is furry and wanders by.
The warm bottle.
The fresh, clean diaper.

These basic things in fact the whole world.

Still later, there are wants beyond this close-in group. Balloons, rides, play, and hugs. Again, these are extremely important.

As adults we some times take for granted how important these basics are to children.

Still later, a child's connections with the outside world become important. Walking, talking and understanding become the primary wants. Again, their importance to us as small, young children is extreme. When we fall down in our walking practice it feels catastrophic. When we can't make the right sounds or understand others these frustrate us to tears. Adults look on this as minor. To adults these are minor, but to children they are the world, the whole world at that moment.

Perhaps this is where we as children learn the different level of importance. Perhaps this is how we learn to view obstacles as bumps, hills, mountains, cliffs, potholes or pokes.

What a child wants is simple in adult terms.
What a child wants is everything in their view.

Ah, to be back as a child with those simple wants and still have the abilities of an adult. Just for a few moments. Basking in the warmth of learning new words, understanding new ideas and getting so excited when a snowflake touches down on our cheek, we would be lost in the moment. All the other adult things are set aside. Importance of the moment becomes paramount.

That's all a child wants, just everything they need at that second.

No, we are not children anymore.
We are adults.
Just remember that those layers from our youth are in there somewhere.
Grab hold of them once in a while and give them a tap to wake them up.


Monday, February 9, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: An adult's view on want

Onions have layers. Adults have layers.
Layers develop with time.

As a young adult the wants might be, in no particular -

As an adult the wants might be, in no particular -
proving yourself

As an older adult the wants might be, in no particular -
safety of home
stable job
peace of mind
secure with yourself

Of course passing from one age to the next, means adding layers. Some layers are less obvious at any specific time, but still remain a part of the overall makeup.

Another stage that embraces adults is having children.
When it comes to children, what do parents want?

At the birth of my son, my first child, a particular song played while I was driving that from that point forward brought him into my mind every time it played.

The song is Forever Young written by Bob Dylan, but the version I heard was sung by Rod Stewart. This became my WANTS for both my children.

Here are the lyrics.
May the good lord be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
Surround you when you're far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you'd have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young

May good fortune be with you
May your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to heaven
With a prince or a vagabond

And may you never love in vain
And in my heart you will remain
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young
Forever young
Forever young

And when you finally fly away
I'll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose
I'm right behind you, win or lose
Forever young, forever young
Forever young ,forever young
Forever young, forever young
For, forever young, forever young

In reality, adults may have many wants beyond what is listed above.
I imagine those other wants come from what we experience and our environment.
You may recall from time to time those days when you were a child.
Those wants are also layered in there as well.
Occasionally, these wants surface and can be enjoyed even as an adult.

Be on the lookout for all those layers and enjoy all of them.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: The judgement of want

The definitions of judgement are:
  • the capacity to assess situations or circumstances shrewdly and to draw sound conclusions
  • the act of judging or assessing a person or situation or event

Another point of view on judgement is from Paul Graham

And here is a related quote by the Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho -
“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.”

Many of us grew up learning that judging or judgement or being judged is a very analytical process. Some times that is not the case. As Paul Graham mentions, there are two kinds of judgement. The analytical kind which he states: "where judging you is the end goal". And the other type, which he states: "where judging you is only a means to something else... This kind of judgement is not really about you."

In many instances the lines between these two kinds of judgements are blurred.

When we want something, we make judgements about the want and sometimes even make judgements about ourselves for wanting whatever it is.

When someone else wants something, we continue this method and we make judgements about what they want and again make judgements about them for wanting this particular thing.

Now, don't get me wrong the WE is not everyone and the occurrence is not all the time. But it happens often enough to become a significant influence on both us and them.

I would like to offer up that we should make sound judgements on what we want. We don't need to make any judgements on the wants for which we or they have made as a final selection.

I would bet some of you would disagree with this. Let me know.

