Core Desires are those things you have your heart set on- what you want to be, have, or do most. One might think that identifying these Core Desires would be easy, but people often tell me, "I don't know what I want, please help me." This dilemma affects people of all age groups and crosses all political, social, and economic lines. People tell me that they don't know what they want to be, have, or do when they "grow up." They are still searching.

Core Desires aren't objectives imposed on you by others. They aren't "shoulds" or "ought-tos." Core Desires are those things you want with all your heart. They are deep, intense, and powerful longings. They are persistent, ever- demanding, heartfelt hungers or yearnings that pierce you to the very core. One easy way to identify them is that they are always tied to a strong emotion in your heart-
which is the reason anything in your life gets done at a high level of success, satisfaction, and fun. The Conquering Force is the only force strong enough to sustain the persistent effort and focus necessary to realize your Core Desires.

However, people often do things because they feel they have to, ought to, or should, not because they truly want to. It could be because they feel a duty or obligation or because they fear punishment, ostracism, or disapproval.

Your life is too precious, and your sojourn here on earth too short, to waste your time and effort on things that are not rewarding and fulfilling. Yes, at times you must "do your duty" with family, friends, employers, and country-but duty is pleasure when it aligns with desire.

We will always encounter some "have-tos" on our way to our "want-tos"-our Core Desires. That's a fact. Some duties may be unpleasant, difficult, expensive, or even painful. But you won't mind doing them if you are getting where you want to go.

If your heart is set on getting a college degree, you will have to take some courses you don't like. If you want to get into shape, you will have to exercise. If you want to lose weight, you will have to change your diet. If you want to own your own business, you will have to take certain risks. However, you won't mind the "have-tos" while pursuing your Core Desires because the rewards far exceed the price to be paid.

When the "have-tos" aren't getting you to your Core Desires, your life is less fulfilling. It may even be miserable. Only when you are pursuing your Core Desires- those things that inspire you and bring you joy-will you unleash the powerful Conquering Force within you. You will experience profound joy, peace, balance, serenity, and happiness. As you pursue the desires of your heart, you will be happier.

What makes work work? When you don't like it. When you love doing something, even if it is physically or emotionally demanding, you don't mind the effort required; in fact, you may call it fun.

To experience a life full of enjoyable activities, day in and day out, you must know what you really desire. If you think you want something, but deep down at the core that's not really what you want, you will never attain it.

Do you know what you desire most in your heart? Do you have a sense of what it will take to realize those desires? Are you willing to pay the price? For example, suppose you want to become a certified public accountant. You know that you need to complete a course of study as well as pass certain tests to realize this desire. Now you need to ask, "Am I smart enough to learn what I need to know? Do I believe that the knowledge I need already exists somewhere in a class, a course, a book, a seminar, a mentor, or on the Internet?" If you answer these questions with a confident yes, you clearly have the ability to achieve your desire to become a CPA. Next, you will need to put your ability to learn anything together with the information that already exists. The catalyst for all this comes from your Core Desires. If you have had a goal for months or years and haven't learned what it takes to make it happen-let alone started working toward it-it is not a Core Desire.

Drilling down to your Core Desires and exposing them to the light of day can be, at least until you get the hang of it, a little difficult and emotionally frustrating because you are not used to dealing with your feelings at the core level. So I have designed a measurement device to help you identify your Core Desires. This simple assessment tool serves as a guide to finding and knowing your heart's desires-it causes you to reflect on everything you would like to have, do, experience, become, or achieve in many areas of your life. To help you assess the relative intensity of those desires, I have also designed the Core Desire Scale.

Identifying your Core Desires can be as easy as honestly answering these two Core Desire Search Questions:

1. What would I like to have that I don't have now?
You might ask this question to help you uncover your Core Desires in different areas of your life, such as family relationships, finances, self-image, social relationships, mental self, and spiritual self. This list isn't all- inclusive, but it illustrates areas in which identifying your Core Desires could prove beneficial.

With this central question in mind, try answering these questions to learn what you truly desire most:

What would I love to do if I had no obligations? If only I had more time? What makes me very happy? What makes me laugh? What tugs at my heart or stirs my emotions? What am I pining away for? What would I love to do to help others? What characteristics would I like to have or strengthen? What do I want with or from my spouse and children? What do I want with or from others? What do my best friend and I do for fun? What did I used to do that I just can't do now? If I didn't have to worry about money, what would I do?

