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What We Have to Do Vs. How We Want to Be

A main issue a lot of us seam to be experiencing is that we see “What we have to do” and “How we want to be” as two separate and conflicting things.

We have been trained to think this way from day one so it is our normal way of seeing everything. We are trained to focus all of our attention and energy on “What we have to do” and little to none on “How we want to be” so our patterns of thinking, believing and doing get really good at only the “what we have to do” category.

It’s like we are experts at putting all our attention and energy on “What we (think) we have to do” and we have almost no experience in being “How we want to be”. It’s like “How we want to be” isn’t even an idea we know how to consider.

Think about all the things you were continually taught to focus your attention and energy on growing up: school, church, chores, homework, tests etc. You can even see almost your entire child hood as a long continuous training camp of “What you have to do”.

Now look at what you are taught to focus on as an adult: work, money, taxes, kids, family, church, etc.

For most of us these things now all feel like things we “Have to Do” not as “How we want to be” simply because that’s how we have been trained to experience life.

The idea of considering “How we want to be” doesn’t even come up except as a mind fuck to take you back to “What you have to do”. Let me explain:

As a kid you were just told to focus all your attention and energy on “What you have to do”. Anytime you ask why, the answer was usually “because I said so” or “because you have to” or “because everyone else has to”.

As you got older, if you were more persistent in asking why and those answers above didn’t satisfy you, then you got the next answer cleverly designed to take you right back to “What you have to do” but now in a way where you would believe you were choosing to go back there. Here’s how it works:

You ask the question: “Why do I have to do this?” the new answer is “Well, who do you want to be?” (not “how” do you want to be). You think through the available options (and the only options you are aware of are adults who have been trained only in the “what we have to do” skill) and you pick the one that seems most likely to allow you to be “How you want to be”.

You tell them your new choice of “who you want to be” and they say; “great now here’s what you have to do to get there”. And now you’re right back to “What you have to do” only now with the added burden of believing that you chose to be there and not understanding why it doesn’t feel any different than just doing what you were told in the first place.

This is all just a control game that we have all accepted without even realizing it. We have even started to pass this game on to our kids.

The reason so many of us don’t feel fulfilled might be that we simply want to be “How we want to be” but we don’t know how to do it because we are so well trained in “What we have to do” and every time we try to step out and be “How we want to be” we get caught in the “Who do you want to be” trap.

One key to breaking this pattern might be to begin asking a few different questions of yourself:

1)    Anytime you catch yourself asking: “What do I have to do” or “Who do I want to be” replace it with “How do I want to be NOW”

“How do I want to be NOW” is really the answer you might be looking for. It plugs you back into your power right now. You don’t have to wait for some time in the future and it doesn’t require that you do anything you don’t want to.

2)    In order to sustain this feeling over time, ask yourself “What is the smallest next step that I want to take in being how I want to be now?” or the shorter version: “What do I feel like doing right now?”

This takes you out of the game of acting out some long term plan in pursuit of a mental image of a future you where you might finally get to feel how you want to feel. It also will keep your energy from being stolen for someone else’s agenda.


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