Asking strangers about their life desires – 7 answers for contemplation

I went out on the street and asked people about their biggest life desires. I noticed roughly two main ways people answer: personally or collectively. However, there might be no fundamental difference between both approaches. Either way, let’s explore both viewpoints.

Life desire 1: Just living life

It’s a beautiful answer, isn’t it? Simple yet powerful. But for some, if not many people, it might seem oversimplified. However, can our life desire just to be living life? Can we keep this desire untouched? Meaning, we don’t judge it by calling it simple or complex. If we can, we might open up a whole new world to ourselves. A complete new world that has yet to be discovered.

Life desire 2: Staying healthy

We often take life for granted, especially if we or our loved ones haven’t faced serious illnesses. The personal value you attach to being healthy is usually based on that. But to who do we refer when speaking of ‘being healthy’? Are we talking about ourself and our beloved ones? Maybe even the health of the whole society, or all live forms in general? Can individuals deeply care about the universal health of any life form? What expression would that take? Just being selfless towards mere strangers? Is this based on an idea or an actuality? And more importantly: how can you know?

Life desire 3: Living a long life

This desire is connected to staying healthy. It may just be as strongly connected to having a solid relationship. Most couples I interviewed were really emphasising their desire to live happily together as long as possible. Just being together may be their biggest reason to live. How could this be the case? Why would somebody in a happy relationship emphasise the desire of longevity over a bachelor or widower? Is it because they discovered life may not revolve around their individual self after all? Could this revelation also be deeply integrated without having (had) a partner?

Many couples want to live long lives together, inspired by Ikigai, the secret of Japanese supercentenarians. If you’re happy overall, aiming for longevity makes sense. But is it actually driven by true happiness or the fear of death, if not a combination? Can you go beyond fear while you’re still alive? If so, would life become more effortless and adventurous? Would life suddenly become more spontaneous and peaceful? I think so.

Life desire 4: Achieve career goals


For many strangers I interviewed on the street, their biggest desire is work-related. #career #careergoals #worklife #goalsetting #achievement

♬ Overcome – Skott

Many have dedicated their lives to building careers. If you view yourself as a part of humanity, you could open yourself up to the feeling like you’ve lived for your career many times. But when is it enough? If its importance diminishes, will it be replaced by other pursuits? Your focus might shift from career-building to other life areas. While satisfying, could these pursuits still be distractions? What is a distraction anyway?

Life desire 5: Financial independence

Some strangers I asked desire FIRE, which stands for ‘Financial Independence, Retire Early’. It’s a significant movement today. It’s not about accumulating wealth but understanding your needs and earning accordingly. Many yearn for financial independence rooted in certainty – the assurance of a secure tomorrow. But can true safety and certainty be found in financial independence? I believe it’s worth pondering deeply.

Life desire 6: A more peaceful world

“More,” “peaceful,” and “world” are intriguing terms, especially in how they relate. ‘More’ presents a clear duality. Acknowledging this can be enlightening. Understanding one duality may lead to comprehending all dualities, possibly freeing oneself from them. ‘Peaceful’ and ‘world’ are less obvious dualities. For some, peace seems static. They start to view it as the truth. However, separating what’s truly peaceful or harmful is challenging. And as for the ‘world’, are we referring to our inner or the outer world? Do they fundamentally differ, or is the distinction just an appearance?

Life desire 7: Making a positive impact

Making a positive impact ties back to the previous desire, but with a little distinction: you actively seek to make a difference. Who are you in this pursuit of positive change? Are you merely a part of the whole or are you the bigger whole? What if the notion of separateness itself is the actual thought-experiment, instead of the other way around? If the narrative dissolves, what remains? Is there still a ‘you’ capable of making a positive impact? The act of ‘making’ implies there must be a self, but can positive impact exist without individual decision-making? It may cease to be ‘your’ impact, becoming simply ‘the’ impact, if we allow ourselves to transcend dualities.

Would you like to stay up-to-date for the new little field research study? Follow me on TikTok by clicking here.

Every Sunday, I’m publishing a new article (click here go to the article overview) in which I share a little analysis on the short interviews I did.