Ever want something really badly? Like maybe a nicer car, a diamond ring or a pair of really expensive boots? And do these wants ever accompany the thought: “If only I had X my life would be so much better”? My dad used to tell my sisters and I, “It’s good to want. It builds character. How would you feel if you had everything?” And of course my smart-ass response was always, “I’d feel really good” as these wants were usually associated with toys. But of course I didn’t understand then what he meant. Now I do.
People continually ask me, “Don’t you want a bigger apartment?” And sure, a little more space would be great, but would it make me happier? No. In fact, wanting a larger place is an incentive for me to work harder to achieve the goals I’ve set out for myself like selling more books or getting another book published. But sometimes, once goals are reached, when you don’t have to work as hard for it, that motivation can disappear.
Ever wonder why sophomore albums or books or school years tend to be slightly more lackluster than the first? In many cases that first accomplishment took years of effort. (I worked on my grandfather’s book What Papa Told Me off and on for 18 years.) Not that the second accomplishment cannot be as great.
Success, as Emily Dickinson said, “is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.” When I first rea
d this quote I thought Ms. Dickinson was off her rocker, but then I got it. What she meant is that those who do succeed may never really appreciate their success, while for those who don’t succeed, they can still appreciate how wonderful they would feel if they did.
There are a pair of boots I really want displayed in a storefront window on my block. They’re made by Jimmy Choo, a brand favored by the ladies on Sex and the City, and they cost $950, a ridiculous amount of money for boots. If I owned them would my life be better? No. Would I be happier? Maybe for a moment, but then soon enough they’d become just another pair of shoes getting scratched and dirty from life in the city. Somehow, wanting them is good enough.