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Why You Should Focus On What You Want More Than What You Need

Coach Zen Wilhelm by Zen Wilhelm
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Yesterday, I woke up and saw clear blue skies.

The first thought I had was that this would be a perfect day to take a hike up to Oyster Dome, a nearby overlook that I have been wanting to check out.

Crystal clear days have been rare here lately, and I knew that today of all days would give me a breathtaking view of the coast.

The second thought I had was that I have a list of things that I’m supposed to do today instead.

So as I got ready for the day, and I kept seeing those blue skies, I felt a little tug of war between what I wanted to do and what I needed to do.

I bet you can guess who won, but let me tell you why.

You get more of what you focus on.

When I focus on all the things I need to do, I inevitably discover more things that I need to do.

I’m sure you too have experienced the exploding to-do list, which ends up leaving little time for anything else.

Then what you really want to do gets postponed or compromised into something you think you can somehow finagle into your schedule.


So what is the alternative?

There will always be things that you need to do, but you can choose to make what you want to do a nonnegotiable priority.

Focus on what you want to do. Then look at what you need to do and find a way to fit that into your schedule.

So what does that look like? Here are 3 scenarios:

1. Reach For The Carrot

Do what you need to do first.

Use your brain’s natural built in reward system to turn mountains into molehills.

As you focus on the feeling of having what you want with expectant anticipation, everything you need
to do first will seem smaller and easier to accomplish.

2. Prime The Pump

Do what you want first.

When you feel good, resistance dissipates, and you naturally bring with you a feeling of satisfaction to
whatever you do next.

I find that this is the best thing to do when I feel blocked, stuck, or unclear. Focus on something more
enjoyable for a while and let the satisfaction of it ignite your inspiration and creativity.

3. The Satisfaction Sandwich

Do Both.

When you do this right, you create a continual stream of satisfaction and eager anticipation for what’s

You stay totally in the flow fueled by passion and focused purpose, and even those things that you
need to do somehow seem a little more enjoyable.

No matter which scenario you choose, you get another bonus.

By making what you want the priority, it will leave less time for everything else.

And that really is a bonus!

If you have ever procrastinated to the last minute, then you know how it feels when you finally do whatever you have been putting off.

In a short period of focused in-the-flow productivity, you not only do what you need to do, but somehow do a better job of it than you otherwise would.

But whereas procrastination is a slowly building bomb of discomfort that explodes into productivity, habitually focusing on what you want and utilizing these scenarios will not only give you the same bursts in productivity, but also allow you to enjoy the rest of your time as well.

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