When I tell my clients that I only do what I want, I get mixed reactions.

“That must be nice,” is probably the most common reaction.  My favorite response is, “B.S.!”

In a life of “have to-s” and “shoulds” it seems impossible that I might do only those things that I want to do.

Recently, a client told me that the idea of only doing what she wanted was inspiring. It gave her hope that one day, if she did enough personal development work, she may be able to achieve such a state of clarity and freedom.

But here’s the real reason I claim to only do what I want. Its a statement of fact.  Let me explain.

In his book, The Answer, John Assaraf states that we only have conscious control of our perception and behavior 2 – 4% of the time. That means that 96 – 98% of the time we are not consciously in control of what we perceive and what we do.

To give those statistics meaning, let me provide an example.

My wife and I run most mornings before the sun comes up. We wear headlamps to light the way and to be seen by other nocturnal walkers, runners, and drivers. We both listen to podcasts or audio books while we run.

I’m usually aware of my wife’s proximity to me. The sound of her footfalls, the sight of her running next to me, or of the light from her headlamp lets me know if I have gotten too far ahead of her. If this sensory input that goes to my nonconscious mind is absent, my conscious mind kicks in. I slow down, look around and let her catch up.

While running, my conscious mind is occupied with watching for raised sidewalks, curbs, puddles, and icy spots while listening to my podcast or book.

Sometimes, when she is running behind me, the light from her headlamp is translated by my nonconscious mind as an approaching car. Awareness of the potential danger takes over my conscious attention. When I look to see that it’s not a car, my conscious attention returns to watching for running hazards and my podcast or book.

I say that I only do those things I want to do because, at some level, conscious or nonconscious, I behave (act) according to my perception in the moment. That’s the way we’re all wired. When my perception changes, my behavior changes.

But I also say it because I want to remember that I choose what I do. Even if I am not consciously aware of the choice, at some level, I still choose my actions.

When you say things like, “I’d better get to work,” it seems true. But notice the energetic impact of that thought or statement. “I had better” implies “or else.” If you don’t get to work what is going to happen?  Will you be fired? Scolded? Written up? Make less money? Be judged? In this simple example, what is more true is that you choose to get to work. You choose to work because you don’t want to be fired, scolded, written up, lose money, or be judged. And what is probably also true is that you would rather get to work than continue to listen to Aunt Barbara complain about your uncle.

When you say things like, I have to turn in this report by five o’clock, notice that there is an “or else” implied. Notice that you prefer what is predictable when you turn in the report by five more than what is predictable if you don’t. Or notice how casting yourself as a victim who has no choice takes you off the hook and gives you an excuse for why you can’t go to lunch with your annoying coworker.

You don’t have to do a ton of work to realize that, like me, you never do anything you don’t at some level, want to do. If you don’t approve of what you do, take a look at the real reason you are doing it. This will move your behavior from nonconscious to conscious by bringing conscious clarity to your perception.  Once that happens, you may choose differently.

If you want to permanently and sustainably change your behavior, you will need to change your perception. Changing your perception means drilling down into the nonconscious mind to see what perception altering choices have already been made. By taking a fresh look at how you look at things, you may choose to change your perception.


Do you think my coaching services might help with this? I’d love to assist. Helping people change their perception, changes their behavior. When that happens, they start getting different results.

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