You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Wanting What You Have

It has been sad and disquieting to watch the Tiger Woods story unfold, because his story reflects something about all of us as human beings.
Tiger Woods is arguably the best golfer ever. He is considered one of the best athletes in the world. He has earned a billion dollars, has a gorgeous wife, two beautiful children, all the fame and fortune that goes with being a megastar cultural icon/hero—and he’s young and good looking to boot. Reasonably speaking, he has it all. He’s living the dream we all fantasize about living.
But such is the nature of the human condition that having it all sometimes just isn’t enough. Not content with what we have, we want more—and more—and more. More money, a bigger house, a 50 inch HDTV, nicer furniture, more clothes, a newer and fancier car, and so on.
It’s true that sometimes a car will die and we need a new car, but most of the time it’s because we want a new car, not because we need one. So we occupy our lives in search of more/bigger/better. Our expectation is that we’re going to be happier. But most of the time we’re not. In fact, frequently we like our lives less, because now we’re more in debt, we’re far more stressed and we have to work more hours in order to pay for our improved lifestyle. I know a man who calls people who want more and more “more ons.” I’ll let you do the play on words yourself, but I can tell you that a great deal of our lives are preoccupied with acquiring or doing things that will only make us happy for a very short while—if at all.
Allow me to invite you to look at your life from a longer-term perspective. How could you allow yourself greater peace and tranquility by wanting and being content with what you have—and therefore not craving more and more? Here are my suggestions:
a.. On a scale from 0 to 10, rate your satisfaction with the following areas of your life: love; profession; money; home; relationships with children (and their families if applicable) as well as with your grandchildren, nieces and nephews; relationships with other family members; relationships with friends, animals and others you feel close to; health; play/fun; creative expression/adventure; personal growth or enrichment; travel/recreation; sex; appearance; and overall sense of well-being and vitality. I would encourage you to elaborate on each of the areas by writing down what seems important to you about each of those categories, and to identify any changes you would like to make.
b.. What brings you joy? Look carefully at this question. It’s a deeper question than it appears to be.
c.. What creates pain for you?
d.. In which ways do you clip your own wings?
e.. What do you yearn for?
f.. Reasonably speaking, how could you add more fun to your life?
g.. In which areas or endeavors of your life have you been asleep? What have you been neglecting?
h.. What’s good about your life right now? In which ways are you actually living your dream?
i.. What would you need to do, or quit doing, to make yourself truly proud?
j.. From the big-picture perspective, what will be important to you 10 years from now? (Because everything else really is sweating the small stuff.)
Perhaps all of us can learn from the Tiger who had everything, but wanted more because he thought everything wasn’t enough.

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