Ask Yourself: What Do You Want?

Nov 26, 2013

Credit Abi Skipp/flickr creative commons

Huge question, but try asking yourself. The answer you give might surprise you.

Retirement planners, good ones anyway, have sometimes asked this kind of question of clients contemplating retirement—what do you want in retirement? The question—what do you want?—has a way of focusing the mind, erasing the blurry chatter in our heads. Suddenly, we're faced with the essential question. Want do we really want? To feel safe and secure? To love and be loved in return? Money? Connection? Friends? Power? Here's a big one—what about control?

A famous study is often quoted in the hospice care movement. Palliative care nurses asked terminally ill patients if they had regrets. Surprisingly, the number one regret from people, regardless of their life experiences and status, was: I wish I'd gotten to be my real self, the most myself I could have been.

Are we sleepwalking through life? If we confront what we want, can we aim ourselves better? Can we learn about our own unspoken values by answering the question honestly?

Senior Contributor Bruce Clements, former Board Chair of The Children's Law Center in Hartford, explores the question with me… what do you want?

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  • Bruce Clements - senior contributor and author


  • “Gne Gne,” Montefiori Cocktail
  • “What Was It You Wanted,” Bob Dylan
  • “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” The Rolling Stones
  • “So What’cha Want,” Beastie Boys