If You Don't Know What You Want In Life, Start With What You're Most Afraid Of
Self-Improvement

If You Don’t Know What You Want In Life, Start With What You’re Most Afraid Of

There is nothing more important than knowing what you want in life, and there is almost nothing that is more difficult to figure out.

Until you know what your ultimate goal is — the destination for which you want your life to head — it is almost impossible to start building an existence that supports it. You feel lost. The ordinary ins-and-outs of existence feel empty and the discomfort isn’t worth it, because there’s no clear payoff in sight.

Until you truly know what you want, you are not going to really achieve anything much at all.

Human beings are exceptional in that we are able to tap into near supernatural strength and willpower when we know what we really want. In fact, when we are clear on what matters, it lights a fire within us that burns every obstacle in the way. There are so many stories of superhuman feats where old women carried 1,000 pound pianos out of burning buildings, mothers ripped car doors off to save their kids, and even despite everything going against them, the most truly determined overcame their circumstances and charged ahead toward the life they really wanted to live.

Knowing what you want is half the battle.

Yet, we aren’t really coached on how to figure out what we want. We often find it hard to just sit down and imagine what we really crave, as though we have to go searching for it in our subconscious, and all we ever really come up with are bits and pieces that sound nice, and could feel good, but don’t really ignite us in that way we need to be lit up.

That’s where your fear comes in.

If you do not know what you want, start with what you’re most afraid of.

You might not know what you desire, but absolutely everyone knows what scares them.

What is the opposite of that fear?

What is the alternative outcome to your worst-case scenario?

What is the best possible outcome for the thing that scares you most?

That is what you want.

That is your true desire, masked behind layers of fear and resistance and conditioning. That is your deep wanting, it has been there all along.

If you are afraid of not having enough money, your desire is financial freedom. If you are afraid of losing love, your desire is healthy, stable relationships. If you are afraid of not having done anything important with your life, your desire is finding purpose in your work, and in your days.

The truth is that absolutely everyone knows what they really want — they are just too afraid to want it.

Your desires are not something you have to search for, they are not something you have to generate, or even choose. They naturally exist within you, when you pull back all the layers of fear that are keeping you from it.

We often place fear where desire should be as a way of protecting that desire. We care so deeply, and want it so badly, it becomes too risky for us to acknowledge and lean into it. If we are afraid of it, we are shielding ourselves in a sense, because we aren’t even allowing ourselves the chance to fail.

What we do not realize is that this subconscious defense mechanism truly gets us nowhere. It does not keep us safe. In fact, it is the most dangerous coping mechanism, because it leaves us at risk of never truly doing what we came here to do, never really living out our dreams. It robs us of the chance to even pursue those deep desires, because we are in denial about what they really are.

When we know what we want, the path becomes clear, and mountains turn into molehills. Desire is the driving force of our lives, and if you think you can’t find it, turn to the shadows of your mind. They are, very often, just trying to dim the light.

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About the author
Brianna Wiest is the author of I Am The Hero Of My Own Life, Salt Water, and 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think. Follow Brianna on Instagram or read more articles from Brianna on Thought Catalog.

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