1 Question that can change your future

So you're familiar with the expression “If money was no object...”? You use the expression to ask what someone desires when you think their decision is currently being influenced by their financial situation. You allow yourself to entertain the thoughts of what you would do if money was non-existent, or in limitless supply. Sometimes you allow these thought for no other reason than lavish fantasies for entertainment. But it can also be good to think this way because your finances can keep you from living a different kind of life.   There is a scene in Mike Judge's movie “Office Space” where Peter says that the guidance counselors in high school used to ask what they would do with their lives if money was no object. The purpose of this exercise was to find a career that they would love, and not one that they would pursue for the money. My point is that allowing these thoughts to play out, can be an important exercise, because when you see things from this perspective, you may learn something about yourself and what you really want in life.

I have found that if you modify this expression, it can change the way you think about your future.    Get a pen and paper, and start a list - with this question at the top:

What would you do with your life if work was no object?

When I say “work”, I am referring to time and energy.   I am referring to countless hours, days, months, or years of hard work – blood, sweat, and tears – keeping yourself awake in front of a pile of books – learning, training, and practicing for what it is that you're after. And for however long it takes.

As it was a revealing exercise to think what you would do if “money was no object”, it can be even more revealing to think of what you would do if “work was no object”. Let's look at two reasons why. But first, a warning – HYPOTHETICAL NEGATIVITY AHEAD

  • You want to have worked.

    • Think of how proud you would be of your accomplishments after all of that hard work. Think of what people would say about you, knowing that you built yourself up from where you began. And they would also know how hard you must have worked. They would all respect the hell out of you for it. And they would all wish they could do what you did.   Is this an important part of winning to you?

    • Now think about your current life goals. What if it was easy for you to achieve them and everyone knew it? What if you didn't have to work hard to reach your goal? And nobody would respect you as much as the others in your position.   Would you still want it?  

    • How much of your desire to win is so that you and others would know what you accomplished? Does it surprise you? Do your aspirations betray you? What is the actual goal here? Is it to be fit, successful, or just happy? Is impressing others a part of what you seek?

  • Work can be intimidating.

    • If you are thinking that you want to become a computer programmer, but you barely know the basics of one or two programming languages, it can be intimidating to consider the amount of work that you must do in order to become an employable computer programmer. Especially if you have a spouse and children. Is it worth it? Is it even possible?

    • Not only is it scary to think about doing the work, but then there's the prospect of failure. What if you can't do it? What if you're not smart enough, too busy, not motivated enough to succeed?

This is the kind of thinking that we are here to destroy. But in order to plow through our fears, we must first understand and acknowledge them. And this is why you are asking yourself, “If work was no object...” Make a list with this question at the top. And then take some time to hypothesize what you would do if work was not a factor in your life plans. For the purposes of this exercise, the fear of work, and the pride of work are not a factor.

Now when you have this list filled out, think – Did the absence of work change what you thought you wanted? Did it make you more excited about something that you do want? Did it change the priorities of your goals? Did you remember something that you have all but written off as impossible?

Now that you have looked at your goals from a different angle, trust me when I say it is possible for you to succeed. You just have to address that thing standing in your way.