THE other day I was at home and found myself somewhat jaded and lethargic.
And as I always do I decided to embark on the dreadful task of channel surfing on the telly.
A short-while later I found myself watching MTV’s I used to be fat, an American reality show where obese teens are paired with a professional personal trainer and given the opportunity to lose their excess weight in a three-month interval.
I am not the biggest fan of reality television so I was surprised to find myself watching this particular show, and even more that the show itself inspired the lesson for this week’s post.
Now in this particular episode, Mike the featured teen, was struggling to meet weekly targets and the weight was simply not coming off.
At odds with Mike, the trainer proceeded to ask him why he kept making choices that hindered his own progress.
Now Mike’s answer was so subtly put and candid but spoke volumes for I felt it spoke to why so many of us never achieve our highest ideals and live up
to our potential.
“My failure to lose the weight at this point clearly speaks to my lack of desire, for I have proved to myself before that I can lose this weight if I work hard enough and apply myself.”
He spoke this with his head slightly tilted as if he was shying away from the camera.
What hit home for me in Mike’s candour was the phrase “lack of desire”.
Often I feel we have dreams and goals we want to achieve but the humdrum of everyday life takes over and soon the years pass by with nothing achieved and before we know it we feel it is too late to do anything.
In his ground-breaking book, Think and Grow Rich (first published in 1938 by the Ralston Society), Napoleon Hill says, “Truly thoughts are things, and powerful things at that, when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a BURNING DESIRE for their translation into riches, or other material objects.”
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Note that this is a direct quote from the book, and more important perhaps is the fact that Hill cap-sized, BURNING DESIRE to underscore the importance of this quality.
As an ardent student of metaphysics and the other philosophies of success for the past few years, I am convinced that passion and ambition, underpinned by an intense desire are the driving forces to success, and without them any worthy goal cannot be achieved.
Desire is the mainspring of action.
We could not move a single finger unless we had a desire to move it.
No matter what we do, we follow the desire which at the moment dominates our minds.
In her book Slimming Starts in the Mind, Dorina Sasson says: “Desire energises your thoughts in the same way electric current energises and operates machines and appliances.”
It is my firm belief that the majority of folk fail to achieve their set objectives in all walks of life because of weak desires.
The fact is if you want it bad enough you will find it a way as the saying goes.
That may mean sleeping less, being away from loved ones for prolonged intervals or facing constant rejection.
But the price of success must be paid well in advance.
A desire is but an awareness of something we lack or need to make our life more enjoyable.
Desires always have some personal gain in view, the greater the anticipated gain, the more intense, is the desire.
There is no absolutely unselfish desire.
This fact must be understood I believe.
Upon studying many eminent achievers, for me it has always been clear that they did not attain their success just by thinking about it in a lukewarm way.
They were always moved by passion, ambition and incredible desire.
Still not quite fully grasping this concept?
Well here I would like to share one of the common anecdotes in the folklore of motivation and success.
Long ago, there was a king who wanted to conquer an island.
The King then ordered the General to handle the mission, and then proceeded to give the General 100 soldiers, when on the opposing ranks the enemy being fought had a thousand soldiers guarding the island.
Clearly they were going to be outnumbered so the general had to act decisively.
What the General did was once the soldiers arrived at the island, he ordered them to burn all the ships that carried them there.
Now there was no way back, it was either kill or be killed.
The General left his men no choice but to win the battle, which in the end they did.
The moral of the story is that once you give yourself totally to your goal and cultivate a burning desire, your success is only a matter of time.
Where there is nothing to gain there is no desire, and consequently no action.
Paraphrasing the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson I believe the spiritual man speaks to the natural man through the language of desire.
The key to progress in life and to the fulfillment of dreams lies in ready obedience to its voice.
Unhesitating obedience to its voice is an immediate assumption of the wish fulfilled.
To desire a state is to have it.
As the renowned French mathematician Blaise Pascal has said: “You would not have sought me had you not already found me”.
Define your ideal and concentrate your attention upon the idea of identifying yourself with your ideal, and then live and act upon this conviction.
This assumption, though denied by the senses, if persisted in, will become fact.
Because life molds the outer world to reflect the inner arrangement of our minds, there is no way of bringing about the outer perfection we seek other than by the transformation of ourselves.
To attempt to change the world before we change our concept of ourselves is to struggle against the nature of things.
The key is to intensify our desire for higher ideals and this will catapult us into the upper echelons of our chosen vocations.
In the words of that immortal Athenian, Socrates: “To move the world, we must move ourselves.”
Matela Lechesa is a graduate of the University of Pretoria where he majored in Economics and Statistics.
He is also an entrepreneur, writer, blogger, and consultant. His other writings can be found on his blog: mailandmoney.wordpress.com