Should any of us be ashamed of what we want? Should any of us condemn others for what they want? Maybe it depends on what each of us wants.

Could the Google mantra of do no evil be applied to wants? The actual Google statement is you can make money without doing evil so it would seem that others have expanded Google's "no evil" scope.

But I drift from the point. If a want does evil, can it still not be judged? If a want brings goodness or well being to someone should that not be judged?

Perhaps I am completely wrong.
Was that a judgement?
Perhaps everything is judged.
Perhaps that is just part of what makes us human.

What would happen if we didn't place judgements on wants?

So may questions, so few answers.

Maybe today's post is here to generate more thoughts.

Think about it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: The guilt of want

Do you ever feel guilt about getting something you want?

Well, I used to. I think this was a trait that my parents provided to me. Not sure if this comes from heredity, environment or me cultivating those emotional seeds all on my own. Whatever the source, guilt can be a powerful ally or a devastating enemy. Naturally, if you don't have guilt in your life you are free from all of this. Does anyone have no guilt about anything? Could this be?

An interesting period of my life was when I discovered that guilt was one of the many emotions controlling my life. Or was it that I was allowing guilt to control my life? Either way, guilt definitely had a dramatic influence. Once recognized, the adverse impact of guilt can be minimized. Not that it disappears, but rather it is used for good and not evil.

Imagine, if you will, getting exactly what you wanted, feeling that moment of joy, but then followed by the guilt of "I should have wanted something more noble, profound or life changing". Instead, there you sit silently watching the birds flit about the yard. Nothing else. Just solitude with nature. There are people who self judge their wants (more on this later in a post titled The Judgment of Want).

In a moment like the one above, they might come up with the judgment of "am I not mature", "am I not intelligent" or "am I wasting my time" simply because they are enjoying the moment.

Can you imagine anyone feeling guilt about a moment like that? If not, thank goodness.

SIDEBAR: Back in college, there was this beautiful sunny day where I was driving along with all the windows down, radio blasting and me just singing without reservation (unusual, because I sing like crap!). Suddenly, up ahead I see a NJ State Trooper waving me to the side of the road. I got a speeding ticket. Yep, I was really, really enjoying myself and poof, reality smacked me up side the head. I felt guilt for a very long time after that each time I started to enjoy driving or considered singing in the car. It stuck with me for a very long time. A very long time!

Back to now

Do you see examples today of people feeling guilt about getting what they want?
I heard a "star" say on TV that they had stopped shopping because it didn't feel appropriate when so many others were experiencing such difficult economic times.

Is that quilt?

My first thought was, you guilt ridden goof! Exactly what we need is that "star" spending money! It has been stated that just 20% of the people control a remarkable 84% of the wealth. We need to make sure that 20% stop feeling guilt and start spending. They must have what they want for our own good!

Okay, enough of this. Just remember that asking for and getting what you want really shouldn't make you feel guilt. If it does, look deeper to see why. If guilt is use for good it is a powerful tool, but first we must recognize it.

Enjoy! Really, don't think too hard, just enjoy!

P.S. What is guilt

Thursday, February 5, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: The perspective of want

Is want rather black and white?

Can what I want be the same as what you want as well as what they want?

At times these may be true. Most times,I would bet, they are not. In fact, I propose that most times what any of us want is situational.
Situational? How can that be?
Want are wants.
Needs are needs.

Wait, as we previous discussed, wants and needs can be different.

What a small child wants is different from what that child's parents want.
What a Wall Street banker wants is different from what your local janitor wants.
What Dubai's richest want is different from what those dying in Dafur want.
And so it is around the globe.

Each of us have a different perspective on what we want or dare I say even what a want truly is to each of us.

I was reminded of the perspective of want by someone I met recently via the NaBloPoMo site. She reminded me that wants and the perspective on what you have can be adjusted by your experiences.

