Integrity, Inspire, Positively, 2020

What question could be more basic—or more imperative—to answer? From publishing a bestselling book to getting married to taking our next breath, the narratives of our lives are driven ultimately by the desires we feel. But as simple as the question may be, identifying the answer is often anything but.

sometimes we may not actually know what we want. Or, even more commonly, we may not know why we want it. Though we all feel as if we have a uniquely accurate perspective on our own thought processes, sometimes we have even less clear a picture of our true selves than those around us, whose vision isn't as obscured by the positive bias with which we unconsciously can't help viewing ourselves.

Research suggests that our conscious minds aren't so much in charge of the decisions we make as they are great rationalizers of them. Which means they often collude with our unconscious minds to craft stories about why we do things and even why we feel things that are just blatantly untrue. We often have far more invested in seeing ourselves as virtuous, noble, fair-minded, and good than we do in recognizing the truth: that we often want things and therefore do things that make us base, selfish, self-righteous, and unjust.

Pausing to ask yourself just what exactly you want—

I want my day job to be easier. I want people to be nicer to one another.

I want desperately—to know how it all works:

what you think you should want or what others want you to want or want for you—

it's an exercise by which I think we'd all be well served. So I invite you to do just that

to see how your desires strike you when they're staring back at you in print. You just might find yourself surprised by what you write.

our desires our so intense, so raw, and simultaneously so seemingly unattainable that we ache with even the thought of them. Sometimes desires are so intense they possess us and unbalance us, causing us to behave in ways we find abhorrent, but that we seem somehow powerless to avoid.

And sometimes our deepest desires reflect our deepest pain: we want our parents' love, long denied us; to have a dead parent back with us; to be healthy again; to accomplish something; to be important or remembered. All these desires, whether consciously apprehended or not, are the true drivers of our behavior.

interested in self-improvement, we can't be satisfied with the easy answers our conscious minds often feed us for why we do the things we do. Rather, we need to consciously acknowledge what we really want, whether something we're unlikely to be able to get, something we're ashamed of wanting or think we shouldn't want, or something that strikes us as irrational to want.