You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need. — The Rolling Stones
Probably one of the most famous lyrics of all time. It rings true in my life every day.
I grew up with 3 moms and 3 dads. I was born over a decade after my brother and sister were born, so they and their spouses were all more like parents to me than siblings. They were very protective. I remember my sister telling my mom that she spoiled me too much. I always got what I wanted. Even now, in my husband’s words: “Baby gets what baby wants.” He thinks I still always get what I want. I beg to differ…
As you get older, it gets more difficult to get what you want. Unless you’re really cute, if you bat your eyes and thrust out those pouty lips, you probably won’t get the same reaction as a 5 year old. If you throw a fit in the middle of a shopping mall, you’ll probably be escorted out by the police. As an adult, getting what you want actually takes some work. No matter what situation you’re in, here are 4 general rules of thumb to follow when going after something you really want:
1. Be committed.
You can’t halfway attempt something and expect to get what you want out of it. Any effort takes long-term commitment and dedication. If I want to get better at music, I have to be committed to the goal and set aside time every day to master the art. If my husband wants to start a brewery, he’s going to have to spend a lot of time mastering, not just the art of brewing beer, but the business of running a company that brews and sells its own beer. All of us have unique, God-given talents, but it takes commitment and work to develop those talents into skills we can use. Once you’ve developed your skills, the key is sticking to your goal and seeing it through. I know a lot of people who tend to change their minds when they don’t see immediate results. It takes time. If you hop from one thing to the next, you’ll never find your niche.
2. Own up to your mistakes.
If you make a mistake, own up to it. Plain and simple. Fear often keeps us from admitting our mistakes. Sometimes we even go so far as to place the blame on others. But if you’re not willing to admit your failures and learn from them, you’ll never grow.
3. Be generous.
Millionaire Zig Ziglar said “you can have everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Put others before yourself in everything you do, and do it without expecting to get anything out of it. If you offer to help a friend, do it without asking anything in return. When you give, give generously and don’t think about yourself or what you want. Help others fulfill their dreams, and believe that your dreams will come true too.
4. Celebrate the successes of others.
It’s easy for jealousy to creep in when we start to see other people’s dreams coming true before our own. Instead of being envious of others who are successful, celebrate their successes with them. Be excited for them, and allow their excitement to motivate you to reach your goals even faster.
I don’t always get what I want. But it’s true that if I follow these 4 principles when going after the things I want, I’m always happy with the results. Even when I don’t reach my goal, I experience a tremendous amount of personal growth in the process. When I fully commit myself to something, I can be satisfied that I gave it my all, no matter what the outcome. When I admit my failures, I’m less likely to make the same mistakes again. When I give generously, I’m almost always blessed with more than I dished out. And when I celebrate the successes of others, I find happiness in having the privilege to see someone’s dreams come true.
Share your story. How have you found success in life when going after the things you really want?