In a news report on the Rachel Maddow show, Rachel mentions that the recent winter storm in Kentucky destroyed electrical power to a large population. Another very much smaller Kentucky population is helping those in need. That smaller population is the 8500 or so Amish in the area. They, of course, live without most of the modern wants which we take for granted as needs. As an example of the perspective of want, the de-electrified Kentuckians were devastated (although coping rather well), while the Amish folk were most likely viewing the the storm as yet another cold spell.

As another example, my parents lived through the First Great Depression (FGD) here in the United States. They were farmers, although during the depression they had many different jobs in addition to raising and selling produce. They did commercial fishing, delivered ice and coal, hauled shipments via truck, did carpentry and raised animals. For them, the FGD was definitely a lifestyle change. However, they never went hungry nor did without what they needed. In fact when you talked with them, their vocabulary seemed to avoid the words associated with want rather they conversation would speak of needs. Their entire vocabulary was adjusted because of the Depression experience.

These and so many other examples, even in your own life, demonstrate the "perspective of want".

As is the case with so many things, wants are adjusted by our history, education, location, beliefs and the current situation.

Perhaps it would help us all to remember that there is a "perspective of want".

Let me know what is your perspective.

February 2009 - WANT: Do you really know what others want?

Do you really know what others want?

That seems like such an odd question. It feels so odd, because so many people have no idea what THEY want let alone what OTHERS want. Yet, it would appear from the many accounts of history that WE are constantly deciding what others want.


You bet!

Let's start with the European arrival in the "new world". My understanding was that those wonderful folks arrived in the Americas and promptly decided that the locals wanted to be "converted". Through the various methods of the day, the indigenous population received "help" in finding out what they really wanted.
I will assume that there was some of this in the Crusades and the myriad of other conquests that perforate history to this day. I am sure that the people of Iraq wanted the United States to move them towards democracy.

All that aside, perhaps the issue comes down to that famous line in Jurassic Park where Ian Malcolm states, "Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."

Rephrasing: "Yeah, but you were so preoccupied with whether or not you knew what they wanted, you didn't stop to think if they really wanted that."

In the context of do you know what others want, it may be as simple as, have you ever asked them what they want. I think it is fairly common for people to have questions about what they want. Lots of people never know what they want. Still others know what they want, but never ask for it. So who are we to presume, without asking, that we know exactly what others what.

Bottom line, ask them what they want.

Better still, ask them how you could help them get what they want.

Or, maybe better yet, cheer them on as they discover and obtain what they want.

Could it be that the endpoint of getting what you want is only part of all of this want thing? It might be that the deciding on, sharing and going for what you want is THE thing.

Who knows? For me, I am still deciding what I want. I will let others decide for themselves. If someone asks me for help, I'll be there. But I don't think I will ever presume some god-like power that gives me the insight to know what someone else wants.

Thanks for your attention span.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Do you really know what you want?

Did you ever ask yourself -
What do I really want to do?
What do I really want to be?
What do I really want to have?
What do I really want?

Most likely you have. We all do. Some of these questions are forced upon us while others show up naturally as time passes.

Whatever the path these question take, there seems to be this common experience across the globe.

While thinking about this "what do I want" question, I realized that everyone wants. Some of us want the basics while others of us want everything and more. That got me wondering, how do we, me, you, all of us KNOW what we want?

Do we have something in common when it comes to what we want?

Do we all want world peace? It wouldn't appear so.

Do we all want to survive? I thought so, but with all the suicide bombings, I not so sure anymore.

Do we all want money? I don't think so, although some times bunches of it would make life easier at least for a little while.

Do we all want food? I think we can agree on that one. Although, it would appear that some of us want it more than others.

Do we all want to be part of something larger than just yourselves? Hmmmmm, this might a common one. Well up until the moment when I am considering becoming a recluse after watching the evening news.

Could it be that we are all so different that there are only pockets of common wants? That we as the human race will never have at least one common want.
I find that difficult to believe. But, in my short life span on this planet so far, I see no evidence that we as a species have a common want that crosses all the natural and artificial boundaries which separate us.

