Do You Really Want It?

Door To Brick Wall
What do you see–a barrier or an opportunity?

A while ago, I ran into one of my old coworkers at the grocery store.

We used to work together at the soul-destroying hellhole that I’ve described in other blog posts in the past. I haven’t seen this woman at all since I left that place for good many years ago, and I was very curious to find out if she was still working there.

One thing that I knew for sure was that she hated at working at that place as much, if not more, than I did.

Surely, she escaped and was joyfully working in a happy and healthy work environment, right?


Here’s a brief nugget from our conversation in the grocery store:

Me: “Hey, so are you still working at (company that is so wretched and awful that it cannot be named)?”

Ex-coworker (obviously embarrassed): <Deep sigh>“Yeah I am, but…”

To be honest, I stopped listening at that point.

I know that sounds harsh, but let me explain.

For close to two years while I worked with this woman, I would to listen to her complain nonstop about how much she hated that job and how her health was declining each day that she worked there. Countless times, I listened to her cry at my cubicle about how horribly the company was treating her, and how she vowed “on her kids” (her words, not mine) to quit.

Each time, I offered her suggestions, helped her tighten up her resume–and after I quit, I even hooked her up with a couple of interviews too.

None of it mattered.

Every time she had an opportunity to leave, she kept inventing stories as to why she had to stay. She even no-showed for both of the interviews that I hooked her up with.

Hopefully you can see why I wasn’t interested in listening to another one of her fairy tales.

“Shola, I’m planning to quit within the next few weeks or so. I’m sooooooo done with this place.”

Yeah, sure you are.

She has been there for close to 15 years, and according to her, each year is worse than the previous one. She constantly talks about how much she hates working there and how she wants to quit more than anything. Even though she has had plenty of opportunities to walk away in the past–predictably, she’s still there.

For the life of me, I never understood why–but now I completely get it.

It’s because she doesn’t really want to quit. She just kinda wants to quit.

Believe me, there’s a huge difference between the two.

The Difference Between Really Wanting it and Kinda Wanting it

If you have 2 1/2 minutes to spare, please stop reading at this point and check out the video below.

You know me, I won’t steer you wrong–it’s an absolutely epic video. It’s called “I Still Have a Soul” and if you think that it’s a video about boxing, you couldn’t be any more wrong.

It’s a video about the power of the human spirit.

The dude in that video? He really wants it.

My ex-coworker on the other hand? She just kinda wants it.

If you ever want to know the easiest and most accurate way to tell the difference between someone who really wants it vs. someone who kinda wants it, all that you have to do is look for one tiny thing:


When you’re in that mental state of really wanting something, there is no doubt that you will figure out a way to make it happen no matter what it takes (I’ll prove this point later on in this post).

My ex-coworker and I used to be the exact same situation:

  • We both hated our jobs with a passion.
  • We would sometimes spend our lunch hours plotting our escape as if we were locked away in a prison for crimes that we didn’t commit.
  • We both slowly noticed our happiness and sanity slowly fading with each passing day in that hellhole.
  • We even shared tears together once as the pain of working there became unbearable for both of us.

That is where our similarities ended.

When it was time to take action and save my sanity, I quit and never looked back. Even though I hated my job with the fire of a thousand suns, please believe that it wasn’t easy to walk away from my only source of income at the time.

But I did it anyway.

I did it because I really wanted (understatement of the decade) to regain my health, sanity and happiness, and I was willing to do anything to make it happen. The quote below says it best:

If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” -Jim Rohn

Finding Excuses

My ex-coworker didn’t find a way.

Even though she was (and still is, I’m guessing) as miserable there I was, when the time for action came, she chose to make excuses instead:

  • “My commute to work is so easy right now, I don’t want a job with a crappy commute.”
  • “Starting over in a new job is hard. I’m an expert here. If I left, I’d have to start all over again.”
  • “I heard that we are going to hire a new CEO in the next few months, so maybe things will finally get better around here once he/she gets hired.”
  • “What if I hate my new job more than this one? At least I know what to expect here each day.”
  • “Sorry that I couldn’t make it to the interviews that you scheduled for me–something came up.”

