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Wanting it and wanting it now

I want to publish at least one book a year. I want to travel the world. I want to go to Mars. And I want a million other things. We all do. If I stopped anyone on the road and asked her what she wanted, sh'll be able to tell me at least five things off the top of her head. And five hundred if I give her an hour to think about it first.

It is natural to want things. Without desire and ambition, we are aimless. And I use ambition here not just in terms of wanting to advance in one's career and make money, but in a broader sense of wanting to be better and to do better at whatever it is that matters to us.

But, most of us don't get most of the things that we want. Because there is a difference between wanting something and wanting something now.

When we say we want something, it is usually something that we want right now. Because we see an immediate gap that needs to be filled. We see others having something and feel that it would be nice to have that ourselves. We see an advertisement and think that it would be good to have it.

What we want now, we try to procure in the quickest and cheapest possible manner. If I want to travel the world now, I will find a way to take a sabbatical and spend three months flying from one part of the world to another and visiting every country for a day or two. But if I just want to travel the world without the now, I will spend several months in each country, imbibing the local culture and living there before moving to the next.

When we want something now, we may not always want it later. The 'now' plays an important part. Owning a house now might be a lot more important than doing it when sixty years old.

But when we just want something, we do what it takes to get there even if it takes years and years.

Take the hundreds of things that you want and divide them into two lists. One that you want and one that you want now.

The things that you want now are things that can be thrown away. They are merely distractions. You can get something functional for items on this list. You just need what won't block you from working towards the things on the other list.

Startups should do this exercise too. The ones that focus on the things they want will go on to become successful and long-standing companies. While the ones that focus on the things they want now will go bust.

Think about the things you want and what list you would put them on.

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