Many years ago, someone once asked the prolific television, film and comic book writer J. Michael Straczynski how he created drama for his characters. His answer was intriguing. He said that all you had to do was ask the same questions of each of the characters in the story:
- Who are you?
- What do you want?
- What are you willing to do to get it?
- What is someone else willing to do to stop you?
Once those questions are answered, the drama takes care of itself. It’s a powerful idea, and considering JMS’ long history of successful projects such as Sens8, Babylon 5 and Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future (yes, I said Captain Power), it would appear to be a formula that works.
The most intriguing of those queries – and, as it turns out, the gravimen of my text – is the third one: “What are you willing to do to get it?” Or put another way, “How badly do you want it?”
We all know that “discover your why” is powerful voodoo when reaching for your dreams in life and in business.
However, your “why” can sometimes be difficult to determine. “Because I really want it” is not nearly enough, and when you drill down with multiple whys, it can feel like you’re staring into the Mandelbrot set – an endless descent into infinity. Pretty, but hardly useful.
There’s another way to determine your why. Ask yourself, “What am I willing to sacrifice to get what I want?”
“Now just a gosh-darned minute! Why do I have to sacrifice anything? Can’t I have it all?” An interesting question my dear incisive inquisitor, and one that hinges entirely on a single word: “all.”
If by “all” you mean limiting beliefs and excuses, then no, you can’t have it all. You may even have to sacrifice things you love to make your dreams happen. If you want to live full time in San Francisco, you may have to give up that timeshare on Mars. A sad reality, but such is life. (That said, the real estate on Mars is a hell of a lot cheaper than San Francisco. Holy Rice-a-Roni Batman!)
Anyway, reaching your goals will require more than just happy thoughts and big dreams. Even passion will only take you so far. You need to take decisive action, and you need to answer a very simple but very potent question:
“How badly do you want it?”