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Now that You Know Why You’re Cooking, What Will You Cook?


-My takeaway from Jack Canfield’s “How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.”


Now that You Know Why You’re Cooking, What Will You Cook?

Principle 3: Decide What You Want


Canfield quotes Ben Stein who shares a simple truth:

“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.”

That Ben Stein said this reveals an important context to goal setting. Goals need not be fixed for life. They should evolve as you evolve.

Ben Stein had been many things. He had been a speech writer for presidents. A comedian. An actor. A lawyer. A commentator. And an author.

Did he own a keystone goal? Or different goals for the different roles? Or did he designed a set of goals that will fuel every endeavor?

Looking at the different types of challenges he took, I think it’s hard to have a common goal for all. So I will assume that you will have to set new goals for new roles.

The important idea is that you should be clear about what you want before you can get it.

In short, once you have decided [or found] the why, you have to decide the what.

[I happen to think that the why is not a prerequisite to success for everyone, every time. It’s no harm suffering to dig the why, but don’t get stuck for the why. Move on to the what.

I have to admit that I am influenced by a recent TED talk on You Tube. I can’t remember the speaker but it was about mindfulness.

Summarily, you can ask, “Why am I feeling lost?” (as leading to “Maybe, I need to have a purpose in life,”) or you can ask, “What actions must I take to get over feeling lost?” (placing more importance to salvation than understanding. Maybe, one can come back to why after we’re unstuck.)

Don’t get me wrong. “Why” is not at all useless. Why is important if you want to eliminate the root causes to stop repeats. The “why” is important when you’re helpless and have very little tangible to hang on to…ala Viktor Frankl at the concentration camp. Maybe, he did ask the “what” first.

Maybe he asked, “What have I got to do to survive this torture?”  And then he found that one of the five or fifty things is to excavate the “why.”

Whatever. The “why” is not useless. But do not get stuck in the “why” if it takes too long. Develop the vaccine. Don’t dwell on why the virus had to hit us.  Do that and do the vaccine. That is my point.

Find the “why” but don’t let it take too long. The “why” will give you a sense of alignment. The “what” will get you going forward. If you hit a purple patch, you are not going to ask the “why.” You keep rolling.

The “what” beats the “why.” That’s my opinion. But I realize that it is different strokes for different folks. Some are willing to stall with the idea that they can’t move forward without the “why.” It’s fine. I always believe that despite all the results from the neuroscience labs, there are outliers.

One certainty. You can’t get what you want if you do not know what it is you want. Except for a minute percentage of outliers. There may be people who can get what they want without having to want it. It’s a happenstance. A chancy thing.]

Now that You Know Why You’re Cooking, What Will You Cook?
Photo by Aman Upadhyay on Unsplash

What’s the best thing to do now? Let’s get back to Canfield’s Principle 3. Why? Because it’s what I wanted to do. In the first place.

You are encouraged to do some deep thinking. What do you want to do, be and have? Where do you want to be? What does success look like to you?

Define your desires in clear and compelling detail. [Compelling is achieved when you feel the meaning of your desires driving you to take action. Compelling is not just writing in forceful language. You may be persuaded differently. In different tone. Tough love may not cut it.]

[This is the stage where, “don’t be a baby’ is worse than not helping. You would want to embrace babyship. Scream and cry (taking appropriate actions) like a baby, without inhibition (you don’t know and you don’t care) until you get what you want (your goal). Again, I get a not so sure feeling. Mainly with “without inhibition.” Real life, we are governed by rules. May be different rules. None of us are totally free. Even in the freest (or most democratic) of society. It’s a matter of perspective. We are socialist and communist in varying degrees or we are democratic in varying degrees. Totally uninhibited could be a problem in any system. But then, you are expected to get the ‘get it,” the spirit of the teaching. Still, don’t go about pointing a gun at someone even if you want something badly.]

[Parents and teachers get the brunt. For every kid or grown up who are yet successful-the Bhutan ‘yet to be happy’ slant-or who are continuously pursuing success, parents and teachers get the blame for their cautious moves.]

Principle 3 asks; “Were you inhibited by early childhood programming [by parents and teachers?]. The text continues with the analysis. “As a baby, you knew exactly what you wanted… [really? The baby wasn’t reacting to some physical discomfort or FOMO?] and you headed straight toward it with no fear, or was it that fear had no meaning then.]”

The author points out that you were then held back by the don’ts, can’ts, stop and other inhibiting commands.

[Did those risk adverse habits started with the parents and teachers or were they also victims who are brain directed fear evangelists?

Because if you read the people science experts, they talk about we (all of us) inheriting the ancient brain that tries to protect us from all kinds of risks.

Can the parents and teachers help it but to pass down the proven strategies for survival? I am sure they can “un-automate” the habits of evangelizing safe but it takes effort. And inside our heads, it seems there is a constant battle to control the finite energy that is available for the growing agenda and schedules for attention. According to the Duhigg book, we are 40% habits. 40% automated. 40% robotized. See the challenge for parents and teachers?

My point is, while it’s true, parents and teachers may be too much on the side of caution while advising their kids, they are victims too. They do not consciously want to stifle the kids. Parents and teachers are good intention full. And, inhibition is not all bad.]

The reading continues… “After many years of these kinds of sanctions…somehow [we] got stuck trying to figure out what other people wanted us to do.

-We learned to develop the need for approvals in what we want to do and how to behave.

-We started doing things to please other people especially our parents.

The analysis is that soon we are wrapped in layers of directives and instructions, causing our true desires to lose their power.

