It’s nearly impossible to overstate the importance of knowing what it is you want—to know what it is you are aiming to get out of life. There is a lot of talk about finding out who you are, but very little talk about what it actually means to know who you are or why it’s important to know who you are. Knowing who you are is not passive information, it’s an equation that should be used to calculate the way you live. Knowing what you want is a huge part of knowing who you are. It’s really impossible to separate the two actually. Knowing what you want is almost a rephrase of knowing who you are. I like saying it as knowing what you want better. The idea of not knowing who you are paints a picture in which one sounds entirely lost whereas not knowing what you want sounds like you need to find a direction for you. It’s a distinction that I think is worth making.
Now, the reason that it’s so important to know what it is that you want out of life—what it is you are after—is because you will never be happy with what you have no matter what it is because you will always be hoping and looking for something else even if you don’t know what it is. Having a lot of things will not make you happy, but having the one thing that you really want will make you completely happy. You can’t get what it is you are looking for until you first recognize what it is you are looking for.
People spend a lot of time guessing at what things will make them happy. They get busy running out and doing and buying things to complete the space where purpose should be. Having things and doing things will always seem empty and useless, and lack the required purpose that explains why it’s important.
Having a purpose and meaning for life is crucial to experiencing life in a way that means something to you. A lot of people avoid ever confronting their reality by hiding in one in which they are overly occupied in trivial things that are little more than a distraction from their greater purpose. So, in all of this my encouragement is spend some time figuring out what it is you want out of life. If you know what it is you want, then any effort that you take in order to get it will not outweigh the value of achieving that goal. Make the effort. Do the work. Know why.