Desperation. A desperate man in deep thought.

Desperate

Have you ever been truly desperate?

We all have had times in our lives when we’re desperate—feeling a longing so strong, it seems we will die if we don’t get what we want.

But desperation can come in many forms and for many reasons.

Someone who is about to die of dehydration is desperate for water. This kind of desperation is black and white. There’s no middle ground. There’s no way of interpreting the desire in any other way. It is desperation in its purest form.

Then there is the other extreme—those who feel they are desperate for material possessions or the latest technology. Although this may feel like desperation (and our brains can actually turn it into desperation), with a little perspective and soul searching, we can discover the true nature of these feelings.

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Movement. Walking in an airport terminal

Movement

In a crisis, people react differently. Some have the urge to take action. This quality, combined with an instinct for knowing what is needed, can be an effective combination. But even those with great confidence can have doubts, and even the most effective people can be wrong.

Others may have the tendency to freeze up, or put off taking action, or take action that doesn’t solve the problem (or contribute toward the goal).

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Expectations. Man deciding whether he is able to climb a rope.

Expectations

What do you want from life? What do you expect to achieve?

These are important questions, and we should have ready answers. We might say we know what we want; we all have dreams and goals. But if we’re honest with ourselves about whether we actually expect to get those things, we may live our lives more intentionally.

Most of us can easily articulate what we want in abstract terms—health, happiness, and meaning—but we should also be able to give more concrete answers. The specific things we want and expect from life should be related to our more general goals.

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Knowing. Man seeking knowledge.

Knowing

As I learn more and more, I feel like I know less and less. But to me, that is a positive thing.

Learning new things keeps life fresh, but it takes an open mind and a willingness to let go of our egos. So many of the problems in the world exist because one group of people thinks they know better than another group of people.

It’s OK to not know. In fact, “I don’t know” is a very underused and underappreciated expression.

In saying “I don’t know,” we’re not saying that we don’t have opinions or beliefs, or that we don’t know certain facts. We might be very well educated on an issue. But there’s always more to learn, and in learning, our perspective may change. We have to be open to that.

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Fear. Man peering through blinds.

Fear

Have you ever been afraid – I mean, really afraid? How did you handle it?

There are all kinds of fear: fear of physical danger, fear of the unknown, fear of the dark.

There’s nothing wrong with fear. It’s an emotion that keeps us safe from threats and is a built-in survival mechanism that all humans need; but the extent to which fear controls our actions is worth considering. We can handle, lessen, or remove fear through our experiences and through personal growth.

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