Go Beyond the Want
Perhaps one of the strongest expressions of wants hails from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Veruca Salt bellows, “I WANT IT NOW!” Whereas she had her rich parents to buy her anything in an instant, most of us don’t have that privilege. Ah, but like Veruca, we do have our “wants” in life.
We want cars, clothes, nice homes, and a multitude of other tangibles. We want to lose weight, become healthy, or get more organized. We want people in our lives and our kids to be safe and successful. We want to start a new career or retire, travel, to accomplish, or be happy.
Want is by definition a verb and kickstarts thoughts of potential action. When we think or speak that very word — meaning to have a desire to possess or do — in essence what we are saying to ourselves out loud is, “Yes, this is something I yearn for.”
So, how do we get what we want?
We think of our wants as something we could achieve, maybe, down the road — eventually perhaps. From the spark of the thought of a want, a mental conversation ensues. Within a few seconds, the brain goes to a litany of reasons why that want is not achievable. We quickly create a mental list of all of the excuses (let’s call them choices) as to why our wants seem unobtainable.
Did you know humans are actually wired to be more comfortable with the negative? Negative thoughts create a surge of electrical activity within the brain. This stems back to the fight-or-flight response, where danger (negative) would prepare the human body for what may possibly threaten life and living. The mind and body are more on guard, ensuring survival. The brain has learned to be more comfortable in this state. In modern-day life, our attitudes are more heavily influenced by the downbeat rather than the good.
Understanding why we react or respond the way we do is essential to understanding human nature and creating change.
It’s not that we are unable or incapable of achieving our wants. Rather, we need to first start with an awareness of patterning that has occurred throughout life experiences. The “I can’t” rant is a louder voice than the one that compels us to believe in ourselves. We often stay stuck in doubt and fear rather than move sure footedly toward achieving our wants.
The brain-based ability called neuroplasticity is adaptive patterning by the mind. This historically has worked against us through repetitive negative thinking habits. The more we act or behave in a certain way, the more those pathways become imprinted in the brain.
Researchers, practitioners, and adapters are finding this brain malleability actually can work in our favor if we simply change thought processes. The human mind can change its physical structure and mode of thought processing based upon our own input of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
In seeking the heart’s desire, work toward shifting your thought processes. Shift the internal dialogue to replace the tendency toward negatives with positive affirming thoughts and statements. Through this incredibly powerful step, start with small achievables, knowing you are rewiring the brain. This is how we start to go beyond the want.
Dr. Lana Saal is a lifelong learner with over 25 years of expertise in health promotion ranging from nutrition in the clinical setting, successful weight loss, stress management, tobacco cessation through individual and group health coaching, and worksite wellness. To keep her own health in balance, Saal enjoys healthy cooking, running, yoga, and spending time with friends and family.