Each of these questions will elicit strong responses-but not all of them are Core Desires. Ask this next question about each desire you have just identified to narrow the field:

2. If I had that, was that, or could do that, what would it give me and how would it make me feel?

Asking this second question helps you get past superficial wants and wishes and helps you see what difference this desire, once fulfilled, might make in your life. But your search is not over; you must now measure the strength of these desires.

You must be very sensitive to the intensity of your emotional responses to each of the Search Questions. This sensitivity will help you accurately measure the intensity of your desires. Intensity is everything as it relates to the achievement of your Core Desires.

What a difference a degree or two of intensity can make in the results you achieve for your efforts! If you want to cook some vegetables or power a steam locomotive, you must heat the water to 212F to make the water boil-211F is very close, but it won't do. Only when the temperature reaches 212F will the water begin to boil, bringing the results you want. If the temperature is between 95F and 106F, then the water is only lukewarm.

The seismograph, or Richter scale, measures the magnitude of an earthquake. The scale measures magnitudes of 0 to 10. Why is the difference between earthquakes measuring 5 and 7 on the Richter scale so dramatic? Because each number on the scale represents an earthquake ten times stronger than the number just beneath it. An earthquake registering a 7 on the Richter scale is ten times more powerful and ten times more destructive than one registering a 6. Imagine the power of the most powerful earthquake ever recorded-an 8.9 on the scale.

Just as the Richter scale measures an earthquake's intensity, so must you assess the intensity of your desires, feelings, and emotions by using the Core Desire Scale, which has a range from 1 to 100:

1 to 20: whims, passing fancies, wishes, gratifications, momentary pleasures, and dislikes 20 to 40: shoulds, oughts, duties, obligations, assignments, and extrinsic motivation 40 to 60: moderate-intensity desires, wants, interests, and needs 60 to 80: recurring desires, growing intensity, strong mind-sets, and a sense of duty 80 to 99: Steady desire; relevant, important initiatives; strong interest and motivation. 100: high intensity, relevancy, immediacy, heartfelt, passionate, and dead earnest. These are Core Desires.

The things you hate and would never do in a million years are 1s on the Core Desire Scale. Things that you are sort of interested in and may like to have-anything about which you feel halfhearted or not totally committed-are somewhere between 40 and 80 on the scale. These are like 5s on the Richter scale. Core Desires are always 100s.

The 100s on the Core Desire Scale are like the 10s on the Richter scale-far more powerful than a want or a wish. A 100 is infinitely more powerful than a 90 on the scale. When you pursue desires that fall below 90 and encounter the inevitable problems and barriers, you will find that you don't have the ability, or the drive, to move past them. You will get discouraged, give up, and hang negative labels on yourself. A 90 may get you 90 percent of the way there, but any desire that is not 100 will not have the ability to unleash your full internal power-the Conquering Force.

These desires that measure 100 are the source of your undying enthusiasm and discipline. They are the only desires that will provide you with the persistence, and ability, to overcome any and all obstacles. The intensity of these Core Desires will breathe life into your project, your family, your plan, your religion, your business, and your life.

Once you gain the skill of recognizing your 100s on the Core Desire Scale, you won't have to go through the search questions and scale exercise again, but sometimes you will have to repeat the search questions several times to get to your Core Desires. It's like drilling through layers of sediment to reach bedrock. You may hit bedrock right away, or it may take several tries. How quickly and accurately you identify your Core Desires depends solely on how quickly you get out of your head and into your heart.

1. In the financial area of your life, what would you like to have that you don't have now?

If you answer, "To be financially independent," this may rate an 80 on the scale, but it is not your Core Desire. Now ask yourself the Search Question: "If I were financially independent, what would that give me that I don't have now?" You may answer, "It would give me the freedom to do what I please."

Using the Search Question again, ask yourself, "If I were free to do as I please, what would that freedom look like? What would that give me that I don't have now?" This is where people get stuck. Often they have a hard time clearly defining their answer, so they repeat themselves.

If you find yourself getting stuck, just ask the question in a different way: "If I were financially free, what would that give me that I want but don't have? What feelings would that give me?"