Like I said before, she kinda wants it.

The idea of a better life always sounds awesome–that’s the easy part. But does the necessary action sound awesome too? Even if the necessary action doesn’t sound awesome, are you willing to do it anyway? 

To me, that is the key difference between really wanting it and kinda wanting it.

The guy in the video above explained it flawlessly without even saying a word.

The Brick Wall Challenge

Below is one of my all-time favorite quotes, courtesy of Randy Pausch’s legendary Last Lecture:

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” -Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Remember when I said earlier that I would prove to you that if you really want something, you’ll find a way to make it happen no matter what? Let’s get to it.

I want you to imagine a hypothetical scenario. Take a look at the picture at the top of this blog post.

Let’s say that the person who you love the most on this earth is on the other side of that brick wall.

It could be your child, your significant other, your parents, your sibling, your best friend, your pet–it doesn’t matter who it is, just picture your loved one is on the other side of that brick wall.

Here’s where it gets interesting:

What if I told you that you will never see your loved one again unless you figure out a way to bust down that wall?

What would you do once you heard that news?

Would you go into “kinda wanting it” mode and defeatedly say:

“Well damn, I really love (person’s name), but there’s no way that I’m going to bust that wall down. But hey, at least I have a pretty cool photo album of (person’s name) on my phone that I can look at whenever I’m really missing them…”

Probably not–unless you’re the sorriest coward who has ever disgraced the face of the earth.

You will bust down that wall if it takes the rest of your life. You WILL find a way.

I know that if one of my daughters was on the other side of that wall, that wall could be on fire, covered in razor wire and guarded by poisonous snakes–please trust that I’m busting down that wall by any means necessary.

Will it be easy?

Seriously?! Who cares if it’s easy? As I’ve said before, needing it to be easy is clearest sign of a person who is not ready.

We should expect a challenge when we’re going after our dreams. We should expect to put up a fight for the life that we deserve.

Most importantly, we should expect to win while we’re doing it.

What Do You Really Want?

You felt what it was like to really want something when your loved one was hypothetically on the other side of an imaginary brick wall.

Specifically, I’m talking about that feeling where failure was not option. I’m talking about the feeling where you will either get what you want or you will die trying.

Here’s the good news:

You can tap into feeling whenever you want.

From that very simple exercise, it’s my hope that you just realized that all of the focus, all of the drive and all of the determination that you need already lives within you. If you choose to, you can harness that power to achieve that one thing that you know that you must do: Lose weight, get out of debt, find inner peace, literally anything.

The key is to really want something, and not to just “kinda” want it like most people.

So, here’s my question for you: What do you really want?

I’m not saying that getting it will be easy, but that’s not important.

Like Randy Pausch alluded to in his lecture, expecting it to be “easy” is for the other people.

The best part of all is that once you decide that you really want something instead of kinda wanting it, you will find strength, courage and an unshakable resolve inside of you that you didn’t even know existed.

It’s something that the other people will never experience.

But you will.

Your Turn

Is there an area of your life where you need to switch from “kinda” wanting it mode, to really wanting it? If so, jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!

20 thoughts on “Do You Really Want It?”

  1. Yes
    We should search for opportunity, and strongly without any fear , we should go and get it…
    For that we need to accept change …

  2. Powerful video and message, Shola!

    I agree. Kinda wanting something is not going to motivate anyone! It’s all in or not worth doing, in my world.

    As for your former co-worker, I don’t know that she even kinda wants it. My guess is that, if it required zero effort with no discomfort, she would leave that company. But that is not the same as wanting it.

    She has not hit that “pain of no more” that you talk about. She is still comfortable in her own misery. And that is her loss. No one deserves blame for that but her.

    Thank you for motivating us every week. It is a shame that she has wasted your help and influence. I completely understand why you quit listening.

