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The eternal ”Want – Should” conflict
- octombrie 19, 2020
- Posted by: Laura Dragomir
- Category: Blog
How to find the balance between ”want” and ”should”?
Let me give you some insights on the want-should conflict and the implications for everybody.
People often behave as if they possess multiple selves with different, competing interests—the „want-self” versus the „should-self”.
demands instant gratification while the should-self looks to longer-term interest.
The „multiple selves” metaphor resonates with many people because most of us regularly struggle with choices between 2 options, one of which we know we should choose because it would be virtuous to do so, and one of which we want to choose to satisfy our desires.
The want-self is myopic and desires instant gratification. If left to its own devices, the want-self would always act on immediate, visceral desires (for example – spending instead of saving money, eating junk food instead of health food).
on the other hand, prefers to behave in a way that will maximize long-run benefits. If left to its own devices, the should-self would always act on behalf of an individual’s long-term best interests.
Of course, sometimes want and should are on the same page.
But it is important to understand the difference between should do something because someone else decided so for you, and want do something because that’s what you decided.
If someone else has decided for you, against your desire or values, you will do something as an obligation.
And guess what!
If it doesn’t work out, you won’t take the consequences and, more importantly, you won’t learn the lesson and you’ll be tempted to make the same mistake in the future.
Remember! People learn lessons only from the mistakes they feel are due to them.
As many things in life and business, in the battle between want-self and should-self, timing is everything.
You’re unlikely to get everything you want. That’s a good thing, because wants are part of what define us. It’s entirely possible that you’ll get most of what you need, however.
The trick is in being clear about what you put into each category.
In the end, I would like to tell you this: if you have more than one BIG reason to do something, just don’t do it.
By invoking more than one BIG reason, you are trying to convince yourself to do something. Obvious decisions (robust to error) require no more than a single BIG reason.
And when you decide to do something, do it!
It may have turned out over the years that you didn’t make the best choice, but be gentle with yourself.
You, the one now, are no longer you, the one who was in the past, and the context isn’t the same. So, if you want or should do something, do it!
At least you know you tried and you won’t be bothered by the question:
”What would it be like if I tried?”