Getting What You Want

Getting what you want is an ongoing quest. Nobody gets there all the time, but when you find the balance between having what you want, what you need, and what really matters, you’ve accomplished something big.

Have you ever thought, “I’m not sure where I am, but I’m sure I don’t want to be here.”

Or, “I don’t know what I’m doing, but I must be doing it wrong.”

Or even, “How do I keep missing the exit sign? I’ve been going in circles forever.”

We’ve all been stuck and unsure of ourselves; we’ve all unraveled. We all have some unrealized dreams shoved to the back of the closet. We’ve all said, “This is NOT what I signed up for.”

When something has to change, but you don’t know how to make it happen, what do you do? Confide in a friend to commiserate with you? Search the Internet for solutions? Eat chocolate and cry? Trade all chocolate in for wine? Assume a fetal position on the couch and binge watch Netflix? All the above?

We keep our proven ways of coping until we realize those methods aren’t enough. How many times have you thought, “This is not the outcome I expected!” We chose one thing, but receive something we didn’t anticipate or even like. So that begs the question: how do you get what you want?

Ponder the story of Eve. You might know her as the dumb broad who ate the apple, and got kicked out of her garden. She got all twisted up by a slick salesman who sold her a bill of goods that turned out to be especially awful. It seems we’ve been stuck with her legacy one way or another ever since. We want things that just seem to disappoint us. We choose, but our choice doesn’t turn out as promised. The law of unintended consequences is hard at work every day and always.

Her forbidden fruit was, after all, delightful to look at, delicious to taste, and would give her more insight and wisdom than she’d ever experienced. What’s wrong with having any of those things? She just got them from the wrong place and they didn’t live up to their hype. And why did she do that? Because she listened to the wrong person—a living snake. Seems there are always snakes in our gardens trying to sell us a bill of goods.

How can you avoid being sold a bill of goods in the first place, and what the heck does that even mean? I heard my grandmother say it. “Sounds like they sold you a bill of goods.” According to Idioms by the Free Dictionary: To be ‘sold a bill of goods’ means to be led to believe that a lie is true; to be swindled or conned. Selling it here means persuading someone to accept something undesirable. Or as another woman explained, “It means I just bought a bunch of crap.” How right she is.

I personally want to be powerful and wise and I want things that are beautiful, desirable, and taste delicious. But why do you and I end up trusting the snakes? Because deception hits on us with all the right moves and all the right words and promises to deliver everything wise and wonderful that we want to own.

Even so…research shows that we actually have good instincts for detecting liars, but that at times our conscious mind fails us. We ignore our instincts. We convince ourselves we know what we’re choosing. We reason and deliberate and justify our decisions and ignore our instincts. But as someone once said, “I’ve been doing just what I wanted all of my life, and I’ve been horrified by the results.”

So why do I trust the snakes in my garden?

Manipulative deceptions occur when deceivers hide, omit, distort, and exaggerate information to control your choices and decisions. These deceptions are the tools of… nearly everyone who seeks advantage at your expense,” according to Bill Knaus Ed.D.

If deceivers manipulate information to control your choices and decisions, how can you evaluate information to control your own choices and decisions? What information, or more importantly—whose information—do you trust?

There’s something we want, but we choose the wrong way to get it. There’s something we want, but the person offering it doesn’t have it. There’s something we want and there are red flags everywhere, but we just want it so badly that the deceiver’s got to be right about how excellent this choice will be.

As a believer, I try to listen to what God says in the Bible about what’s good and what’s bad. I let Him define good and evil—because I can’t see what I’m really choosing based on how it looks and feels and how much I want it.

Beyond that, I keep in mind that deceivers hide, omit, distort, and exaggerate information to control my choices and decisions. They are seeking their advantage at my expense.

With that first decision as a baseline, and with the knowledge of how deceivers operate, I have a checklist.

What I will trust:

  • What’s the source of the information?
  • Why do I believe that source is valid?
  • What’s missing from the information?
  • What sounds too good to be true?
  • Am I looking at studies and statistics, or reading someone’s opinion?
  • What’s at risk if I trust this information?

WHAT I trust is so much easier to quantify than WHO I trust. Because humans, like the proverbial snake, can manipulate things so convincingly. I make every effort to listen to my instincts along with asking myself these questions.

Who will I trust:

  • What does this person want from me?
  • What will I get from whatever they’re proposing? What will they get?
  • What has that person done to prove they are trustworthy? If nothing, why would I trust them?
  • Is this person too wonderful to be true?
  • What are their friends like?
  • What information or credentials do they have to validate my trust?
  • What’s at risk for me if I trust them?

What do you do to protect yourself and get what you want? I’d love you to share your list.

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