I’ll bet that most people reading this saying would immediately think of bad things that they don’t want, such and a disease or some disaster; yet there are many things in life that aren’t bad , but which are just things that we don’t want. At one time I thought that I wanted a motorcycle; but then I realized that I really don’t; it was just fun to think about for a while.
I suspect that most of us would immediately think of material things when reading a saying like the one above; although some with lingering illnesses might just wish for good health. Some might even have wished for world peace, but might have to be happy if we don’t get another war in some far-flung place.
The most common advice for what to do about not getting everything that you want is to be thankful for those things that you do have. You could also think about all of the things that you wanted and got that it turns out you don’t use or found that you really didn’t like. Our garages and basements are full of that kind of stuff. Wilde didn’t include need in his thought.
It’s relatively easy to just say “don’t waste time thinking about stuff that you can’t have”; but we all waste a little time doing that. Perhaps Oscar Wilde’s advice to spend time thinking instead about stuff that you don’t want anyway will work to distract us from dwelling on things that we don’t have. That we wanted.
And, if you just don’t get all of this, perhaps it’s because you just don’t want to.