The Question You Never Thought to Ask

Over the years, you’ve probably asked yourself countless questions about what you want.  Questions like:

Who am I? (The great existential question of all time).

What do I want out of life?

What do I want my legacy to be?

But, over those very same years, you’ve also most likely learned that success is often determined by our struggles.

You may dream of becoming a famous singer, for example, but soon find out that you don’t want to put the work in; you just want the end result. You’re not interested in practicing three hours a day, having band practice, lugging all of your gear to grungy bars and clubs, etc.  Or you may fantasize about learning to make homemade pasta, or painting landscapes, or, like me, learning photography.  It can seem daunting and even scary.  “What if I can’t do it?  What if I’m not good at enough?  Who am I kidding anyway?”  You just want to skip right to that level 10: the huge crowd cheering for you after you nailed that solo, perfected that ravioli, photographed that perfect shot, or painted that gorgeous French chateau that anyone would want to live in. Ah, the fame, the fortune. And then the self-doubt.

Everyone has dreams like this.  And everyone has doubts about making it happen.

The question you should really ask yourself is this:

What pain do you want?  (We’re not talking about the old cliche “no pain, no gain.”)

This question is designed to make you think about what goal is important enough to you that you’re willing to struggle to reach it.  What goals are so important to you that you’re willing to go through the drudgework, the stuff you hate, in order to do what you love?

 Spend some time with this question today.  Reflect on your past successes, life decisions and accomplishments where this question may have been helpful, and use it to think about the possibility and strength of your current desires.  Then give it a try, despite your fears or doubts.  Think about the regret you might feel if you don’t.  

As Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, once said a long time ago (he was born in 1813), “The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have.” 


That’s motivation enough for me.