What Do You Want?

Excerpted from Chapter 3 of “Just Ask the Right Questions to Get What You Want” by Ian Cooper

Given the title of this book an important question to ask yourself is:

What do you want?

If I asked you now to write down the things that you really wanted, most of you would find it difficult to be precise and tangible. You might have the really important general things on your list … good health; loving and caring family and friends; a comfortable roof over your head; personal freedom; a sense of achievement and recognition and a secure income with the time to make the most of it.

Whilst vitally important, these things are so universal that even when we have them, rightly or wrongly they often tend to be taken for granted. So let me repeat the question … apart from these things:

What do you want?

Of course I don’t have the answers for you, but as mentioned earlier in the book in order to help you find the answers yourself you need to narrow down your questions in order to get more specific and tangible ‘wants’ to aim at.

To give you a helping hand I am going to give you some questions to help you move forward. Regard this as your ‘Wants’ Question Checklist. Run through it once a year at least and review it periodically. Sometimes it can be productive and fun to do it with those who are close to you. Of course my list is not meant to be exhaustive. I am sure you can come up with other categories of your own.

Your “Wants” Question Checklist:

  • Travel – If you could travel / visit one place that you have never been to before over the next year where would it be?
  • Things – If you could acquire one thing over the next year that you don’t have what would it be?
  • New Experiences – If you could try one thing you’ve never done before over the next year what would it be?
  • Knowledge – If you could learn more about one subject that you know very little about over the next year what would it be?
  • Skills – If you could develop one new skill over the next year that you currently don’t have what would it be?
  • Personal career – If I could achieve one tangible thing over the next year in my career that I have not achieved before what would it be?
  • Personal friendships – If I could develop a friendship with one person over the next year whom I already know who would it be?
  • Habits – If I could get rid of one bad habit of mine this year what would it be? Have you got the hang of it yet?

Have you got the hang of it yet?  How many more questions like this can you come up with?

If you are in a permanent relationship asking these sorts of questions of each other can often turn into a great conversation and you will have two ‘wants’ to pursue together. Try it! Of course once you have answers to the questions above then you can move through them again with a different set of questions. For example:

  • How can I do that?
  • What do we need to do to make it happen?
  • When can it be done?
  • What are the cost implications?
  • How can we raise the money?

The moment you ask these sorts of questions there is a part of you that is already accepting the things you want as a reality.

Ian Cooper


Professor Ian Cooper has been described as a ‘serial achiever’, London based, he is an international author of 15 books with in 55 countries and 13 languages, including the successful and influential ‘Financial Times Guide To Business Development’, recently shortlisted for the best management / business book of the year award. In addition to advising hundreds of businesses and organizations of all sizes for over 30 years, Ian is also a successful entrepreneur who has created and run a number of successful businesses. With approximately 1000 professional speaking engagements Ian has inspired thousands of businesses and individuals with his light and engaging style to improve their own performance, get better results and make things happen.  You can connect with Ian on his website.


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