The Disconnect Between What We Say We Want and What We're Willing to Pursue



Jul 17, 20233 min read


The Disconnect Between What We Say We Want and What We're Willing to Pursue

Why do we claim to want things but never fully pursue them? It's a common phenomenon that many of us have experienced at some point in our lives. We declare our desires, set goals, and talk about what we want to achieve. However, when it comes down to actually putting in the work and making the necessary sacrifices, we often fall short. This begs the question: do we really want the things we say we want?

It's essential to distinguish between two types of "want": the superficial want that sounds nice and the deep want that requires a thorough examination of tradeoffs. The former is easy to express, as it stems from a fleeting desire or momentary inspiration. We might say we want to learn a new skill, start a business, or travel the world. But have we truly considered the sacrifices and tradeoffs associated with these pursuits?

To gauge how much we genuinely want something, we must honestly evaluate the tradeoffs required to achieve it and determine if we're willing to make those sacrifices. Wanting something deeply implies a willingness to commit, to persevere through challenges, and to prioritize the desired outcome over immediate gratification. It's a mindset that embraces the inevitable difficulties and setbacks that come with pursuing meaningful goals.

In the context of personal growth, a suitable example is Pinterest's mission. The company aims to bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love. Initially, Pinterest started as a tool for individuals to collect their passions online. However, they soon discovered that the real joy came from being inspired by what others shared and applying that inspiration to their own lives. Pinterest became a visual discovery engine, a platform where people could find and do what they love.

Pinterest's evolution highlights the importance of not only collecting inspiration but also taking action. It's not enough to merely want something or gather ideas; true fulfillment comes from actively pursuing and implementing those ideas into our lives. Pinterest enables users to discover useful and relevant things that inspire them to take action, ultimately bridging the gap between desire and execution.

So, how can we ensure that we genuinely want what we say we want? Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Reflect on tradeoffs: Before committing to a goal or desire, take the time to reflect on the potential tradeoffs involved. Consider the sacrifices you'll need to make, whether it's time, energy, or other resources. Are you willing to make those tradeoffs? Be honest with yourself and assess if the desired outcome is worth the sacrifices.
  • 2. Set realistic expectations: It's crucial to set realistic expectations when pursuing your goals. Understand that progress takes time and effort, and setbacks are inevitable. Embrace the challenges and setbacks as part of the journey, rather than viewing them as reasons to give up. By managing your expectations, you'll be better equipped to stay committed and motivated in the long run.
  • 3. Take consistent action: Wanting something is not enough; you must take consistent action towards your goals. Break down your aspirations into smaller, actionable steps and commit to taking those steps regularly. Consistency is key in turning your desires into reality.

In conclusion, we must be honest with ourselves about what we truly want and the sacrifices we're willing to make to achieve it. Superficial wants may sound nice, but they lack the commitment and perseverance required for real progress. By evaluating tradeoffs, setting realistic expectations, and taking consistent action, we can bridge the gap between our aspirations and our actions, ultimately creating a life we love. So, let's not just say we want something; let's actively pursue it with determination and dedication.


  1. "Do We Really Want the Things We Say We Want? - Nick Wignall", (Glasp)
  2. "Company", (Glasp)

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