Lollypopping Pic by Ithan Hurd
“The single most important element of any human that separates their level of success from the rest is hunger.”
― Tony Robbins
Hunger. It’s unsettling. It’s uncomfortable. It can make the most polished of people act a fool. We all gotta eat, right? And we’re always reaching in the direction of our filling. You’ve seen it. How people scramble and scrimmage for food relief when it’s being shared out in refugee camps. It’s heartbreaking, to say the least. But hunger has no manners. Hunger makes shame and your reputation the last thing on your mind.
My most potent memory of hunger goes way back to when I was in Kenya High secondary school. Sure, it’s a national school in the heart of the Kileleshwa surburb in Nairobi, but boarding schools will always be boarding schools. At dinner time, we used to get tea from an urn and a slice of bread as our dinner accompaniment. Immediately after the matron would say grace, students with cups at hand would make a mad dash for the tea urn and scramble to be the first to fill their mugs. I remember watching it from a distance one day, a little bewildered. Then I heard God drop these words into my spirit, “If only My people would hunger for Me that way.” My heart did a back flip or two. I was speechless. And yes, I was the last to get some tea at my table, which meant that I got half a cup with some sediments in it. But I already got my filling. I remember sharing those words I’d just heard with my dinner table. Their blank faces said it all. But those words stuck with me for a very long time…
The reason I quoted Tony Robbins up there is because I recently heard him share something powerful about his childhood that has informed how he lives today. Growing up, his family didn’t have much. So some days, they’d go without electricity for weeks. Other times, food was very scarce. Even during the holidays. But he remembers how every Thanksgiving and around the Christmas period, someone would knock on their door and share enough food to feed their whole family. And it meant the world to him because it proved his wounded father’s words wrong. His dad always used to say that nobody really cared. But because of the kind gesture of strangers toward them, Tony realized that people really do care. And it left a mark in him. Today, he educates and feeds over 60 million people in different countries in the world, some of whom are in the US living on food stamps. But he gets it. So he’s paying it forward.
Isn’t it amazing that hunger can birth generosity? Greed doesn’t always have to be the by-product of hunger. We’ve always made it look that way. But it doesn’t have to. And hunger doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Hunger fuels your ambition. It makes you a seeker. And we all know that those who seek shall find. I want to share with you some unlikely gifts that accompany hunger. So if you’re working hard to make something of your life, if you’re deep in the trenches of your 20s (these investment years) building your legacy and if you’re passionate about making a difference in this world, I hope these unlikely gifts awaken you to the good in your situation. Learn, grow, become, then pay it forward.
The Gift of Uncertainty
“Sometimes the circumstance at hand forces us to be braver than we actually are, and so we knock on doors and ask for assistance. Sometimes not having any idea where we’re going works out better than we could have possibly imagined.”
― Ann Patchett
“There is always an entire desert between you and your treasure.”
― Paulo Coelho
As human beings, we like to know stuff. So we make plans, come up with options and a list of possibilities and such. But our plans are a sort of fail-safe. Have something to work with in case things don’t go right. Like I said, we like to know stuff. Because when we don’t, we tend to worry and panic and that’s no environment to move forward.
I’ve shared it here before: This thing called life can be winding. It’s full of detours and unknowns but we need to approach uncertainty with a sense of tourism and curiosity. That means that you grab a camera and a fanny pack to stick your passport in and some cash ready to go where the journeys of life will take you.
“Live life forward, but know that you might only be able to understand it backwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
This is where trust comes in. Trust is surrendering your right to always know. And isn’t that a toughie. How can you enjoy a meal today without worrying about where your next meal will come from? How can one live life sanely without knowing? Well, by holding the Hand of the One who knows and orders your steps is how. We really need to trust God in our lives. To trust in His plan and the paths He leads us to. He only seeks to bring out the good in our lives and sometimes, we only get to see the good in hindsight. In those moments when your life feels like winter or a wandering in a desert, after some time has passed (mostly when you’re out of that season), you’ll be able to connect the dots looking back. You’ll stumble onto treasure in the desert because it’s the one place people won’t bother to look, what with everyone wanting to go where the grass is greener. But you know better. Don’t grow weary. Keep pushing. One day, you’ll look back and see the importance of this time. Trust that the Author of your story is helping you write a beautiful page turner of a best seller.
