When you want something …

BY DOMINIQUE JAMES

You know you want something when you feel that ache inside of you—in your heart and in your mind, the moment when you are confronted with what you desire. You know there things you’ve always wanted, and you try to steer your life towards it. You aim for it, you pursue it, you seek it. But there are also those things you don’t even know that you want it until you know it. The very existence of a thing is all it takes for you to know that you want it.

How do you deal with what you want? Action—that’s how you deal with it. You do something, or in most cases, some things, about getting it. You think up of the many ways on how you move it from over there to over here. You scheme, you plot, and then you move. There is no other way how you can get it than to act on it.

The inability to act is the greatest barrier to getting what you want. It is possible that there could be a thousand and one reasons why you can’t have the things you most desire. But the one thing that stops you is really not the thing itself because you know it is there, but how you move forward to get it.

What do you have to invest to get it? The thinking, the effort and the time—all concentrated in order to achieve it. The first logical step is to gather all the information that you can lay your hands on. The second logical step is to assess the information that you have amassed. The third logical step is to formulate a plan that outlines the details of how you are going to move forward. And the fourth logical step is to take action.

Simple, right?

No.

This is a linear approach to getting what you want. It’s neat, organized, sensible. But life isn’t that way at all, not specially when you want to get something. And often it seems that the more you want, the harder it is to get it.

Here are the things that makes it harder than it already seems:

First, when you pick up information, when you add data, or when you gain intelligence, whatever you have gathered is always never enough. There is always crucial missing information. You can sometimes sense it, but you can never know this at that moment. Often, you gain the information you need not when you are in the act of gathering, but at those times when you should have known better. The information makes itself evident only after the fact.

Second, because of the incompleteness of your information, the plans you formulate are therefore flawed. When information is missing, you try to guess as much as you can and fit the pieces into something that will appear logical despite the gaps in what you know. You fill in the missing pieces with elemental conjectures and guesses, and you hope that it holds up. You, of course, learn that it doesn’t.

Third, you map out your course of action based on the imperfect information you have gathered and the intelligence that you have formulated and deduced from what you know so far. You begin step-by-step, from point A to point B, figuring out the actions that you must take, in order to reach your “destination.” The problem with having a plan is that it is based on so many assumptions, both big and small, about things that you know. Also, a plan is predicated on the predictability of certain outcome—from knowing the cause and its effect, over the course of the many steps that you are required to take. In most cases, it becomes a hit-and-miss scenario.

Fourth, life happens when you are trying to get what you want. You make your moves, and the reality of your situation keeps changing. A lot. A whole lot. Today is so different from yesterday, and you try to adopt or keep up, with what’s going on around you. Things change, even from moment to moment, that you often lose control of what’s happening, and even as you are trying to pursue something, other things get in the way. And there area many of these things that always get in the way.

Because of the obvious and inherent imperfection of how things work out in the general and particular scheme of things, many of the things you want in life seems to be impossible to achieve. You can motivate yourself endlessly, and pursue the things you love in a relentless fashion, and still, the things you desire the most escape your grasp. As you grow older, you begin to think that you learn a little bit more to deal with the vagaries of life, and yet, you still stumble, not only from things that are new, but also from things that are old—the ones you’ve already known, but never quite learned.

So, what is there to do?

The thing you love. That’s all there is to do. You wish, you aim, you dream. You can always vest your heart and mind on something that is beyond the grasp of the moment, but today, just today, do what you can do. It doesn’t have to be a big step. It doesn’t have to be a major step. It can just be the smallest of steps that makes sense today. The idea is to do something—to move, not by a long mile but by a short inch. Take that one easy step, that one painless step, that one harmless step.

But then again, it isn’t really that easy at all, is it?

When you are living life, when you are trapped in the middle of it all, when you are besieged from all directions with the things that distract and deter you from what you need to do, when the threat of the tempest swirls about you, you can only do nothing.

And doing nothing, at the moment, is the right thing at the moment. To stop everything that bedevils you, that could be the best at moment. And when everything has totally stopped, that’s when you can move again. And this time, one small step at a time, you can move on, from that one place to the next.

[Note: Dominique James is a professional photographer, writer and graphic designer based in New York City. Visit his website at http://www.dominiquejames.com or email dominiquejames@mac.com for more information.]

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