There is a very simple question that we should ask ourselves whenever we have a dilemma. That question is “What is it that I would like to see happen?”
There’s a cute quote which states, “If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there.” I love this quote. The reason why I love it is because it actually expresses the reason why we prefer not knowing where we are going. It can actually be quite terrifying to articulate in very clear terms where it is that we want to go. This is the reason why we often speak in vague terms. The moment we state what we want we become accountable to a clear goal. If I say that I want to make $200,000 this year there is suddenly a clear marker that will announce whether I was successful in my pursuit or not. And we’re usually terrified of being a failure. So we don’t state our goals clearly. And what happens? You obviously don’t reach a goal that you don’t set.
I have experienced a few times, where I had the courage to state a clear goal to a group of other people. Actually stating the goal in definite terms was the most helpful thing I did to reach the goal. When you put something out there and in fact make yourself accountable your entire being begins to operate in a whole different mode. You subconsciously operate with the knowledge that you need to reach this goal. While I haven’t always met the goal that I stated, it always brought me to a very significant increase from what I had achieved in that area before.
Recently, someone called me for advice about a certain situation. It was a situation that had a lot of drama involved. I was trying to help the person see the situation more simply and clearly. I had the advantage that I wasn’t personally involved in the situation. Therefore, I wasn’t caught up in the whirlwind of drama and that this person was caught up in. I asked them a simple question, “What is it that you would like to see happen?” Suddenly, the person was silent. They then said, “I’m not sure what I want to happen.” In this instance, I actually knew what the person wanted to happen. Because they were so caught up in the drama of events, everything was confusing them. I suggested to them that perhaps this is the end result that they are looking for. I then ask them, “is this correct, is this what you would like to see happen?” They said, “that’s exactly what we would like to happen.” I then asked them, “So what is it that you need to do to make this happen?” They knew immediately what it is that they need to do. I then advised them to forget about everything else and everyone else involved in this situation and to do the things that they needed to do to get the result that they wanted. Suddenly a very complex dramatic situation was resolved and they achieved what it was that they wanted.
My point, there is a very simple question that we should ask ourselves whenever we have a dilemma. That question is “What is it that I would like to see happen?” “What is it that I would like to see happen?” This question realigns us and gives us clarity as to what our goal is. It permits us to focus on that and not get caught up in all of the other secondary things going on around us.
So why don’t we simply ask ourselves this question? This isn’t such a novel piece of advice. Yet, at the same time we so often find ourselves drawn into a situation where we’ve totally lost focus. Our child might say something which outrages us and we simply lose perspective. How dare they say that!? What type of a kid talks that way?! Don’t you dare ever talk to me that way! Our spouse might point a finger at us and blame us for something and suddenly the conversation spirals to point that we both wonder how we got from there to here.
Actually, the other night I was talking with my wife and I mentioned that someone from a certain school called and I couldn’t talk so they’ll be calling me back. She asked why they called. They hadn’t actually told me why they were calling so I didn’t know. I told my wife why I think they called. She felt they were calling for another reason. So I jokingly said, “great, now we’re going to spend the night fighting because some guy decided to call and didn’t tell me why he’s calling,” and we both had a very healthy laugh. It was funny because we were both able to envision a couple ruining their night over something completely irrelevant that they got caught up in. There was no chance this would happen to us in this instance but believe me, it’s happened to me too many times.
Here’s the deal. The more anchored we are from within, the more we walk into every conversation with a clear perspective and the more difficult it is for us to become derailed. The more anchored we are from within, the less affected we are from without.
As my dear friend, Dr. Avraham Leedes wisely taught me, many unhealthy people thrive on drama. Make sure you are always standing on the periphery of their whirlwind. Their every intention is to get you drawn in. When we ask ourselves, “What is it that I would like to see happen,” we remind ourselves that it surely isn’t spending the next 20 minutes arguing with this drama. So, I’d like to leave you with this question, and I hope you ask it of yourself in every situation or conversation that you are in. “What is it that I would like to see happen?” and simply stay on course with only that.