Have you ever noticed how people answer a question about what they’re looking for… with what they DON’T WANT?
I once had a friend tell me all the things she didn’t want in a boyfriend. I listened as she ran out of breath, collected her thoughts, and CONTINUED RUNNING DOWN HER LIST OF CAN’T-HAVES.
“Well, I don’t want anyone who works in finance,” she told me. “No short guys. No lame Tinder lines, obviously no players. Oh, and if he wears Crocs, forget about it.”
I probably looked like I was deep in thought, but I was just trying to figure out a way to summarily end my life on this planet. I just kept repeating: “Don’t say anything, Ramit. Don’t say anything.”
But I couldn’t help it.
“You have a really long list of things you don’t want,” I finally blurted out. “What about the things you do want?”
She was speechless. She had no idea she was even doing this.
* * *
What the hell is going on here?
Why are people answering questions with what they DON’T WANT?
You’ll see this everywhere — start noticing:
Q: “So you want to lose weight?”
A: “Well yeah… but I don’t want to lift weights or get too bulky.”
Q: “What kind of business do you want to start?”
A: “Yeah, I want to start a real business, not one of those online course sites…I don’t want to be too salesy. I want to keep it small, not a lot of employees.”
Q: “Where do you want to go to dinner tonight?”
A: “Not Thai… maybe pizza… but definitely not Chinese.”
Q: “What kind of job are you looking for?”
A: “I know that I want to help people, but I don’t want to work in marketing any more. I don’t want to work for a big company, either. And I don’t want to work with a terrible boss!”
Think about when you’ve done this. When has someone asked you what you want and you responded with what you DIDN’T want?
Why do we do this? Why do you do this?
The answer isn’t obvious. But if you crack this code, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.
Not someday. I mean this year.
I mean right now.
Welcome to 2017: The Year of Now.
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