The closest thing to a common want that seems to flicker on and off from time to time is the want of love. Sometimes the love is formed from unlikely ideas, circumstances or desires. I bet even terrorists, the bogeymen of our present history, want love. Although this want definitely flickers off and on.

So, setting aside any humanity common want, how do YOU know what YOU really want?
Leave a comment and let me know. I'm sure millions of people would love to know how to figure this out.

Hope to hear from you.

Written for NaBloPoMo, the theme for February is "WANT"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Want versus should

Arlene and I have a new trigger, which we didn't have before. It keys in on the word "should". In an attempt to discover why we liked doing some things and hated doing others, but still continued to do the things we hated, we found that those things that were not fun always contained the word should. For example:

I should go for a walk.
I should finish the sewing project.
I should create something artsy.

Now, there are some other shoulds that aren't as attractive as those above. Such as:

I should go brush my teeth.
I should clean the bathroom.
I should empty the litter box.

But walking, creativity and hobbies typically don't fall into the crappy end of the scale. So we asked why were these normally fun things turning into chores?
What resulted from our investigation was a simple word change and listening to exactly what we were saying.

The change was to listen for the key words "should" and "want to". To our surprise, we found that wherever we said:
I want to go for a walk.
versus -
I should go for a walk.

The activity was far more acceptable or dare I say even fun!

This seems like such a little thing, but this is where the subtlety appears. In our minds we found that using the word should meant that this particular activity wasn't really what we wanted to do, but rather what we had learned through experience (and the generous application of guilt) that we HAD to do. That small nuance was enough to create a chore out of what would normally be fun.

Perhaps it is getting older or the decades of learning how to function within a dysfunctional environment, but whatever the reason we found a way around this little pothole.

Of course, there are still those special times when the litter box DOES need to be emptied, but now the phrase is -

I WANT TO empty the litter box.

And surprisingly, it isn't half bad.

Since we first started noticing these keywords, our lives have become much happier. Whenever one of us notices phrases like "I should go exercise", it is now clear that it is not the right time to exercise. Our brain is telling us that with its own wonderful phraseology. Usually what happens next is a pause that internalizes the question: SO, what do I really WANT to do? Within moments, clarity is reached and off we go to the exact activity that was truly in there as a "want" versus a "should". Granted we are not perfect and there are some times when the situation does not allow for the want to overrule the should, but these times are now rare instead of the norm.

Bottom line, this is our simple way of determining what we want to do.

You should enjoy life!

You want to enjoy life, right?

Written for NaBloPoMo, the theme for February is "WANT"

Monday, February 2, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Want versus need

How do each of us determine what we need versus what we want? Clearly, it is a question asked by many and often. From individuals, to groups, to businesses, to a country, to people steeped in abject poverty, to those who have wealth beyond imagination, each will have different views. Trying to break this concept down to the basics seems to raise more questions than absolute clarity.

Trying to answer this question, here are some references.

Want vs. Need: Basic Economics

Understanding Need versus Want

However, a good definition for the want versus need concept comes from Learning to Give in the paper "Definition of Want vs. Need" By Lorren Clark who was a graduate student at Grand Valley State University. The paper was developed by Lorren while taking a Philanthropic Studies course taught at Grand Valley State University.

From my personal perspective, needs are the absolutes. Economics says food and shelter are our needs. I must agree with that but they missed a couple things that may seem like givens and not considered needs, but I view them as even more basic needs.

First, the air you breath is a need. Bottom line here is that without this particular life sustaining element, your time within this existence is short.

Second, a specific environment is a need. The environment includes air but expands further to the temperature range, atmosphere contents and its stability.

Without these first two, even your food and shelter needs may not be possible. I truly believe that if we don't understand and preserve these, we can kiss our needs and wants goodbye. If you only think about "your" needs and wants, but miss the big picture, then time is short.

But even more basic a need is "survival". After thinking about it, this is our one basic need. This one drives everything else. In fact, it is at the core of being. All other needs layer out from that center with degrees of importance based on how long we can "survive" without a particular need.

