Throwback Thursday (Misalignment of Want vs Action)

It appears that a common topic has been hitting several of the blogs lately, it is a topic that I have long pondered. When it comes to what you want, and what you actually do, how often are they aligned with one another?

This last weekend was yet another example of my actions being completely out of line with what I wanted to be doing. Social expectations, personal relationships and my own guiding principles often play heavily in determining my actions. What I feel like doing, or would want to be doing if I lived in a consequence free world, are more often than not at the bottom of my decision-making process. I am not sure if that is common (anymore?) amongst the general population as I am constantly seeing people act with little consideration for how their actions will negatively impact their life or the lives of others.

While it can be frustrating at times to refuse myself the impulsive desires that naturally occur, to keep my mouth shut when I want to scream obscenities at a deserving recipient and maintain a strict adherence to personal standards, I do so because I have seen firsthand how dangerous it can be not to. While family and friends can come and go, I have to live with myself forever. I would rather not have to live under the long-term consequences of poor choices made to fulfill a fleeting want. Our past actions, more than the honeyed words we speak, determine how much faith others have in us. If others do not trust you, life can be a very lonely place, if you don’t trust yourself it’s even lonelier.

That being said, why is there a trend towards doing whatever the hell you want? What motivates others to discard developing stable relationships, provide quality services and focus solely on whatever pleasure or profit can be gained today, with no thought of how it could destroy things tomorrow? Is it another symptom of our self-destructive nature? How do you justify it? Is it really as dangerous a lifestyle as I perceive it to be? I am not asking these questions in a judgemental way, I am genuinely curious to know why people do what they do.



10 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday (Misalignment of Want vs Action)

  1. I”m one of those “do whatever I want” sorts of people. But I also have a few guiding principles that keep me from getting in too much trouble. Above my own wants I try to place being kind. I try to use love as my ultimate guiding principle. I find that when I do this, the things that get destroyed by my selfish behavior are things that probably need to be destroyed for the sake of humanitarian progress. Change is inevitable and change involves both destruction and creation. The idea that we can have one without the other is unrealistic. So is the idea that we can keep things the same.

    • Excellent point, I do readily understand the concept of balance. I think it is mostly the destructive “want” behaviors I have a hard time accepting, but that could just be because my nature dictates I construct instead. That could very well be the answer, I provide the counterpoint for others whose nature is destructive and together we keep each other busy. Neither of us ever sharing the same motivations but working together in a complex tapestry of events.

  2. I have to believe the people that lead a destructive lifestyle do so because of their constant need for pleasure. They are not satisfied with the here and now and find it too uncomfortable to live the day in day out lifestyle. It’s that old nature vs. nurture debate too. Were they born with it or did it rise from socialization? I think everyone has a little bit of that need for instant gratification. Sometimes you just need to take a breath and be happy with the right now.

    • Well said. I do think self control is a learned behavior, but not one that sticks with all students. Therin lies the question about what causes some to lean towards self gratification and others to lean towards community preservation. It seems to be all about a balance between the two but then that raises the question about what happens when the scales become tipped too far in one direction?

  3. It seems to me that the younger generation is very much into instant gratification, with no thought for the greater good. I realise I am getting older, but still, where will the world be if Everyone puts themselves first?

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