Inspiration is Overrated, Get Hungry

I used to believe the old slogan…

“People only change out of desperation or inspiration.”

It sounds catchy. It sounds clever. It SOUNDS right. But it’s not. Desperate people only change enough to escape pain, and inspiration is fleeting and fickle. Pull anyone aside on a random day of the month, and ask them to list the things that inspired them that month. I bet ALL of them had at least one great idea. Did they act on it? Probably not.

I’d include myself in this group. I have more ideas coming into my head than I could possibly act on in a lifetime. Most of them come and go. Some because I never act on them. Others, because something else grabs my interest. That’s what inspiration does. It gets you going. After that, it takes hunger to keep you committed.

What Does it Mean to Be “Hungry?”

I’d define it as raw, animal obsession. Ever gone more than three days without food? I have. It’s crazy. Eating is ALL you think about. You’re not “inspired” by the sight or the smell of food. You’re literally obsessed with it. It’s ALL you think about. You wake up thinking about food. You go to sleep and dream about it. Everything reminds you of it. That’s what I mean by hunger.

It’s hard to imagine wanting anything that bad, but I bet you have. Maybe you wanted your driver’s license that bad. Maybe you wanted to have sex with your first crush that bad. Maybe you wanted your first job that bad.

I don’t care who you are or how little you think you’ve accomplished in your life. At some point, you were hungry for something.  I’m guessing you found a way to get it. And you got it because you needed it as badly as you needed oxygen.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of a story about Socrates. A young boy came to him asking for wisdom. Socrates told the boy to follow him to the beach. When they got there, Socrates grabbed the boy and held his head under water until the boy thought he was about to drown. When Socrates let him up, he said to the boy…

“Boy, you are not ready. But when you want wisdom as bad as you wanted to breathe, then you’ll be ready.” 

Whether this story is true or not, the lesson is as true as the law of gravity. When you want something as bad as you want to breathe, you’re almost certain to have it. It’s only a matter of time.

This is not to say that a 65 year old man with no legs can become a pro-basketball player. Nature has its limitations. But MOST of the things you want, you can have. You don’t need inspiration. You do need raw, irrepressible hunger.

Are You Hungry Now?

We ALL want at least one thing bad enough to become obsessed with it. If you haven’t found this thing yet, you probably have too many ideas and “inspirations” cluttering up your mind. Let these go. Inspiration is fickle and fleeting. It’s easily quenched by fear. But hunger drives fear right out of your mind and replaces it with raw obsession.

I bet you want at least one thing you don’t have right now. A better job. A bigger paycheck. A nicer house. Six pack abs. A college degree. Your own business. I don’t care how big or how small it is, my point is you’ve already been inspired by the idea of having it. That inspiration has done all it can do for you. It’s time to get hungry.

-Stay Awesome,

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