For the majority of my schooling years, I was a problematic student. I wouldn’t pay attention in class. I never turned in any of the assignments that I was supposed to. I failed multiple classes and amassed a good number of Ds and Fs. Unmotivated, living from day to day and just hoping to get by. Wandering along without any purpose.
You would recognise me. Perhaps you were just like me. Hopefully you aren’t in the situation that I was in. That changed when I finally made up my mind to do well in school. I found good reasons to excel academically. I desired success.
In his landmark book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote that “desire is the starting point of all achievement”.
Desire is what motivates you to change the status quo, even if the present is comfortable. The strength of your desire is what motivates you to press on in the face of obstacles. It is what enables one to overcome overwhelming odds.
“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” – Plato
In 207 BC, the great Chinese warlord Xiang Yu led 20,000 troops across a river to attack his foes. After crossing the river, he ordered his men to burn all his ships and destroy all but three days worth of rations. He then made it clear to his men that there was no way of retreat – that they had to defeat the enemy in three days or perish.
As you might have guessed, the Chu army led by Xiang Yu triumphed over the 300,000 strong Qin enemy. The warlord had managed to tap into the human’s biologically wired fight or flight response, with only the former being an option. Each Chu soldier was taken over by their natural instinct of self preservation – the deep hidden desire within them. Against their opponents who were mostly just following orders and going with the flow, their force of will prevailed easily.
When you make something a burning obsession, you will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. You will invest all your time, energy and willpower into attaining what you desire. You will constantly be taking action in the pursuit of that single desire, removing the inertia that accompanies the start of all change. You intentionally set yourself up for success by design.
What’s Your Why?
The number one reason why most people are stuck and unable to make progress is because they don’t want something badly enough. They ‘kind of’ want it, but they aren’t willing to pay the price. They would rather be making merry and staying in their comfort zone – it’s just not worth it to them.
What’s your why? Knowing the reason behind your desire is the key to understanding how far you will go. You may have heard about individuals achieving greater success after going through an experience that deeply affected them. These individuals walked away from their trials and tribulations understanding what they truly desired. They knew their purpose.
When the going gets tough, the only thing that keeps you going is your desire. Without a sufficiently strong desire to carry on, you will find yourself quitting the moment you encounter resistance. Conversely, you will be able to overcome any obstacle if your desire is strong enough.
“The reason why you don’t give 120% every time, cause you ain’t got a why for what you do! – Eric Thomas
Is It Enough?
I can hear you asking – is desire alone enough to succeed? The answer is no. However, desire is the glue that holds all other factors together. If you want something badly enough, you will develop the discipline to devote yourself to deliberate practice every single day.
You will give up the bad habits that are holding you back, and cultivate good ones that accelerate your progress. You will have the will to prepare, and not just the will to win. Without desire, all else is inconsequential.
It is on you to ensure that you sufficiently desire something enough. You will never succeed if you cannot find something that you can give up everything for. Find that desire, and the world is yours.
Do you find desire to be the most important element to success? Leave your thoughts below!
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