    Have a spectacular week, Shola! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and your Solutionists! Bring on the Irish Soda Bread and Green Beer! (nah, I don’t like green beer, but it looks fun!) 😉

  3. I loved this piece. Cannot tell you how much I needed to read this. I’ve been tossing around running a marathon. As a full time mom, time without kids is limited and I won’t sacrifice time with them if I don’t have to. Got some soul searching to do, and this piece helps me a ton. Thanks! Your timing is impeccable 🙂

  4. Good morning Shola,

    I have to admit the video made me tear up a bit. I also have to admit I’ve been making excuses. I had to look at myself in the mirror after reading this and ask “do you really want it.” The answer was yes. I’ve been focusing too much on “getting a job that supports me” rather than finding ways to make a living from my creative endeavors. It dawned on me as I was working on a painting…my cat Pepe decided he wanted to contribute by laying right on top of it…that he is the real artist. He didn’t think about it – he wanted to – so he did. I am launching a new campaign – Pepe’s Paws. So if you see me on Venice Beach selling postcards of my cat’s feet – stop and pat me on the head!

    As always, thanks for the inspiration!

  5. This is another great post and the video was good too. Right now, I know what I want right now, lucid dreams. I must also admit that I have kinda wanted them. I have had six of them, they were all beautiful and brought great happiness to me. However the ability to lucid dream takes much practice and dedication. I have tried some of the lucid dreaming steps but decided to stop because they were difficult. How childish and stupid of me 😉 I mean the dream journals, the reality checks, the dream signs the whatever. I tried doing them but no luck, so just like a loser I quit. Even though, I managed to get six of them, I just kinda wanted them because I wasn’t trying hard enough. But you know, this post motivates me to try harder, I know with belief and dedication plus hard work, I’ll be a lucid dreamer, maybe even a master lucid dreamer. Now I know I was just half desiring, I didn’t really want it, just like I didn’t really want to learn how to sing. Thanks to your words Shola, I am motivated to try harder. Thanks so much! 🙂

  6. Oh Shola, as usual I have a bit to say about your topic of the week, because as usual, you are so Right On. I think I was born with a huge blessing, because somehow I always understood that, once 18 and out of the house, I could make my own life. It was difficult and extremely painful, yet I always plodded along, knowing that eventually I would figure it out. It has been an eye-opener along the way, to meet so many people who do not take the initiative to make necessary changes. The hardest part for me to understand is that usually, I perceive these people to have more going on for them than I do. If someone as dense and messed up as me can get an education, change jobs, reject abusive friends and partners, relocate when it suits my needs, then really, a chimpanzee can do it. Seriously, I came from a place of being an acutely damaged, barely functioning human being. I see so many people with good support networks, high intelligence, fantastic resumes, yet they are in miserable ruts, and full of excuses. That I why I say it is a blessing, that I always understood I could choose my path, and choose the quality of my journey. I don’t know how to get through to those who “kinda” want it, but not enough to own it. It’s like many people have a different view of life, that it is just a train that has left the station, and they are the caboose, not the conductor. Shola, this may be one of the hardest messages to get across, and God Bless You for taking it up with us. I sincerely hope that anyone who “kinda” wants to make a change will read all the posts that will be here, and then maybe feel encouraged to see their potential more optimistically. Thank you for putting this on the table, and have a great week.

  7. Thank you, Shola! Last time I get used to answer this question more than once a day. My lovely PhD studies… and first amounts of a really free time after 6 years of student’s life. And I have to spent this brilliant free minutes wherever I want))) Believe me, this choise is the hardest part of my day! Because I have simply forgotten what I want. So, I’m trying, I’m looking for interesting things and events. And this month I have had first results! It needn’t to be easy, yeah) Tired and happy, Olenka.

  8. Years ago, I read a quote somewhere: “If you want something, you’ll find a way; if not, you’ll find an excuse” — this basically sums it up, I think… 🙂

    Kind regards, Anneke

  9. Hello and welcome to the week!
    Another great posting from you. I have to add that I have asked co-workers point-blank “if you are so unhappy here, why do you stay?”. I don’t do it to be mean, but sometimes you need to point out what is obvious. I KNOW I do not want to spend my life being unhappy if there is a choice to be made. . It is said that being happy is a choice and I agree with it.

  10. Your post is going to be on my mind a lot today Shola, as I challenge myself to commit to doing something about a road block to my happiness. I’ve allowed this ‘brick wall’ to stop me going after what I really want for so long that I am shocked (and embarrassed) at how many excuses I have accumulated… Thank you!