If we assume this to be true, then next we would look at the needs beyond those directly related to our survival, although currently I can not think of anything either need or want that doesn't "affect" our survival.

As a species we do run into dilemmas, such as the need/want of let's say nuclear weapons. Most can agree that we don't really "want" nuclear weapons, but at some relative period in time we needed them to assure our survival. We can probably agree that if they were never created than we wouldn't need them. But in fact there are many things that once they exist become a need, because without them our survival comes into question.

SO in my mind, things get a bit fuzzy on the whole need versus want thing. Perhaps it is time to remember that our existence is within a cycle that in turn is connected to all the universes that exist. What we do affects the universe around us and in response the universe applies the results back upon us.

Therefore, be aware that what you want could become a need and that need could either positively or adversely affect your basic need of survival.

Wow, I tried to tell you this WANT theme was way more complex than I originally thought.


Written for NaBloPoMo, the theme for February is "WANT"

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: To get more, want less

This is a repost from my main blog at total amazement. It just so happens that it fits right into the February NaBloPoMo theme of "WANT".

Mind set change: "To get more, want less!" Rich Hand 1999

Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice

Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

As you might have guessed, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't want, but rather learn to know what you want and be satisfied when you get it.


Written for NaBloPoMo, the theme for February is "WANT"

Welcome February, my favorite month of the year!

So here I am a few minutes past midnight on February 1st sitting in the dark on the west coast of the United States. To be more specific, the Pacific Northwest. In 2007, I successfully completed the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing a novel in a month. Now that was in November of 2007 so I had 30 days to piece together 50,000 words into something that at least made sense to me. But this is a whole different story (sorry for the pun)!

I picked the shortest month of the year, that way I expend the least amount of energy. The challenge here is simply to get up every morning and write something, anything, about anything. No pressure, just that waking up concept thing. Thinking to myself... I could do this. Heck, I usually wake up at least once a day as it is. Piece of cake.

I started this writing at exactly 5 minutes past midnight. That's fairly early for me. For some it's late. But I find myself rather excited to try something new. Won't probably be up quite this early each morning in February, but I think the daily thing will work out.

Some background on why this is my favorite month. My sister was born in February. My daughter was born in February. I was born in February. Some very famous people were born in February, I mean besides the three previously mentioned. It is kind of the middle of winter. That means snow, which is my favorite form of precipitation. Last, but not least, it contains Valentines Day. Yes, I know a greeting card invented holiday, but it is also when I pledged the rest of my life to the person I love. Perhaps a tad mushy, but straight up, fact. Favorite month? Oh yea!

Oh, back to NaBloPoMo, the theme for February is "WANT". They give you the option to write on the theme or whatever. All this freedom is definitely an issue. I could dribble on about random thoughts or I could laser in on the topic. Nice! I could do anything I WANT!

I think the basic question is "How do you really know what you want?". Is it a list of one hundred things or three or just one? Could it be a set of things too long for a list? Is what you want real, tangible, something you can touch or do? Is what you want imaginary, a concept, a feeling, a thought or a sense of being?

Maybe by just asking the question, "What do I want?", changes what you want. What if you didn't think about what you want and just moved through life giving to others. Would you be getting what you want. Maybe. You just might, if you understood what WANT meant to you.

Then there is the whole concept of want versus need. You need the basics. Shelter and food are needs. Aren't they also wants? Or how about, if you always want more, have you ever gotten what you want? Are you ever satisfied with what you have? Does that mean that you don't want any more?

Wow, I thought February's theme would be easy. Only 28 days of writing about "WANT". A simple, single word concept. What could be easier? Oh crap, this may be more complex then I first thought. I'm going back to bed and perhaps wake up again later to restart this effort. OR, depending on what I want, I just may stay in bed and wait until Punxsutawney Phil decides what he wants to do about winter.

Really, February was my favorite month, no really!