Today I’m going to get into the subject of identifying what you want. To me being a Rockstar means trusting your own desire, and being willing to go where it takes you. But what does that end up looking like in practical, everyday terms?
First off, let’s be clear that desire is dangerous. We’re inculcated from a very young age with the idea that we need to subvert our desires in order to find security, and this can actually be pretty true. The world would probably fall apart tomorrow if everyone quit their office jobs and moved to the beach to write a book about whales. Following your desire can often look like trading your cow for a handful of magic beans, but then again… If you’re lactose intolerant and sick of cleaning up cow shit, a handful of magic beans may look pretty appealing.
For me it was sheer dumb luck, I’ve known I wanted to make Music since I was about five years old. I remember my older brother putting on a live AC/DC album and I heard Bon Scott’s on-stage banter. What went through my five year old head? “Oh man, how am I going to know what to say between songs?”. It took a loooonnnnggg time for me to truly admit to myself that this is what I wanted to do with my Life, but that nagging desire really never left me.
Other people aren’t always so lucky. We’re so bombarded with influences; parents, school, friends, social status, etc. etc. etc. that it’s very easy for that little voice whispering from our heart to get cluttered away. Many people reach adulthood with no clue as to what they actually want.
So what do you do in that situation?
First off I think it can be a good idea to start small. If you don’t know what you want to do with your Life on a grand scale, start with what you want for breakfast. Instead of getting up in the morning and fixing the same old peanut butter on toast with half a grapefruit, take a minute to check in with yourself. What do I really want right now? It may turn out that you want French toast with a side of bacon. It may turn out that you want a kale smoothy. Or it may turn out that peanut butter on toast will really hit the spot. Either way you listened to yourself, and gave approval to what you heard. I believe that starting small and checking in with your desire in the moment is a recipe to revolutionize your whole Life. Or at least what you eat for breakfast.
The second thing you can do is this: Try to remember the last time you were really happy doing something. Think of the last time you were so absorbed in what you were doing that any thought about the bills or the squeaky brakes or the last episode of the O.C. just melted away, and you could have kept doing what you were doing in that moment forever. Maybe you were kneading dough on your kitchen counter on a Saturday afternoon with the sun streaming through your window. Maybe you were hiking up a mountain with the crisp air biting into your lungs. The last time I felt this way I was hitting a floor tom along to some Music that a friend and I had just made up on my laptop. Whatever it is, that is what you were meant to be doing with your Life (or at least, that’s what I think). So now, you can start taking little steps (tiny, tiny, baby steps are OK!) to do more of that.
“But,” your analytical mind is going to chime in immediately, “You can’t make money doing that.” And to that I say, don’t worry about making money just yet. Just listen to your desire and do more of it. Make French toast for breakfast, and set aside time to make bread on Saturday afternoon (or climb mountains, or hit floor toms, or whatever). Your head will come up with a million reasons not to do what you want, that’s your head’s job. It will come up with every possible thing that could ever go wrong, and even some things that couldn’t possibly go wrong in a million years. That’s just your head doing it’s thing. Heads don’t make decisions (at least not the big ones), hearts do. It won’t seem practical, it won’t seem socially acceptable, and it definitely won’t seem easy. But if you keep doing whatever that thing is, and keep paring away the things in your Life that keep you from doing that, eventually you’ll see that it worked.
The more you feel your desire – feel it as a physical sensation in your body, give it room in your Life, approve of it and act on it – the more of it there will be to feel. It’s a skill that you can get better and better at, until eventually your desire grows and grows into this unstoppable emotional freight train that drives you exactly where you didn’t know you should be until you got there.