You may say, "Oh, I know! I could spend more time with my family!" Or "I could quit working at a job I hate." These emotional responses are your Core Desires. These are the 100s, and you should only spend your time and energy pursuing desires that hit the 100 mark on your Core Desire Scale.

If your answer were "If I were financially independent today, I'd be free from the stress and worry of not paying the bills," you'd not be far from your true Core Desire. But what words jumped out at you as you read that last answer? Were they paying the bills or free from the stress and worry?

If you chose the latter, you would be right on. However, there are many ways to reduce stress and spend more time with the family, even without being financially independent. Being financially independent would be nice, but what you really want is to be free from the worry, stress, or guilt of not being with your family as much as you would like. Knowing that stress and worry are the real issues could give you many more options for achieving those Core Desires.

It doesn't take being financially independent to be free of guilt or worry. You may need more money, but just how much more money would it take? You'd be surprised by what saving two hundred dollars a week-or month-would do. It might take some aggressive budgeting or reducing your car payments by selling your second car. Just changing your attitude can rid you of heaps of worry and stress.

2. In your social life, what would you like to have that you're not getting now?

You may answer, "I just love helping others, and I'd love to do that more." Again, this may be a 90 on your scale, but it is not your Core Desire. Ask yourself, "If I were able to help others more, what would that give me or make me feel that I am not getting or feeling now?" You may answer, "It makes me feel happy." Try asking the question again, phrasing it differently: "Why do I love helping others? What other feelings do I have when I am helping others?"

Keep digging, and keep asking the Search Question. You may find your answer with "I love helping others and putting smiles on their faces" or "helping others makes me feel good." Maybe even "I love the positive feedback I receive." All of these may be high on your scale, maybe even 90s, but they are not your Core Desire.

Ask yourself the Search Question this way: "Why do I love the positive feedback?" Or "Why does it make me feel good?" When you answer, "It makes me feel valuable, important, or appreciated," these are the real Core Desires.

Often people who don't feel valuable or appreciated seek ways to meet those desires by helping others. No wonder they want to do it more: the real Core Desire is to feel needed by others. This is a definite 100 on the Core Desire Scale.

3. In the area of self-esteem and self-image, what would you like to have in your life that you don't have now?

You may say, "I'd like to be more confident around people." Though this may be true, it is not a Core Desire.

Ask the Search Question, "If I were more confident around people, what would that bring me that I am not currently getting in my life?" You answer, "I would be willing to speak up more and have my opinions heard." By continuing to ask the Search Question, you are getting closer to identifying your true Core Desire.

Keep asking yourself the question: "If I were willing to speak up and have my opinions heard, what would that give me that I don't have now?" You may say, "I wouldn't feel like I'd let others or myself down by not speaking my mind." You're getting higher on the scale, but you're not quite at 100.

"How do I feel when my opinions are not heard or when I am put down?" You may answer, "I feel bad and unimportant-like my opinions don't matter." These are strong emotions and evidence that you are on the right track.

When you ask the question "To whom do I want my opinions to matter most?" you may answer, "My spouse. Having my thoughts and feelings heard and validated by my spouse is very important to me." You have found your 100, the thing that matters most.

This desire has a lot to do with having a safe, uplifting, and intimate relationship and little to do with self- confidence. If your focus is on confidence, you have set the wrong goal. All your pursuits of confidence probably won't get you the validation you want from your partner.

This validation is gained much faster once you realize that confidence is not your Core Desire, but the need to have a healthy, happy, personally validating, I-feel- important relationship with your spouse. Many people are very confident in their work but feel deprived in their marriage or other personal relationships.

You may have to ask the question "If I had that, how would it make me feel?" several times or several ways until you've drilled down to the core and discovered your Core Desire. As you learn to become aware of your true feelings on any subject or issue, this exercise will become second nature. You are then in a position to live an authentic life.

Author's Bio: 

Jack M. Zufelt is a bestselling author and has achieved worldwide recognition for teaching people the true cause of all achievement. His life's mission is to impart the truth about-and dispel the myths surrounding-success and achievement. Want to achieve better results? How about live a fuller life with more happiness, joy, and satisfaction? Discover Jack's DNA of Success and live the life you've always wanted... Click Here ->