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If no one else had it, would you still want it?

A litmus-test question for goals

This is such a powerful question when it comes to assessing any goal or target you are considering.

For example:

If no one you knew was in a relationship, would you still want one?

If no one else was selling screenplays, would you still want to write one?

If nobody was skinny, would you still be trying to lose weight?

If nobody had an advanced degree, would you still want to write a dissertation?

If everyone’s house was dirtier than yours, would you still want yours to be cleaner?

Thinking about these kinds of hypothetical scenarios can help tease out when we actually want to experience the thing itself, and when we just want the approval or belonging or self-acceptance we think we would get if we had it. It can help us decide whether our envy is pointing us toward a larger dream we want to pursue, or if it's just a momentary wish for more external validation.

If we only want the thing because of comparison to others or social acceptance or the hope we’d be nicer to ourselves, its worth asking:

What would I spend time on even if no one else had it—even if the only thing that came from it was my own experience of the process and result?


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