The Wikipedia Secret to Getting What You Want
Mindy Tyson McHorse here –
Most people think happiness is found in the pursuit of material wealth. After all, we live in a pretty money-oriented society.
But to figure out what you really want, you need to look past that cliché. Becoming ridiculously wealthy is not a constructive or helpful way to redefine yourself.
It’s important to dig deeper than financial security and luxury. This means you have to go beyond the things people expect you to want (I’ll show you how in just a minute).
My husband, Craig, and I just went through this. Now that we have kids, we realized our current goals are a little shortsighted and frivolous. So we started a notebook and jotted down our life goals. We broke it up into one-year, five-year, and 10-year intervals.
That’s when we realized this was no easy task.
Our first entries were the expected, finance-related ones: pay off all debts … grow our savings … start college funds for the kids.
Pretty boring stuff.
So we added some lifestyle entries: Lose weight. Get in shape. Feed the kids organic stuff. Go on nice vacations.
Dull, dull, dull.
It miffed us that our life goals were things anybody could have come up with. Yet seated next to each other, putting ourselves on the spot, we couldn’t come up with anything better.
That’s when I thought about Wikipedia, one of my favorite go-to resources for ideas and motivation when I’m writing copy. Anybody who’s anybody is listed in Wikipedia (more or less). That makes the site — at the very least — a launch pad for inspiration. (Note: Some might doubt the reliability of the site, but a number of studies have actually proven it has very high standards.)
I sometimes use Wikipedia to look up people I admire and to read their life stories. When I read entries that describe the things I want to do in life, I can almost (and I blush to admit this) see my name at the top — as if it’s my own biography.
That got me to thinking … it’s actually a darn good strategy for helping yourself visualize the kind of life you want to live.
So Craig and I decided to make our own Wikipedia pages.
Once we took that approach, it was a lot easier to fill our notebook with aspirations completely unique to us. Things like road-tripping through South America, finishing a triathlon together, becoming friends with Oprah (that one’s mine), and so on.
The exciting thing that came out of this project was the reassuring knowledge that our goals are possible. I know I can make enough money to afford international travel. I know I can take time off if I want to adopt an intense physical training schedule. And I know that networking with some of the power players in this industry can lead to some of the most unlikely and impressive introductions (maybe not Oprah, but definitely some fascinating individuals!).
And it’s all thanks to living the writer’s life.
Now, I extend the same challenge to you. If there was a Wikipedia page about you, what would you want it to say?
You may not be able to answer the question fully right away. It could take weeks — months, even — of searching. But by starting now, you’ll find it easier to tune in to the things that matter most to you and not the things that everybody says you should do, be, or have.
Once you have this question in your head, you’ll naturally get closer to finding an answer. Then, if you’d like to share it with me, post it in the comments below.
If you’d like some ideas on potential goals, take a look at this article I wrote about 57 Things Other People Want From Life.
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