How hungry are you?
No, I don’t mean physical hunger. And I’m not asking you when you had your last meal.
I asking you about your level of desire. Do you have enough to get what you want out of life? Or do you have so much that you’re causing interference?
You may not realize it, but you can put too much pressure on yourself. You can take a burning desire and turn it into a deadly volcano, spewing lava and destruction everywhere.
You can also have too little desire. Yes, you want to achieve your goals, but you’re not hungry enough to do what it takes to make it happen.
You may even think you’ve got enough talent to succeed without putting in sufficient practice, focus and concentration. If you fall into this camp, you’re probably in for a rude slap across the face. I’d call it a rude “awakening” – but that would pay disrespect to the term.
One of my favorite sayings comes from Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team, who did the unthinkable, winning the gold medal after knocking off the supposedly unstoppable Soviet team.
“You think you can win on talent alone?” Brooks said to his team. “Gentlemen, you don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.”
Translation: You men better do more than show up for practice. You better show me how hungry you are to win. And if you don’t show enough hunger, I’m going to replace you with someone who will.
Around that same time period, I had a coach who took me to the side and explained how success works in very similar terms.
“Furey,” he said, “I have something important to tell you. Right now you’re a leader in the room. You’re much better than most of the people you’re training with. And there’s a danger when that happens.”
I nodded, sort of understanding where my coach was going with this.
He continued: “So I have something I want you to make sure you follow to the letter. Each day in practice, no matter who you’re training with, no matter how much better you may be, you MUST beat them as badly as you can. You must make sure you never let up one bit BECAUSE IF YOU DO – YOU WILL GET WORSE.”
My eyes bulged. I didn’t like the idea of getting worse.
My coach then added: “If you don’t give it all you’ve got – not only will you get worse – but you’re not helping your teammates become as good as they can be. If we want them to get better, if you want them to eventually push you and make you better, then they need to be pushed by you right now. Doing so will make you and them better.”
I realize the above may seem heartless to some people, but it’s a reality that all great athletes must contend with at some point in their careers.
When no one in practice is pushing you – you’ve got to find ways to push yourself. You’ve got to make yourself your biggest competition.
If you don’t do this, you’ll get worse. And when that happens, you won’t understand why.
Being the best in a small pond can be dangerous because you may start thinking that your small pond is reflective of the whole world. It’s not. There are people all over the world – in other ponds – and they’re not resting on their laurels. They’re training and practicing and working. And they’re very, very HUNGRY.
So to stay sharp, get sharper and keep on improving – you better emblazon the following two words into your consciousness:
It’s a different way of saying you need a burning desire. It’s also a way to FEEL the message in the pit of your stomach – in your solar plex, in your heart and in your head.
In good times and bad.
Be Still – and Flow,
P.S. I’ll be announcing the time and date for the Neg Busters/Theatre of the Mind teleseminar very soon. When I do there will be a registration page. Stay tuned so that you’re on this powerful, life-changing hook-up.