The Gift of Limitation
“Sometimes God closes doors even when we’re being obedient, but it’s only because he has something better for you. Do not become bitter and negative. Trust Him!”
― John Hagee
If you interrogate every success story, it’s 99% likely that a limitation preceded the breakthrough moment of success. Remember how we learnt here recently that creativity is the solid ingredient to providing solutions? And nothing inspires solutions more than limitation. Human beings are genetically wired to be barrier breakers and line crossers. It’s how God lets us shine and grow. We were created for dominion (not over one another but) over the affairs of the earth. And a great deal of limitations exist on earth to be conquered.
“Champions are mentored by challenge.”
― Dr. Mike Murdock
Think about how silly it sounded when the Wright Brothers said they could help man fly. Or that man could travel through space. Because we serve a creative unlimited God and share in His nature and likeness, I can bet you that man isn’t done defying some of the limitations we’ve grown accustomed to. It’ll take you partnering with God for the wisdom to defy limits. If He drops an idea in your heart, by all means use and exhaust it. I learned this from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Will review it super soon.
No matter what limitations you’re facing now, please know that they carry seeds to your solutions. Ironic isn’t it? Sometimes those limitations test your commitment to the process or the solution. Let your hunger fuel your persistence. Hold on. You’re on the verge of breakthrough.
The Gift of Access
“So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened.”
Can I share something? This is by far my favourite gift. Access is so precious guys. It’s an open door. An invitation into something more. If you are privileged with access, hunger will define what you eat or what feeds you. It will define your appetites so it’s actually great to become a picky eater.
Here are a few things that we have access to on this journey of success.
The Internet (knowledge)
I’m a fan of the interwebs. The internet is massive and I decide what to learn, from whom and at whatever time I want, no matter where I am. I love it! Connectedness is what the internet offers us. Use it to learn and study from others and to come up with strategies that can help you get to where you need to be.
For everything that you don’t have or know, someone else does. Learn to identify the gap in your life (is it wisdom, experience, a solution etc) and find someone who can help you bridge that gap. Treat this gift of access with care. It is a privilege when granted, not a right.
Opportunities to receive
You can’t give what you don’t have. Hunger makes you open to receive (even if it’s in a picky way as per your success diet) so you need to have your heart willing to allow others to pour into you. This is why: You’re only as good a giver as you are a receiver. Yes. You can’t give what you don’t have.
People in a similar situation to yours
Remember Tony Robbins? He’s passionate about providing for others because he has known seasons of lack. This is powerful. We get to go through some of the things we go through (those deserts between our treasure) so we can be compassionate to others in similar situations. Sometimes, the way someone climbs out of a bad place is if they’re talked out of it from someone who was once there, someone who gets it. As you progress and succeed, pay it forward. You are blessed with success to be a blessing to others. It’s how we spread so much good in the world.
Access to God is the Holy Grail. He’s the best guide, friend and teacher anyone can ever have. And He is generous. If you lack wisdom, He says to ask as He gives without holding back. If you lack resources, He is Abba, our Father and the source of all things. And He is so patient and understanding. He gets you. And He knows just what you need. Don’t do the success thing without Him leading you. It might turn out awesome on your own but it’ll lack something big in the end: Eternity in mind. This is the scope of things far beyond what you can see now, deep into generations to come and even the end of time. Walk with Him and your impact will have something others may not: A God breathed purpose.
Ah, yes. Hunger – may you have it, may you increase it, may you never lose it. It will grow and expand you in business, in your walk of faith, in your art and pretty much any area of your life.