Stop Wishing You Could | Wishes are not Enough. Success Demands Action

Is there something you wish you could do?

Some skill you wish you had or some person you wish you knew?


Decide right now what you really want. And go get it. Do what it takes to grab it by the throat and own it. (Click to Tweet)

In the summer of 2000, when I was at my peak as a golfer (I was ranked in the top 100 nationally), I was hitting balls on the range as the sun began its slow decent beneath the horizon. I had been there for many hours, like any other day. Before that, I had worked out, played 18 holes, and practiced other parts of my game for hours on end.

A man stood by me watching for a few minutes. He then said,

I wish I could hit a ball like that.

Never mind that he had just shown up with less than one hour of daylight left and did that maybe two days each week. He wished he could magically hit a ball like I did.

I really wanted to say to him:

“No you don’t. You don’t wish that you’d put in 10+ hours almost every day for the past six years, often in the searing heat or freezing cold. You don’t wish you worked out almost every day, studied the swing, and sacrificed as much as I have.

You don’t wish that you woke up in the middle of the night after a bad round analyzing what went wrong. You don’t wish that you had so much passion for a sport that it consumed your thoughts and kept you from focusing on anything else. You don’t wish that you had given up parties and friends so that you could hit a ball like that. You don’t wish for any of that.”

And the fact is that most of us don’t wish we had to do any of the things it takes to get the result we want.

We don’t want to write for two hours before the sun rises or carry a journal with us to record every idea we have for a new post or a new chapter. But we all wish we were good writers.

We don’t want to have the uncomfortable conversations with our friend at work or fire the guy who is perpetually late. But we all wish we were great leaders.

We don’t want to exercise every day, eat more fruits and vegetables, and take the time to meditate quietly for 15 minutes a day. But we wish we had less stress and better health.

Stop wishing. 

Decide right now what you really want. And go get it. Do what it takes to grab it by the throat and own it.

Whatever you want is yours. It is.

But first you have to stop wishing. Because nothing that you really want will ever come to you easily.

Stop wishing. Make it happen.

What have you been wishing for? How are you going to make it a reality?

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  • Wow. At least she was honest. More people aren’t willing to admit that.

  • Great post Matt!

    We live in a world of “instant” and quick & easy. But more often than not – the things that are instant or easy aren’t real or worth it. Making burgers from scratch is much more work than driving through McDonalds – but the difference in product/taste is huge.

    It’s easier to sit and wish – than to get up and work.

    • Thank you Jon!

      Funny you would mention burgers because we just switched to organic meat…and the taste difference (not to mention health) is amazing. That is what surprised me the most. The smell is awesome in the house, the taste is phenomenal, and we are healthier. And it takes an extra three minutes drive and $2.00 to get it. Of course, we will more than save that $2.00 later in reduced health care costs :)

      • I totally agree. Our family has recently started cutting out preservatives from our home and diet. We signed up for a weekly meal plan service called The Fresh 20 – making dinners out of 20 fresh ingredients every week.

        • Sounds like a cool service Jon.

          I wonder if you can get a physical now and again in 3-4 months to see the change? Just a though :) Like “Supersize Me” in reverse.

  • Man Matt, I wish I was as good of a blogger as you! hahhaha.
    What am I doing to make that a reality? Spending time writing. making sure I am writing every day. I’m reading a lot of blogs every day. I’m learning about SEO, writing great headlines, and lots of other stuff. I’m waking up before I really want to in the morning.
    I love the premise of your post…you’re right, most of us don’t really want to do most of the things that we say we want to do…we just want the end result with no effort. And that’s a pipe dream!
    Great post buddy.

      • I read it yesterday when you shared it on LinkedIn :) half of it made no sense to me, but I did get a little out of it!

        • Katherine Leicester

          I just hit the link, spent thirty seconds, and my head exploded.

          I have so much to learn.

          • HAHA! How did you manage to comment with an exploded head?

          • Katherine Leicester

            Remember that Schwarzenegger. Movie where the guy kept getting blown up, then his head would just melt back into place? Science fiction? We think not.

  • I have succeed a few things with hard work and sacrifice… I fall short with the fact that I can be to passive. How do you be assertive in getting what you desire without pissing people off?

    • You don’t…because you will. It’s a fact of life.

      • Katherine Leicester

        Amen. So we make people mad? So what.

  • Katherine Leicester

    “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

    How can we show others the joy that’s available if they do what they’re called to do, and just run with abandon toward their goals, except by doing it ourselves.

    This post was inspiring, Matt. A great example of giving delight to those who are ready to listen (and share!)

  • For a long time, I wished someone would hear my story, the challenges I faced growing up and how that affected my choices to be a better husband, father and community member. I wished because I could not overcome my fear of “What will people think”? Only when I stopped wishing and started writing did I find healing. My blog is up and running while my first book “Just a Man: When Forgiveness Inspires Leadership at Home” is about to go to press. I share from my heart, just share…

    • POWERFUL Kimunya.

      “Only when I stopped wishing and started writing did I find healing.” What an awesome revelation. You could replace “writing” with whatever it is you are called to do and it would be true. When you are doing accomplishing your purpose, there is healing.

  • Convicted.

    Thanks, Matt.

    The book thing is an action not taken yet that keeps coming back to me.

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