Understanding the “Want”

The "Want" is a never ending force in our lives.  The "Want" continues to influence us, drive us, and in some cases destroys us.  So what exactly is the want?  The "Want" is one of the most influential drives or instincts that we as humans deal with on an everyday basis. This force in our lives continuously prevents us from being satisfied with what we have.  It is the "Want" that has us seek more money from our jobs or business, better grades in school, a nicer car, or more prestige in our professions.

Let's take a closer look.  First, like all my topics, you cannot or will not get any value from the subject if you are not first and foremost, honest with yourself.  Please feel free to read my posting on Honesty for more insight.

The "Want" is at the same time both a very valuable and a very destructive force in our life.  Nearly every moment of everyday we go about our life with an internal dialog going.  Ever listen to it?  Take a few moments and do that right now.  So what did you hear yourself thinking about?  Was any of it about having or doing something better, or some way to improve something in your home, work, school, or life? Do you see a car on the road or a nice house and have a brief (or sometimes not so brief) thought wishing you owned it or lived there?

As far as I can tell, the "Want" is an uniquely human instinct. It drives us by causing at the least a small amount of discontentment within our lives everyday.  Like all human instincts, a sampling of people would reveal that across the board people will feel this in various degrees, some very strongly, others just barely. However the "Want" effects us all.  It is what makes us lose the feelings of gratitude after a fashion when something great happens to us or someone gives us something we like.  This is one of the instincts marketing folks target in the hope to exercise it, resulting in your purchasing of their products.  Think about for a moment… Do you feel it?

If the "Want" operates by causing a slight to strong dissatisfaction in our lives, that would certainly contribute to human misery, however why would it even have evolved?  Like all human instincts the very existence of the "Want" indicates that it must have a survival advantage for those who feel it.  Personally I believe that connection to be self evident, however for the purposes of this discussion I will spell it out.  Think about it, the stronger the "Want" the greater the motivation to "Do".  It maybe the reason that Homo Erectus was around for 1.5 million years but they never got out of the stone age, while humans have only been around for a measly 70,000 years but have walked on the moon and split the atom.

Embracing the "Want" – Humans for the most part deny both to themselves and others that the "Want" is a factor continually guiding and influencing their behavior.  That in itself is a problem and dangerous mind set, however most human misery comes about when people embrace the "Want" as the major motivator of their lives.  This is easy mental state to reach since we are hammered all day long from marketing efforts trying to exercise this instinct (as well as others).  But what exactly happens when you embrace the "Want".  First in the most mildest level, unhappiness.  If you cannot detach yourself from the "Want", you cannot feel any kind of happiness or satisfaction for long.  However the more strongly you embrace the "Want", the worst things can get.  Please note that other human instincts are normally at play at the same time, so some of these effects will be mentioned in those discussions as well.  Criminal behavior or excessive use of credit to purchase things not really needed in your life are indicators that the "Want" has you in its grip.  Other indications maybe a continuous pursuit of money or promotions.  But in all cases, you are at best happy for fleeting moments but experience stress and general unhappiness the rest of the time.

Acknowledging the "Want" –  The truth is the "Want" is very much part of who we are and cannot be removed, however it need not define us or control us. As I will cover in the discussions on Detachment, we must learn to acknowledge its presence and the influence that the "Want" has upon us.  Honesty with yourself of that influence is the first step in removing its control over you.

Remove the control but do not remove it from your life.  Even if you try and suppress it, it will still have a strong influence.  Remember, the "Want" has a purpose.  It drives us, it gives us motivation to improve our life and our world.  By mastering detachment, you can allow the "Want" to motivate you toward intellectually selected goals. End states and purposes that make since and bring happiness into your life and good into the world at large.

I would love to hear your feed back on this topic.  Additionally any stories or examples (both good and bad) of how the "Want" has worked in your life, our you have seen in other.  Look forward to hearing from you soon.



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