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
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.
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!