Do something for me right now and ask yourself one thing. Ask yourself: “What is it that I really want?”

I’m not talking about something immediate like a sandwich, or a quickie. I’m talking about something you really, honest-to-god, want for yourself. Maybe you wanted to look ripped, like a fitness model. Maybe you wanted to be the owner of your own paintball store. Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit Buenos Aires.

It’s likely something that scares you. Something that comes with a lot of excuses, like yeah, sure, you want those things, but who has the time? Your job keeps you busy, and Life isn’t that romantic. You have responsibilities, bills to pay, people to take care of. On second thought, you probably don’t really love it, it’s just something fun to do if you ever have the time and the money. Maybe after you’ve retired.

Does that sound familiar?

We all have that nagging voice. We dismiss the things we really want as nothing more than some naive dream, and we repeat our rationalisations like a mantra every time that voice comes up.

And it does, time and time again. You and I both know the voice never really goes away. It mutates, whispering different wants as we grow older, but constantly there nonetheless. And as the years pass by it grows a little bit stronger, making us a little more uncomfortable, because at the back of our minds we know – time is running out.

I believe this is one of the biggest unhappiness in our lives – our unwillingness to be frank with our desires. Admitting to it means we’d have to actively push ourselves out of our comfort zones. That would mean a lot of commitment, sacrifice, a willingness to risk everything, and the courage to fail – all the things we actively avoid.

And yet, the longer we stay in our comfort zone, the less purposeful our lives become. There’s no joy working in a job you don’t believe in. It sucks to be in a relationship which you’re constantly doubting. It’s shameful to always be stuffing your face with comfort food, and then feeling guilty about it when you stand in front of the mirror.

Happiness is when we’re able to be completely transparent about what we want, and then being able to pursue those goals unreservedly.

It’s at this point that our fears of failure begin to paralyse us. Before we even attempt to do anything, we start to question our abilities, wondering whether we’re good enough. We start to doubt our self-worth, thinking that the things we want is something only a lucky few can have.

Here’s the twist though, and I want you to pay attention to this because this is the most crucial point of this article. Whether we’re successful in achieving our goals or not is not actually important – it’s the pursuit which gives meaning and purpose to our lives. 

A waitress serving tables to save money for college and the final-year student taking her exams, they’re both working toward getting a degree. The couch potato on his first day working out, and the professional body builder preparing for a competition, they both want to be fitter. The high-profile investment planner and the person with his startup Ramly burger stall are both looking for greater financial freedom.

Ultimately, all of these people share the same goal. The fact that some are closer to it than others doesn’t matter, because each of them have a strong sense of purpose and enjoy what they do.

Living honestly – that’s the key to really being contented and happy with our lives. 

Now, you try.

No seriously, try it. List down something you want. Write it out on a piece of paper.  I don’t care how ridiculous it is, just put it in writing. Want to be a Muay Thai fighter? Write it down. Want to learn a new language? Write it down. Want to visit Broadway to watch Aida the musical? Write it down.

Have you written it down? Good. Now start working on it.

I don’t care how small that gesture is. Google it. Kickstart your dream fund by adding 1 ringgit to a piggy bank. Tell a friend about what you want to do. Whatever it is, ignore the gaping chasm between your goals and where you are.  The important thing is, you’ve found a purpose in your life. How does that feel?