It’s impossible to know for sure whether you’ll enjoy or appreciate something until you do it. A “miswant” occurs when we pursue something we think we want, but end up disliking. However, miswants can also give us clues as to what we’ll really find fulfilling.
Picture: US Navy
As advice blog The Art of Manliness explains, wants and likes are different things. What we want is something we predict we’ll enjoy. What we like, however, is what we actually find fulfilling. When you discover a time that these come into conflict, that information can help steer you towards better choices in the future. If you’re interning with a company you’ve wanted to work for, but find you hate it, that can indicate you may need to find a job elsewhere. If a relationship is gruelling and stressful in the early months, it might not get better over the long run. When you find something you’ve “miswanted”, identify and keep track of it. One great way to do this is to keep a journal:
A journal can help you get a better idea of what you really like as opposed to what you think you like. Our memories get hazier, and rosier, over time. Whenever you get a hankering to visit New York City again, check your journal entries from the last time you were there to see how you felt about the visit. It may be the case that you didn’t have as great a time as you remember.
You can also consult family and friends who know you to get input on what they think you might really enjoy. Sometimes their memory is better than your own. Test the waters to see what you really like. No one will promise that you’ll be 100 per cent happy with everything you’ll ever do, but the sooner you can identify that something will make you miserable over the long run, the better off you’ll be.
Wants Vs. Likes [The Art of Manliness]