Here is a true life story. A young man had an idea to start a computer training institute. He felt his idea could compete and thrive regardless of the existing competition including multinational companies. Instead of starting from scratch with no money of his own, he decided to start as a franchise. His friends thought he was biting more than he could chew. He reached out to a global company and applied for a startup franchise.
After reviewing his application, as part of company policy, they had to fly a team of delegates to meet him and inspect his facilities. He had no office space. The only place he could invite them was to his house. When the team arrived, the first thing they noticed was his large shelf of books. Interestingly, a good part of their meeting was spent on discussing books.
Other bigger businesses had already applied for the franchise but from meeting with the young man, they found one quality that gave them the confidence that he was the right man for the job. They were willing to award him the sole franchise in the country over bigger competitors but there was one more requirement. He needed an investment of about $250,000 to qualify for a startup franchise.
Not deterred, he researched for a potential investor; someone that will have an interest in the industry and the potential value of the business. He identified a wealthy businessman and learned the man would be at a conference in town.
He met the wealthy man at the conference and briefly told him about his innovative idea that would require an investment of about $250,000. The rich man told him to meet him at his home on Saturday morning by 7 am.
Now every last Saturday of the month was a day for environmental sanitation in the state. Typically, the law forbad movement in the state until 10 am. But he wasn’t ready to miss this opportunity. To meet up with his appointment, he went on Friday night and slept outside. At 6:45 am he knocked at the gate.
The wealthy businessman nodded on seeing him. After extensive discussion, the rich man said to him, “you are hungry. I will give you the money” That was how New Horizons Computer Learning Centre started in Nigeria in 2004. Today the company, by Mr. Tim Akano, has more than seven locations and ranks among the top ICT training centres across the country.
The Unstoppable Force
From beating larger competitors to win the franchise, to winning the investor, what is the common thing that got this man ahead? It wasn’t his talent. The bigger competitors definitely had more talents. It wasn’t his connections. He didn’t know anyone from the start. It wasn’t his money. I mean, if he had the money, he won’t be looking for an investor. The one outstanding quality that is consistent in this story was that he was hungry to succeed no matter what. The delegates from the New Horizons team saw a hungry young man who will succeed at all cost. In addition to his expression of enthusiasm to see this through, his shelf of books and knowledge gave them reassurance that this person will go to any legitimate length to make the business successful.
What about the rich man who agreed to shell out a huge sum of money, which is a lot more in today’s dollar and exchange rate? He saw a young man who was hungry and demonstrated his passion to succeed. The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going. And the way a poor and ordinary person can become unstopping is to be driven by the hunger to prove yourself worthy of success.
Hunger eliminates failure as an option
In the year 1519, Hernán Cortés arrived in the New World with six hundred men. Upon arrival, he destroys his ships. This sent a clear message to his men: There is no turning back. Two years later, he succeeded in his conquest of the Aztec empire. Hunger drives you to eliminate every other option and go all-in towards your dream. You will know how fiercely competitive someone can be when they have nothing to lose. It is people that say ‘if I perish, I perish’ that end up transcending all human expectations.
When I decided to not pick up my engineering certificate after graduation, I didn’t have anything to fall back on. So failure was not acceptable. I had no other option but to search deeper and use what I could find of myself. Most people don’t pursue their dreams because they are afraid of going hungry for what to eat. So they treat their dream as a hobby while settling with what is comfortable and predictable. The best thing you can do to change your future is to go all in and bet on yourself. Because it is people that say ‘if I perish, I perish’ that end up transcending all human expectations.
Hunger is a driver
People who are hungriest are often people who have someone or people to prove wrong. When people consistently tell you that you don’t belong here, you don’t have what it takes; you are not made for this. You are either consumed by self-pity or you get driven to succeed and prove the naysayers wrong. Michael Jordon was rejected by his school’s basketball team because his height was not good enough. His desire to prove his naysayers wrong fueled his passion to get better.
The world isn’t fair. Life isn’t fair. It’s going to push you around. It’s going to beat you down and it’s going to beat you up. It doesn’t care how intelligent you are; or how good looking you are, or how talented you are; life will beat you to submission if you are not hungry enough to keep pushing back until you win. Success doesn’t come to the most intelligent or the most talented. Success comes to those who are the most hungry for it.
Hunger drives improvement
Hunger is a game changer. The world wouldn’t have experienced the level of advancement we have today if not for hungry men; people who were too restless to settle for the status quo. Steve Jobs didn’t just advise a bunch of graduates to Stay Hungry and Foolish, he exemplified the hunger for innovation and improvement.
One thing I dread the most is getting to the end of my life and realizing I haven’t fully lived. In fact, just typing this out got my eyes teary. I dread the thought of it. Many times I get the feeling to relax and just enjoy the little success I’ve had. But that hunger will always creep up and make me uncomfortable with settling. If you don’t have something that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning; something that makes you excited about life and pushes you to get better. You need to slow down whatever you are doing and re-evaluate your life. “An unexamined life is not worth living”
How Hungry Are You?
What are you willing to give up to get what you want? What sacrifices are you willing to make? What excuses are you willing to let go? Are you willing to experience humiliation, embarrassment, rejection as part of the price? Are you truly committed to success or do you just like the idea? Most people just like the idea of success. They just wish for it. They talk about it. They think about it. They complain about it, but they don’t really want it. For some people, they don’t want success as bad as they want to watch their favorite premier league club win the cup. For some, they do not want success as bad as they want to get likes and retweets on social media. For others, they do not want success as bad as they want to watch reality TV shows and movies. How bad do you want success? How hungry are you?
Hunger is what is going to make you unstoppable. Hunger is what is going to keep you going when things get tough. Hunger is what will force you to learn the skills you need to learn. Hunger is what will compel you to get out of your shell and risk being riddled, rejected, and embarrassed for the greater fulfillment of proving to yourself that you desire better. When you know what you want and you want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it.
The problem with everything I’ve said so far is that you cannot teach hunger. It has to come from within. You can’t download it online. You can’t achieve success from following successful people. You see, this video might make you a bit uncomfortable at the moment but if you are not hungry by your own compulsion, the feeling won’t last.
You don’t get hungry from watching people on Facebook, on Instagram living their lives. You have to look deeper inwards. You have to stop running away from yourself. You have to go back home to yourself. That is where you can ignite that flame on your spirit that will make you unstoppable. The single most important element of any human that separates the level of success from the rest is hunger. When you want something bad enough and you work for it long enough and you believe in it strong enough, you will get it. So let me ask you again, how hungry…. are you?
Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!