Simple Rules, Step #1. What Exactly Do I Want To Do?

QUOTE: The authors say the simple rules can be applied to work and personal challenges through a three-step process:
#1. Define What You Want to Do
Before you can figure out how to do something, you first must define what you want to do. In football, weight training — bench press, back squat, and power clean — was the long-established strength-building strategy of choice. But Stanford Football Performance Coach Shannon Turley looked at the bench press and wondered how it helped an offensive lineman: “In football, if you are on your back, you’ve already lost.” Instead, he focused on what offensive linemen need to do on the field before he formulated a training program designed to help them do their jobs by “staying low and moving other giant men backwards.”
“Although defining objectives may seem obvious,” says Eisenhardt, “they are often — at first, anyway — too vague. Instead, objectives should be precise: The objective of a solar business, for example, might be to become the most profitable provider of rooftop solar systems to California homeowners.” [1]

QUOTE: Reality Therapy questions:
What do you want?
What do you want instead of the problem?
What is your picture of a quality life, relationship, etc.?
What do your family/friends want for you?
What do you want from counseling? [2]

QUOTE: But the key is what we want. Now, nobody ever gets up in the morning and says, “I must meet my Love & Belonging need today.” We are more likely to say something along the lines of, “I wonder if Mary is free for lunch today” or “Maybe we can get the gang together on Friday night.” We want to have lunch with Mary or to marry John or to go out with our pals on Friday night or we want “our” football team or “our” political party to win. So what really drives us as social beings is our wants. We don’t think of our needs as such. We think of what we want, behave to get what we want, fantasize about what we want and so on. So while a counselor in Reality Therapy would check out whether a client is meeting his or her needs the three basic questions that are asked are: What do you want? What are you doing to get what you want? Is it working? [3]

NOTES: Reality Therapy educator Robert Wubbolding identified the first question in Reality Therapy as What do you want? In training I attended, he mentioned that this was often the most difficult task in therapy, for a client to sort through all the confusion and chaos to identify exactly what they wanted. Once that was clear, progress toward wholeness was often rapid.

I’ve found that to be true in my own life: when I am very clear about exactly what I want, it begins to happen more rapidly, and sometimes without my conscious awareness. It is as if the universe conspires to reward persons who have made up their minds. I’ve also found it to be true that most people, including myself, cannot describe clearly what they want in concrete, detailed terms. They can describe what they don’t want. They can describe what they don’t like. They can sometimes use vague terms like happiness, comfort or good health.

What do we want … exactly and specifically … to happen in the real world? For most people, that is an unexplored continent. Jesus said in Mat 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

What are you asking? What are you seeking? What is the door upon which you are knocking? Our answers to these questions matter.

QUESTIONS for thinking it through:
Can you describe what you want, clearly and exactly?

Is what you want so real that a camera could see it?

If you woke up tomorrow and all your problems had miraculously been solved in the night, what would be different? What would a camera see?

[1] Conquering Complexity With Simple Rules: A Stanford professor offers a better way to make decisions by Theodore Kinni. April 14, 2015 , at

[2]Reality Therapy: Constructing Our Future One Choice at a Time, 31 AUG 2017, at


The photo is from, a subscription service.

QUOTE (emphasis mine):


NOTE (my commentary)


What gets my attention?
Do I understand the need or problem?
Do I understand the potential solution?
Do I understand how to apply that strategy?
What questions do I have for the experts? What might be the answers?
Who needs to hear this?
What do I do next?

SOURCE – Footnotes:

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