It's Okay to Want

I recently read Business in Blue Jeans by Susan Baroncini-Moe. It’s a book intended for people who are running a small business or who want to start one. However, I found it also applied very nicely to my own situation as a newly self-published author. Really, it’s a book for dream chasers, not just small businesspeople.

So I decided to start doing the homework. Throughout the book, the author gives the reader assignments to work on that are designed to help with the startup process and with refining personal goals.

The first homework assignment is The List of 100. The task is to create a bucket list of 100 things you want to have, accomplish, or experience in your life.

I was excited to start because I figured it would be fun and easy. I began writing down items, one after the other. The first 10 went down easy, and I felt a rush of delight. Then I started to sort the items into categories. Reaching 20 items wasn't hard, but after that, I slowed down. What else did I want? I started looking at the categories I’d created — book, blog, writing, travel, finances, and miscellaneous — and I focused harder on each category to fill it in more thoroughly. I pushed my way up to 40 items. At that point, the pause between writing each item grew longer.

When I reached 51 items, I was good and stuck.

What I’d thought would be an easy homework assignment proved to be a true challenge.

What did I want? The answers stopped coming to me. I closed the document and refused to look at it. Weren’t 51 items enough? Surely that was enough for anyone. But the assignment was to write down 100 items, and I knew there was a method, a reason behind that number. I wasn’t done yet — I needed to find a way to get to 100.

I contacted the book’s author because I’d made her acquaintance prior to reading. She reminded me that I needed to get past any brain junk clogging my head. In her book, Susan describes what she calls brain junk, which basically refers to any sort of mental block that gets in your way and trips you up. I was definitely experiencing some brain junk. I started listening more closely to what was going on in my mind that was stopping me. It sounded like this:

“It’s enough to want 51. I don’t need 100. Then again, I should finish it, even if I just put down some items that I don’t really care about. But I don’t see any point in writing down things that I don’t care about, so I’d rather just stay at 51. Besides, I don’t know if I want to get to 100. That seems like an awful lot. I’d rather focus on just a few items. It’s better not to want so many things.”

Aha! That was the real culprit, the very worst of my brain junk: “It’s better not to want so many things.” There’s a part of me that believes wanting too much is bad, that it’s wrong, that it’s only going to lead to disappointment because I can’t possibly have everything I want. If I really wanted to complete the List of 100, I would have to shove down that brain junk and open myself up to really, truly wanting.

It was a vulnerable sensation, but it also granted me the freedom I needed to continue.

The thing is, it’s important to want things. When there’s something I really, truly want, I get things accomplished. When there’s something I want, I work for it. The List of 100 isn’t a list for lazy people or daydreamers. It’s a list for dream chasers.

I went back to my list with new energy. I added more categories, which opened up more ideas and possibilities, and I started cruising BucketList.org to see what other people had added to their lists to get some ideas for my own, and somehow I finished my List of 100. My list rocks. It wasn’t easy finishing my homework, but I’m glad I did, and I’ll be moving on to the next piece of homework in Business in Blue Jeans soon. For now, I’m going to enjoy my list . . . and maybe add another item or two.

What do you want?

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Virginia blogs at Kiss Chronicles, and her ebook of the same name can be found at Smashwords and other online retailers.

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