April 4, 2024

Message Caterina Kostoula

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The One Thing You Want More Than Anything Else

In this article, I will reveal the one thing that you want more than anything else, even if you don’t know it.

But first, can you take a guess? What do you and all humans want more than anything else?

It is not money or sex.

It is not love, either.

And no, it is not happiness, surprisingly.

Think about it. If you wanted happiness the most, wouldn’t you spend more time watching sunsets and hanging out with friends than you do right now?

The late Nobelist Daniel Kahneman abandoned his research on happiness. The reason? He discovered that humans do not really care about happiness.

“Altogether, I don’t think that people maximize happiness in that sense…this doesn’t seem to be what people want to do.
They actually want to maximize their satisfaction with themselves and with their lives. And that leads in completely different directions than maximizing happiness,” he said.

Kahneman found in his work that satisfaction has to do with the story people tell themselves about their lives.

While happiness is a feeling in the moment, satisfaction is about whether you like the story about what happened after the fact.

For example, people were asked whether they would like to go on holiday if they could not have any memories of it. Most people said no. They did not care about the happiness in the moment but about the memory and the story.

Here is how Pico Lyer explained this in his “Letter From Love,” sent by Elizabeth Gilbert to my inbox this week:

“Why does God laugh when they hear your plans? Because you are so dear to behold, so earnest, adorable, and sincere.

And because God knows something you don’t always know: no matter how much you may claim to want a thing, deep in your heart of hearts, there is something you will always want more, no matter the cost.

You, my love, will always, always want the better story. And the better story is always coming.”

That’s it. What you want more than anything else deep down is the better story.

As we live our lives, we are constantly thinking about the story. How will we remember this experience? What meaning will we give it? How are we going to share it with others?

We create stories about every experience and also overarching stories about aspects of our lives, seasons of our lives or even our whole lives.

A lot of these stories we choose subconsciously. We are both the authors and the protagonists of our stories.

Often the story we have subconsciously chosen comes to odds to what we think we want.

If your story is the one of the victim it will be hard for you to be successful.

If your story is the one of the quest, a long adventure with obstacles, it will be hard to have quick success. Quick success does not make for a good quest story.

One of my clients told me that he wanted to have X million dollars. I asked him how he would feel if I would give him the money at that moment. He said “No! I don’t want the money like this!”

My client, more than he wanted the money, he wanted the story of how he worked hard to get it.

When I work with high-achievers to clarify what they really want in their lives, we need to define what story they are living and what story they want to be living.

Often the stories they have chosen subconsciously block them from having the success, fulfilment and happiness they think they want.

If you are not head over heels in love with your life, you might have unconsciously chosen a lousy story.

Do you want to work with me on this right now?

I will share the seven story archetypes compiled by scholar Christopher Booker, and I want you to identify which story is yours.

Which one are you living day in and day out? Ready? Let’s go!


1. Rags to Riches

In this story, the underdog wins a privilege, loses it, and then they win it again.

The privilege could be money, love, or power. Cinderella is a rags-to-riches story.

This may be the story you are playing. The humble-beginnings person who works hard or smart and makes it in the world.


2. The Quest

In this story, the hero needs to reach a place or an object or fulfill a certain objective by conquering obstacles along the way. “Lord of the Rings” is an example of a quest.

The story you chose may be a quest. Maybe your objective is to build a successful business, land the corner office, a home, or a family.

What separates quests from other stories is that you have an end goal in mind. A destination.

What is your quest? And what happens when you reach your destination? What happens if you do not reach it?


3. Rebirth

This is a story about changing one’s ways.

A typical rebirth story is Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol,” where Scrooge changes his ways.

Many people who join my VisionPath program are living a rebirth story.

They leave behind their people-pleasing, following-societal-expectations self.

They are reborn as their courageous and authentic self.

In 2023, I embarked on a health rebirth story. I changed my old ways to prioritize my health.

Are you currently going through a rebirth story? Shedding your old ways? Embracing the new you?


4. Overcoming the Monster

This is a classical story, even older than the story of “David and Goliath.” “Star Wars” or “Terminator” fall into this category.

Many activists choose this story where the monster can be the patriarchy, racism, pollution, etc.

Others choose their boss, spouse, or kids as the monster.

If you are in this story, you need to be conscious of whether the monster is a real monster or if you have made it up to fit your narrative.


5. Comedy

A comedic plot has many surprises and mixes the real and the surreal. Most TV sitcoms are comedies.

Maybe you chose to play a comedic story in your life, looking for the exaggeration, the surprise, and the surreal. It can be fun and playful.

The comedic hero makes mistakes, but we know there will be a happy ending.


6. Tragedy

This is the opposite of comedy.

In a tragedy, the character becomes undone because of a character flaw or cruelty of fate.

Anna Karenina or Romeo and Juliet are tragedies. So many people choose to play out a tragedy in their lives.

They might subconsciously think they are flawed and deserve to be undone. Or they gain self-worth by taking on the victim or martyr character.

You might experience tragic events in life, but whether your main story will be a tragedy, it is your choice.

Often it is a subconscious one, and that is why the tragedy story is one of the hardest to change.

If you are not aware you chose it, you are not aware you can choose something different.


7. Voyage and Return

In this story, the protagonist goes to a foreign land from which they will return full of wisdom.

“Alice in Wonderland” or “Chronicles of Narnia” fall in this category.

This is a story I chose for myself when I was a teenager. I dreamt of traveling the world and returning to share my wisdom.

More than 50 countries later and sharing my learnings weekly with you, I guess, I continue living in this story:-)


While these seven stories above form a good basis for our exploration today, Robald Tobias expanded them even more.

Here are some additional story archetypes for you to consider: the rescue, the escape, the revenge, the riddle, the rivalry, the temptation, love, forbidden love, sacrifice, and coming of age.

Which story are you living right now?

The story I have been playing with recently is a comedy where the game of life is rigged in my favor.

I live my life looking for surreal events that can prove this point: that the game is rigged in my favor.

This week, we traveled around Costa Rica. Just a couple of days before it was closed to the public, we managed to see the Poas volcano fuming. It is now having its biggest eruption in five years.

The alternator of our car broke while on the road. It was Saturday afternoon of Holy Week in Costa Rica and everything was closed.

We could drive a little further with our battery but we risked stopping in the middle of nowhere, 4 hours away from our booked hotel.

We managed to find an electrician to fix it. He happened to be non-Catholic, so he was not celebrating Easter. We were so lucky!

The list of surreal lucky coincidences went on. The traffic was always busy on the opposite side. We chilled at the beach and a monkey and a coati visited us.

Even when things go wrong, like the alternator breaking, everything turns out OK. This is the story I choose to live. It aligns more with my vision of a life as a masterpiece.


Conclusion

You do not want a boring life where everything is predictable, and goes according to plan.

A good story is one with surprises, good and bad. The good ones delight you! I did not expect to see the Poas volcano fuming!

The bad surprises allow you to develop your strength and wisdom.

I loved our adventure with the alternator in hindsight. It gave me a chance to ask for help from strangers and experience real kindness.

See, what you want more than anything else in life is the better story.

And here is the secret: you choose the story.

You will choose what you consider a better story over anything else you think you want like happiness or success.

If you are caught in a story you don’t like, such as a thriller or a tragedy, you can always choose a better story.

You are both the author and the protagonist in your life.

Which story are you living?


Download my free guide with the 10 Powerful Mindset Shifts To Achieve Your Vision.

Discover:
What are the 10 telltale signs that you are living your vision?
What are the 3 things you might think you need for success but you really don’t.
The 10 mindset shifts all my clients who enjoy success in all areas of their lives have made.

Link here.