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Decision Making is Educational: Victim of Desire

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We have all been a victim of our own desire. At one time or another, we’ve all suffered from wanting something so excessively that we neglect to assess whether we’re really prepared to go through the process, or whether we’re ready to own what we desire.


A desire is different from a goal; a desire haunts us, blinds us from being rational, forces us to pour all our resources into attaining it, and the irony is we don’t even need it. But of course, we don’t realize this until the end when suffering gives us a wake-up call.

Sometimes we want too much, too soon, too fast. We deceive ourselves into believing that we’re ready for the fight, when in reality we lack the skills, time, resources, and/or compassion. Even in the rare event that we realize that we’d merely need to make a small adjustment in the process, such as being a little more forgiving, a little more willing to coach others to meet our standards, or a little more willing to admit our own flaws, we’d rather bypass self-adjustment and self-reflection, for self-deception. 

Sometimes we even go as far as to arm ourselves with the belief that what we want benefits something greater than ourselves. This is the ultimate motivation to propel us forward with full force. Suffering seems worth the pain because it seems to be a selfless act of love for the oppressed, even though in reality, what’s driving us is nothing more than a selfish desire to attempt to make our own lives seem more meaningful.

Some desires may indeed have good intentions

Some desires may indeed have good intentions. However, we devote more time, effort, and mental stability than we can handle to possess it. At a certain point in the chase, we could even choose to be satisfied, which could save us from continued anxiety and aggravation, but instead, our lack of preparation deceives us into wanting more. And then when we do “attain” our initial desire, we don’t even know we have.  Our emotions trap us into being dissatisfied with achieving 95 out of 100 points.  And so we focus instead on our failure to meet that 5% rather than rejoicing in the part of the cup that has been filled.  Our insatiable quest for perfection causes us to keep chasing something that we would never in our hearts consider is good enough.

Worse yet, it’s our failure to assess the situation even before the pursuit begins that gets us into trouble in the first place. So, before we dive into obsessive stupidity, let’s remind ourselves that we can avoid needless suffering; we need not be a victim of our own desire. It may just be a matter of choosing to pause, to break the momentum of irrational thinking, to stop indulging in a quick-fix for our anger, greed, and/or pride, to envision hope rather than despair, and to self-educate from past experience. 

More importantly, the educational experience of having been victims of our own past desires could be a relevant reminder applicable to all aspects of our lives, to all academic subject matters, to adults at any life stage and to children of all ages. Educational experiences have no boundaries and no limits. And if we utilize them wisely, we could be beneficiaries of well-planned goals that could also contribute to positivity for others, our community, and for the world.

Flora Chan

Flora Chan was born in Hong Kong and raised in Boston, USA where she pursued a dual career in television and teaching..

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