desire possession matrix example cardsmith

Desire and Possession Matrix

This is a useful matrix for gaining self-awareness of our current situation and can provide inputs to the goal setting process. By clearly seeing what we want, or want more of, what we have and don’t have, we can see patterns that can point to small changes that if made will improve our life or situation within a certain context such as a relationship, or job.

Within your chosen context, add items via cards to the matrix, positioning them along the spectrums of the X and Y Axis.   

X-axis: This is a spectrum from Don’t Have (any) to Have (lots). Keep in mind, that with some items, it may not be a clear yes or no decision. For example, with money, you probably have some money. Do you want more?  How much more?  If you want lots more money, place the card way to the right.  

Y-axis:  Also a spectrum, this time from Don’t Want (at all) to Want (somewhat, or badly).  

Strategies for each zone in the matrix:

  1. Want-Don’t Have. These are potential goals to work towards.
  2. Want-Have. These are things to be grateful for and to protect. You may want to consider these in creating goals to ensure you don’t sacrifice what you already have in the pursuit of something new.
  3. Don’t Want-Don’t Have. You can ignore these things for the most part, but when considering new options you can look to ensure you don’t take on things that are in this category.
  4. Don’t Want-Have. When considering a change, can you design it so that you can remove these items?
  5. Zone of Ambivalence / Ambiguity. These are things that you may sometimes want and sometimes not. It can be subtle. You may be using protection strategies to avoid having to want something that you think you are not able to accomplish. For example, with money. You may want more money, but don’t believe you can get it, or are afraid to want it, so you tell yourself things like “money is not important to me” or “I can live on very little money”. These items are worth paying attention to, and reflecting on to get more clear about what you want and don’t want.

Seeing items or situations that you have in relationship to each other can reveal new insights, and you may spot synergies. For example, you might see that you would be very happy in your current job if you could make a small change. Sometimes, a small change can remove things you don’t want (good) and add in things you do want. So this is a great tool to use BEFORE using the path to a desired state template.  

Cardsmith Pro-tip: Use the Zoom Slider Bar to make the background image larger or smaller in order to fit your screen.