How to figure out what you really want in life

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

What if i want something else?

How to know what i really want in life?
How do i know that i really want what i think i want?
What guarantees that when i get what i want i will feel happy?

Do these questions come to your mind often? If they do then like so many people you are a bit confused when it comes to understanding your real needs.

Before you can understand what you really want in life you need to know about a concept called the style of life. According to Individual psychology the style of life is the unique, unconscious and repetitive way a person responds to the important problems of life.

A popular example of a style of life is the desire to be in the center of attention. If the person who developed that life style went to school he would want every kid and teacher to notice him. He may accomplish that goal by being the first if he was brave enough or he could accomplish the same goal by doing something useless such as being problem child.

When that Same kid starts work he would still want to be in the center of attention and if he had enough courage he might pursue a career that allows him to get that attention he needs such as being an actor or a singer.

Now did you notice anything about that person's goals?
His goals change whenever he enters a new stage of life.

Your wants will keep changing but your style of life will always be the same

So back to your questions. How do you know that you will be happy if you got what you think you want?
You will certainly be happy as long as you are still in the same phase of life but as you move to another phase your wants will change and you will have to set new goals.

Here is another example of a famous style of life which is the desire to be the first. The person who develops that style of life will only feel happy if he found himself among the best in each of the life phases he goes through. When it comes to college he would want to get the best grades, when it comes to work he would want to have the best career and when it comes to marriage he would want to have the best wife. (see also How childhood experiences affect adulthood

Note that the goals the person sets in each stage are based on his beliefs about the importance of those goals. For example if during high school that person thought that being popular makes him more worthy than being the first then he might only focus on being popular in school while ignoring his studies.

3 Steps to find what you really want in life

So how to put all of those concepts in practical steps?

  • 1) Understand your Style of life/unconscious goals: Do you think people are aware of their unconscious goals? Well here is a surprise: The majority of people aren't even aware of their unconscious goals and this is why they don't know what they want in life. The first step to find what you want in life is to analyze your past and know exactly what your style of life is
  • 2) Know that your goals will change: With each Major new phase of life your goals will change but your Style of life will be the same. If for example your Unconscious goal was to always be the first then you got married and had a kid then most probably your new goal will be making your kid the best among other kids.
  • 3) Move towards those goals with all the power you have: In my book, The ultimate guide to getting over depression i said that your mind will always use the different emotions to keep you on the right track. If you ignored your important needs and wants then your mind will use anxiety, fear, stress and even depression to bring you back on track. In short, don't go against who you are or give up because the outcome will be severe emotional pain

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