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9 Reasons You Never Get What You Want

9 Reasons You Never Get What You Want

Welcome to the leading edge!

First of all, let me congratulate you. By asking the question, “Why do I never get what I want?” you have already started moving toward everything you want. You are challenging the cultural premise that says, “I don’t deserve it,” or “I should be content with the mediocre life that I have,” or “only smart/rich/genius people deserve that stuff.” You should have everything you want! You should feel good! You do deserve good things! And you have acknowledged that what you’ve been doing so far isn’t working, which means that you are open to suggestions about what will work. This puts you ahead of at least 75% of the human population. Welcome to the leading edge!

Nine Reasons That You Don’t Get What You Want

1. You’re satisfied with mediocrity.

We all receive messages from many sources: parents, friends, churches, movies, TV shows, the news… messages that tell us we should be nice, well-behaved consumers who are satisfied with mediocrity and don’t try to stray too far from it. But this doesn’t mean that YOU have to be satisfied with mediocrity. If you have a few minutes, take the time to watch this video by Randy Gage, in which he points out the

“mind viruses” that are fed to you by movies.

2. You say “I can’t.”

These two words, and their cousins “I have to,” should be eliminated from all languages everywhere. These are loser words. Victim words. As soon as you think or say “I can’t,” before you’ve even gotten to “because,”  you’ve already given all of your power away, and the more words you put after “because,” the faster your power is fleeing from you.

Replace “I can’t” with “I could if I wanted to.” Replace “I have to” with “I am doing this because…”

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If those replacements don’t work for you, there are plenty of other words to choose from. According to the Global Language Monitor, as of January 1, 2014, there were 1,025,109.8 words in the English language. Have fun. But don’t say “I can’t” or “I have to,” ever again. Period.

3. You complain about never getting what you want.

Every time we want something, we are also keenly aware of its absence. As Abraham says in this short video, “Every subject is really two subjects.” There is the problem, which is the lack of what you want. For instance, the lack of money —  and there is the solution, which is what you want — more money.

Instead of joining in your friends’ conversations about being poor, lonely, fat or sick, excuse yourself and go daydream for five minutes. What would it be like to be rich? What kind of car would you drive? What kind of house would you live in? What would it be like to be in a great relationship? What would you do together? What would you talk about? If you had a perfect body, what would you wear? How would other people respond to you? What would your perfect job feel like?

4. You hate rich / skinny / successful / healthy / happy / attractive people.

Jealousy is a colossal waste of time and energy. Worse, it keeps you from getting what you want, because if you get rich, a great-looking body, or a relationship that curls your toes… you’re going to look a whole lot like the very people you hate. And then what are you going to do, hate yourself? That’s pretty messed up!

Instead of hating these people, study them! They’ve figured out how to get what you want! If you can figure out how they got it, and you do the same thing, then you can have it, too. They’re giving you a gift foolish not to accept.

“When the success of another makes your heart sing, your resistance is gone, and your own success soars.”
— Abraham Hicks

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5. You only talk about it / haven’t actually done anything about it / think reading about it is enough.

Don’t get me wrong; dreaming, reading, talking (to the right people) is great! All of these actions make you feel super inspired, and this place of inspiration is the best platform from which to launch inspired, productive action.

If you’ve found a perfect diet, a perfect fitness routine, a perfect person, a perfect job, a perfect business opportunity, act! You may never get this opportunity again! Don’t wait until Sunday because it’s a new week. Throw caution to the winds, and take that first step. If you’re hesitating, what’s holding you back? Is it that…

6. You worry about what others think.

If you decide that you’re going to do whatever it takes to fulfill your dreams, sooner or later you’re going to start looking and acting like those rich, skinny, successful people that people hate. And guess what? This means that some people are going to start hating YOU, and some of these people are going to be friends, family and other people you love and care about. Let’s take a minute to truly look at this one, because I have a feeling that it is behind a lot of hesitation for many people.

Your loved ones probably don’t mean you any harm, but some of them may — consciously or unconsciously — try to sabotage you, to keep you down on their level, to make sure they don’t lose connection with you. They might ridicule your moneymaking ideas or your new boyfriend or girlfriend, or bring you doughnuts while you’re on your new diet, or try to talk you into going to the bar instead of going to the gym.

At some point, if you find their antics too distracting, you may have to make a difficult choice. Do you want to give up your dreams, say “I’m sorry,” and stuff yourself back into your old mediocre box to keep them happy? Or do you want to risk alienating them to fulfill your dreams?

You might be tempted to try to bring them up to your level, to talk them into joining you on your journey toward success. I did this for a long time. But unless they want to join you, your attempts to drag them along are going to fail, and in the process, you’ll end up exhausted.

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The good news is, as you become more successful, you will find out who your real friends are, and you’ll attract new friends who support you. These friends will be ecstatic when you tell them that you’ve made your first million dollars, or that you’ve achieved 10% body fat and look fantastic, or that you are completely healed from your disease and have started running again, or that you have found your soul mate and are blissfully in love. These people are keepers.

7. You’re afraid to suck.

This goes back to being worried about what other people think. Remember, everyone was a beginner: Olympic athletes, top-notch musicians, even you. Remember your first day at work? That deer-in-the-headlights feeling? Remember how many mistakes you made? But you didn’t remain a beginner, did you? You got better at what you were doing.

Babies aren’t born with ripped, perfect bodies, fabulous relationships, or checking accounts full of dollars. Self-made millionaires, entrepreneurs, musicians, bodybuilders, married people — everyone had to start from ground zero. And in the beginning, everyone sucked. They started businesses that folded. They tried diets and training programs that didn’t work. They got involved in horrible relationships. Thomas Edison “failed” 10,000 times before he came up with a light bulb that worked. If you try something and it doesn’t work, try something different. But don’t give up your dream.

“Every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
— Napoleon Hill, Think And Grow Rich.

8. You think getting what you want happens overnight.

Do you know what happens to most people who win the lottery or lose lots of weight in a short period of time? They spend all of the money, they put the weight back on, and they wind up back — or worse off than — where they started. Being an overnight success is like being plunged into the deep end of a pool without learning how to swim first. It’s why people like Susan Boyle and Justin Bieber had such a tough time adjusting to becoming overnight sensations; it was too much, too fast. They didn’t get to be beginners.

In most cases, it takes 1 to 2 years for an average person build a ripped body, unless he or she puts in exceptional effort. It takes from 2-5 years for a new business to start turning a profit; more than that to actually generate enough income to live on. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for our bodies to adjust to a new shape, and it takes time for our minds to adjust to a new way of thinking.

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Once you’ve decided that nothing is more important than your dreams, don’t give up. Stick with it. The payoff will be the manifestation of your dreams, your ability to inspire others to manifest theirs, and, believe it or not, taking the whole human species with you to the next level. You can do it.

9. You decide it’s too hard and quit before you get what you want.

There’s no doubt about it; manifesting your dreams can take a lot of hard work. Whether your dream is starting a business, being in a long-term relationship, having a great-looking, great-feeling body, or changing your outlook on life, sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get there.

When you’re working 60 or more hours a week on your new business and are slowly falling behind on the bills; when you’re exhausted from a late night and the last thing you want to do is get up early and work out; when you and your new partner are fighting again about the same dumb thing you fought about the last time, remember: you aren’t just sacrificing; you’re investing. Just like an investor, you’re setting aside your mental and emotional capital in order to gain wonderful things in the long term. Just hang in there.

Featured photo credit: Freedom/Kathryn via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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