  11. Spot on! I have a coworker that has a complaint for everything under the sun. I think ALL work places have one. I saw a movie recently that named these people the ‘designated work a-holes’ at an office! LOL.. However, YES I want to leave this job and move up in my field.. but I am my only source of income to support myself. Not and excuse for me, a fact. However, reading this blog helped me to reflect on rather or not I have made ‘excuses’ to stay here. I have lost count of the interviews I have gone on trying to find a new position in my field.. going on a year. But, I have also discovered that what you make of it, is how you achieve being positive at a work place that is far from that. I am ignored 100% now, better than being bullied by them. So be it.. I smile, share compliments, thank them.. etc. In return I receive silence and the complainer.. she just complains every day. Does it grind on my nerves.. HELL YES! Do I let it bother me when I leave here in the afternoons any more? HELL NO! LOL… So, I have found a comfortable spot in my mind while in the office to keep me smiling and cheerful.. POSITIVE while looking for a new job. Wish I could walk out right now and never look back, but then I would be homeless.. which would be a lot worse than dealing with being ignored. Hey, at least it has gotten better than being bullied! Just wanted to share this knowledge for anyone miserable at their place of business.. you can find your ‘happy place’ to see you through if you are in a situation where you have to find a job before quitting one! Will keep you sane, trust me!

  12. Very excellent message! My excuse…or not, is that things like getting out of debt often requires two people. For example, my husband and me. Many folks assume that as the woman, I am the spender. NOT. We love each other very much, married for 25 years to our debt. Counselors, books (Dave, Susie) and countless false starts. No good. Blame, tears, resignation. Is this sounding like your co-worker?
    Love you Shola. You have great messages for those of us who listen and ACT.

  13. You are describing me and a previous co-worker here. I made the jump after many (many) years and with nothing else to go to (i.e. no income) because my scenario was exactly as you’ve described. I couldn’t stay in the toxic environment for another second. And while it’s only been a few months, I have not looked back. I miss a lot of people, and a close colleague is like your co-worker – she is ‘going to leave’ too but hasn’t yet. I need to move onwards and upwards now, and regardless of being unemployed, I prefer to start fresh from a place of necessity than still be in a soul destroying vortex with all the excuses in the world not to leave it.

  14. yes, to answer to your question Shola, :’Is there an area of your life where you need to switch from “kinda” wanting it mode, to really wanting it? Yes, i am a late sleeper, very late, even sleep 4am in the morning and i start work at 10am. everyday that late is bad for health and of course affect work as well. This habit has been with me since young, i kinda always wanted to change but never succeed. I realise because i only kinda want it, and hence i have give many many excuses. so i have to ask myself, do i really want to change to a better sleeping habit or only just kinda want it, oh it is ok not to change, just if i can good, it not is ok. which one do i want. i wanted to tell yo Shola now, that i really wanted to have a good sleeping habit.

  15. Hi Shola,
    I felt very moved by this article. It really resonated with me because I know I have experienced the difference between going full force after something I want. I am writing a similar article about staying committed to your goals and I was wondering if you would be willing to contribute a quote about really wanting to achieve your goal.

    Let me know if you interested and I will of course link back to your blog.

    Thank you,


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Hi! I am Shola

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Over a decade ago, I was drowning in the despondency of yet another workday. My success as the top regional performer had been numbed by a culture of incessant workplace bullying. And, I’d recently made the situation worse by filing a formal complaint. In short, I was collateral damage in a company without the process or intention to address my experience.

Exhausted from the drama, with an unrecognizable version of myself at the wheel, I intentionally swerved off the interstate in an attempt to take my own life. But in that half-second, my reflexes responded, and I yanked the wheel away from disaster. As I clipped the guardrail on I 405, something changed...

I uncovered a power within myself

...a burning desire to reverse a trend that happens daily to sixty-five million people in this country alone. This catalyst has since become Go Together™ Movement - a transformational roadmap of mindset, behaviors, and tools that transform workplace cultures and drive results.

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