[As a parent, after years of seasoning with this reasoning, I feel guilty that my children are not supermen now. However, I dilute my guilt with this thinking. The kids are well educated and exposed. They can hold their own in deciding their path. Or only God can help them. They are magnets for tidal waves of unsolicited influences. I believe, even if parents hate to admit, our influence is just better than insignificant. We can only guide by exceptions. If we catch them. (There goes my parenthood score)]

[And now, a word about inhibition. Inhibition is better than the audacity to suggest injecting toxic chemical into your body to thwart a virus or to spread dangerous lies that may cause lives. Occupying the Capitol with a mob is the result of uninhibited emotion.]

Principle 3 provides solutions to reclaim yourself and your true desires. The questions it will answer; “How do you get back what you really want with no fear, no shame or inhibitions? [Feels edgy. No chance of mingling with CEOs, I guess.] “How do you reconnect with your real passion?


You start on the smallest level by honoring your preferences in every situation-no matter how large or small. Don’t think of them as petty. [Do we have a chance to over-rule the intuitive brain? My next subject of interest.] …

Don’t settle for less. Make a choice. Choose you. There were three what questions, I think these two are powerful. “If I did care, which would I prefer? If it did matter, what would I rather do?

The other question is not a clear call to action for me; “If I did know, what would it be?” Canfield also vouches that you can break a habit by practicing the opposite habit.

The author tells a story of a radical concept he learnt from Cherie Carter-Scott, the author of “If Life Is a game, These Are the Rules.” Cherie was handing out different colored notebooks randomly. Jack got a yellow, he didn’t like the color. He was rescued by Cherie who said, “If you don’t like the color of the notebook you have, trade with someone else and get the one you want. You deserve to have everything in your life exactly the way you want it.” [The other way is to want what you have. Can you really trade everything? Can you really have everything exactly the way you want it? Trade All you want but don’t spend too much time if it’s a note book. Take it. Give it to someone who needs a notebook. Buy one that you like, when you are done with the more important stuff.]

To unearth your true wants, you are advised to make a list of 30 things you want to do, 30 things you want to have and 30 things you want to be before you die, to get started. [I managed 30 things combined.]

The other trick recommended is to get a friend to ask you continually for 15 minutes, “What do you want?” Jot down the answers [and then what? I guess it’s to pare down to the real serious ones of wants to you to understand what you truly value.] The exercise ends with this observation, “…wants are true expressions of your core values.”

One of the assuring take-away is that you can make a living doing anything you love. Canfield cites Oprah making a living [gross understatement] hanging out talking to people. Tiger Wood loves to play golf. Ellen DeGeneres loves to make people laugh. Donald trump loves to make deals and build buildings [and many other stunning things. I love to get things done through other people. I used to make a living doing that.]

There are myriad ways to make money in any field you love.

Now that You Know Why You’re Cooking, What Will You Cook?
Photo by Nguy-N-Phuc on Unsplash

…just decide what you would like to do. To close the segment, Canfield promises to show me how to be successful and make money at it. [I am imbued with Seth Godin and The Practice. My success is shipping every day, from today.]

You need to have a detailed vision of where you want to get to. Don’t worry about the how [to get there.] if you are clear on the what, the how will be taken care of. To create a balanced and successful life, your vision needs to include work and career, finances, recreation and free time, health and fitness, relationships, personal goals and contribution to the larger community.

It seems that you have an internal GPS (Global Positioning System) that will take you to your desired destination. All you have to do is decide where you want to go by clarifying your vision, lock in your destination through goal setting, affirmations and visualization, and start moving in the right direction. [This is so reassuring.]

Do not limit your vision in any way. Canfield believes that there are few differences between the superachievers and the rest of the world. The superachievers [my Word keeps asking me break the word. I am not going to because I want to keep it as it appears in the book] simply dream bigger.

By the year just passed [2020] Jack Canfield envisioned that he and Mark Victor Hansen would have sold 1 billion Chicken Soup books and to raise $500 million for charity. [According to the book’s website, not dated, 500 million copies in 43 languages have been sold. It’s there with Harry Potter series. Wow! The proof of dreaming big. Norman Vincent Peale said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”]

If you want success, don’t listen to dream stealers. People who will try to talk you out of your vision.

Visioning Exercise. Get into a meditative state in a comfortable quiet environment and with the aid of relaxing music, close your eyes and create the vision of the ideal state for the seven areas in your life mentioned earlier. Capture the vision in writing as soon as you complete the exercise. Keep reviewing what you have written daily so that your conscious and subconscious minds will keep focused on your vision. This, with the other principles and tools in the book will help you manifest all the different aspect of your vision.

You are encouraged to share your vision with a good friend. When you share your vision, some people will help you to make it happen in ways they can. [Verbatim:] “And most importantly, every time you share your vision, you strengthen your own subconscious belief that you can achieve it.”

[Surely, if you share you vision to those who want to help you, they will know how to help you. There is a school of thought that discourages you from sharing your vision, dream or goal. These gurus think that think that premature praise for your goals will make follow through less likely, among other things. Make your choice.]

Now that You Know Why You’re Cooking, What Will You Cook?
Photo by Ambreen Hasan on Unsplash


Principle 3 Summary: Decide What You Want

To get to where you want to be, you must know the destination. You must decide what you want to get what you want.

Reclaim yourself and your true desires. Get rid of the negative programming from your earlier years. Start honoring your preferences no matter how small. Choose you.

Dream big. Don’t short change yourself. If you miss the moon, you’ll land among the stars. [Hopefully.]

Don’t listen to dream stealers.

Detail the vision for the 7 areas of your life; work and career, finances, recreation and free time, health and fitness, relationships, personal goals and contribution to the larger community. Focus on it every day to trigger your internal GPS to help you reach the destination of your choice.

       Share your final detailed vision with a good friend.

Also share this site with your good friends if you feel the information here can help them.


Next; Principle 4: Believe It’s Possible.

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