Figure out what it is you want

Column by Michael Norton


Do you remember the pop song by the Spice Girls, “Tell me what you want, what you really really want, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want”? And then the lyrics are repeated several times.

Have you ever been asked, “What is it that you really want?” Or maybe you have even asked yourself, “What is it that I want the most in life?” Does your answer change based on either situation? I often find that we tend to be more guarded when answering the question about what we want when asked by another person, and much more honest and deep when we look ourselves in the mirror and answer ourselves when no one else is around.

Do we want material things? Do we want money? Do we want love? What is the thing we want most in this life?

After 40 years of research, The Zig Ziglar Organization netted the list down to eight things that people really really want: To be happy, to be healthy, to be reasonably prosperous (and some people would like to be unreasonably prosperous), to have security, true friends, peace, solid family relationships and hope.

Think about it, would you trade your happiness, health, prosperity, security, friendship, peace, family relationships and hope for a second or third home, a new car, jewelry, a good time, or even a great time? And does there absolutely have to be one or the other? I am a big proponent of “and” not “or,” and believe if we strive for the things we want without compromising our character or integrity we can have all of the material things we desire as well as all of the more important things that money will not buy.

One of the things that I really really want in life is peace. And this is one of the reasons I really love living here in Colorado. There is such a fantastic sense of peace when hiking in the mountains, walking in our open spaces, skiing on through the trees or in a secluded or quiet area on the hill. Sure, skiing requires equipment, proper clothing and a ski pass, but hiking and walking bring me peace with absolutely no investment from me other than my time. Our sunrises and sunsets observed each morning and evening bring me peace and hope, and once again without any cost.

I set goals and pursue dreams. And when I look at the list of eight things that we all want, at some level I recognize that I am doing OK in several areas but still need to develop and grow in others. I would encourage you to write the list of these eight topic, Happy, Healthy, Reasonably Prosperous, Secure, Friendship, Peace, Family Relationships and Hope. Next to each one just simply put a check mark next to the ones you feel you are doing well in and an asterisk next to the ones you want to see yourself develop.

Once we have reached an acceptable level in all eight areas, we can enjoy all of the things this life offers in every aspect of our lives. And it always amazes me that when someone shares with me that they have strengthened each of these areas, that some of their material desires and other things simply fall into place too.

How are you doing in these eight categories? I would love to hear all about it at and together let’s make this a better than good week.

Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of

michael norton, highlands ranch, colorado


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