What I Want?

By James Cherf. James is a sales executive from Addison, Illinois, USA. Please read his article and leave thoughts and comments below.

The constant rise and fall of throaty exhaust notes expelled from the tips of the tailpipes played like a symphony.  The notchy transmission propelled the car forward as each gear was pushed to its limit.  It was black with a lot of chrome, a sports car.  A childhood dream realized.  The top was removable and allowed the wind to restyle hair on a spirited trip through the twists and turns of a country road.  The salesman sat in the passenger seat for the test drive.  His smile mirrored the exuberant driver.  The smiles were similar in nature, but for vastly different reasons.  A child’s dream of a sports car, with wide tires, a powerful engine, realized in that instant.  It was an older model.  The offered consideration was accepted; the paperwork was complete. The vehicle had new ownership.

As it always does, life moved forward.  The local climate did not always lend itself to a high powered muscle car. Thus it would sit through the winter, idle, shrouded under a cover, waiting for Spring.  Without fail, spring would make a breakthrough each year, and the happy couple would often take road trips.  See the local sites, recreation areas, festivals, wineries.  It was fun, dare to say she enjoyed the spirited drives nearly as the man in the driver seat living his dream.  It was what he always wanted.

Time has passed, the sports car coveted for so long was showing some signs of wear.  Oh, the maintenance and minor repairs were managed over the years.  Regardless of the efforts, the top has started to leak due to the gaskets dry rotting.  The inescapable passage of time taking its toll.  An oil leak has made itself know on the garage floor.  The miles have ticked upward.

A suggestion to sell the dream has surfaced on more than one occasion. The advice was not without hope, the means to purchase a newer model was within reach.  Live the dream again, so to speak.  One caveat derailed exuberance at the prospect of a new sports car; the replacement dream had to be equipped with an automatic transmission.  His beloved has always ridden passenger on the trips.  It made sense, it was his dream, a sports car on a lonely winding road.  The happy wife at his side with the wind in her hair.  She had never learned how to drive a manual transmission, and in spite of his constant insistence, she did not want to learn.

The moment consumed him like a tempest.  It was not the sports car at the root of his dreams. Throughout his life, that was always the answer.  His vision was to own a sports car.  It was wrong.  That was not the dream.  It was the sensations transmitted through the clutch pedal as the car roared to life with a heavy foot on the accelerator.  The passion was born out of being part of the vehicle, not just a passenger.  A synergy of man and machine creating something more magnificent.

In all the years, this car has occupied a space in the garage; the genuine desire was never realized until that moment.  That is until his wife discovered it by chance. When presented with the opportunity for a newer model without the essence of what was desired, the first one caused a moment of pause.  It was time to sell the one in the garage. Real desire revealed itself, and any replacement that would meet his wife’s criteria no longer measured up.

In this scenario, it was just a car, but how does someone really know what makes them tick?  The prospect of fooling oneself into believing something without understanding the deeper motivation was perplexing.   What does it take to peel back the layers to find out the essence of desire?  Some external force urging to dig deeper. Foreign influences that possess the ability to parse the thoughts, hopes, dreams, and pinpoint what is in one’s heart.  A definitive answer for wants.

Innovation is born much the same way.  Finding the right combination to unlock what people genuinely want, knowing their desires before they do. Changes explored simply by knowing what people want without having to ask them.  Henry Ford suggested that if asked, people would say they wanted faster horses.  The answer was not a horse at all.  The desire was to shrink the world.  The automobile, reliable transportation, met the need.  Faster, reliable transportation was a sincere desire.  Henry Ford found a way to bring it to the masses.

The answer to the question “what I want?” is often layered in mystery. When it came to realizing a childhood dream, I did not know what it was that drove me to the solution until the prospect of losing it.  Does anyone really know what is desired?

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