It’s common practice to encourage people to focus on what they want to do. What are your goals? What do you want to be when you grow up? These questions focus on the future and where you are going and what you want. I have yet to come across a situation where someone has asked, “What do you prefer not to do?” in relation to work, goals, and life. We know we do not like something when we come across it, but to be consciously aware is a different situation.
I’ve recently had to answer some of these, sometimes difficult, questions. The last year of my career was not spent actively trying to figure out what I want in work and a career, it was time spent learning what I do not want. I spent time learning about what I do not want by actually doing it. I repeat, I spent time learning about what I do not want by actually doing it. Just like trying a new type of food for a change only to find out you don’t like it. You have to try things before you can actively say that it does not work because if you try, you’re able to recall the moment and become consciously aware of the situation if it may arise in the future because you now know what it feels like.
How do the “things I do not want to do” impact the forward looking self? What you want and do not want in something creates a balance. When you’re cognitively aware of both, it settles the mind because clarity has been achieved.