That Thing You Do by Michael Aloia

Perception is a unique, individual characteristic shared by each of us. How we perceive will often determine how we respond. Similar or even the exact situation shared or experienced by two or more individuals may have a completely different end result simply because interpretations are different. Many factors play a role as we discern circumstance: social, political, economical, or religious views, upbringing, age, mood, etc. Each offers a particular definition and a particular tact.

Sometimes, interpretation can be expanded simply by allowing ourselves a different view. Words hold a magnitude of impact. The right word at the right time can make a world of difference to someone who is struggling for answers. Just as a hurtful word, spoken out of anger or carelessness, can deliver immeasurable waves of discontent and devastation to any of us – all with only a few syllables. Although words are given certain definitions in the dictionary, some even sharing similar rendering, their deeper meanings hold an opportunity for reflection and exploration. Two of those words are “desire” and “want.”

Desire is quite commonly associated with want. Since desire and want are classified as synonyms of each, their usage is often intertwined. So, the linking of the two are what lead people to believe they are one in the same. On the surface, this may be true, but a deeper reflection may reveal they, in fact, can be very different for each may expose a particular characteristic within each of us. That characteristic lends weight to the way we process and make choices.

The difference lies within the intent of those seeking to fulfill an immediate whim and for those searching for a better tomorrow. A whim, much like a trend or fad, is an indifference taken on a matter – there is no lasting quality, no substance, only a fading memory. However, those individuals who strive to be a master in the field of their profession or simply journey through life more fulfilled understand how that intent stimulates an environment designed for not only external growth, but also spiritual growth, essential to raising the bar of personal enlightenment – that which we seek becoming more of a passion.

Want can be looked at as something we acquire whether we need it or not – something that feeds the ego or the perceived judgments of others, making us believe we must have this or that in our lives. Want can be misleading, because we may be considering what we want is something we lack and that creates a need that longs to be filled whether it is on an emotional level, physical level, etc. However, based solely on this belief, want is a temporary fix to what can be classified as empty desire. The intent to acquire a particular something is based simply on the belief that we are lacking. We fill a perspective void. Once that something is acquired, and the void is filled, we are no longer lacking for the time being; the want is gone, at least until the next piece of eye candy materializes. We become engaged in a continuous, repetitive cycle that does not seem to have a rewarding or gratifying end – or if it does, the reward or gratification is fleeting. With this sort of sentiment, it’s possible then for us to begin being ruled by want – constantly on the lookout for the next best thing. Want is a craving and cravings never seem to go away or be completely satisfied. The void gets deeper, making it harder and harder to fill. Want then, in some contexts, can be looked at as greed on a more superficial scale – to have it all with no meaning, responsibility or substance to its ownership. What we acquire becomes disposable – easily acquired and even more so, easily let go or forgotten. Because of such a perception, meaning and responsibility may not be found or even claimed by the individual for the individual. Thus, the feeling of accomplishment, wealth or status is based on what is acquired, much like an addition to a collection or another notch on a belt, while aspirations for a better individual are furthermore not considered, explored or achieved.

Desire could be perceived as just the opposite. There is a cause-and-effect equation taking place that affects the continuum of our lives – a rippling wave traveling here and now and beyond. It is not instant gratification but long‐term satisfaction. Though it is a fulfillment of a perceived need, the intent of that need is far greater than a means to acquire something that is deemed lacking and much deeper and stronger than any judgments or perceptions that others or ourselves may pose. Desire becomes a driving force for attainment, not just obtainment. As want is a short‐lived substance‐type dependency, motivated only by a particular object or temporary indulgence, desire is a life‐long pursuit of achievement as we aspire and inspire for a better tomorrow. For example: one desires to be an Olympic long-distance runner, however, on a cold and rainy day they may not want to head outdoors to train, yet they still do so, sticking to the training. The desire to achieve the personal aspiration of being that Olympic athlete significantly outweighs the want to remain warm and dry indoors. Those who pursue their desires, becoming passions in life, make those passions part of what they do, who they are and how they live. Desire can provide direction and goal, placing us on the path of realization and accomplishment. Desire makes us destined for greatness in whatever we choose to pursue.

Though the two words, want and desire, share similar definitions and are often interchangeable within our language, each clearly has a unique connotation pertaining to the needs and true fulfillment of the individual. The subtext of meanings goes beyond just the acquisition of stuff, but more towards the enlightenment of our being – a total package of exploration and discovery.

The interpretation and assimilation of what the choice of word means into our daily focus and within our agenda bears great impact and consequence to our embracement of how it is we do that thing we do. Furthermore, it results in our ability to personally succeed – internally and externally. How we process our intents profoundly affects our attitudes and mindsets towards any and all necessary training vital to not only hold our professional positions but to effectively perform the duties that go along with such positions. Professional positions aside, the perception and intent will ultimately determine how we choose to live our lives, and our choices will impact those around us, signifying what it is we leave as our legacy.


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