Only Hunger Can Create Success

By: Keith L. Graham

When asked what motivates me, “I often reply with just one word HUNGER!”

Throughout my life experiences I can reflect back on how I arrived where I am today. God has everything to do with it but, my Mother who recently passed had a lot to do with the development of my sister and me. Through her struggles, her courage, her commitment we were literally programmed to handle anything and keep moving. My Mother had a HUNGER to not allow herself or her children to ever know the taste of welfare, to ever feel poor or under-privileged. That HUNGER drove her to work hard until we were grown and could take care of ourselves. She retired after my 1st re-enlistment in the Air Force. Her success was to see her children surviving, living well, and not a statistic of the judicial system. Her HUNGER was witnessed by me early enough to know I did not want to ever “HAVE TO” work that hard and still struggle. Her life was my MOTIVATOR!! Thank You MOM for the hard love, the whippings, the sacrifices, and the comfort you gave both of us. Good or bad it gave me the ability to make some decisions about my life and where I wanted to be (really where I didn’t want to be).

Decisions you make right now will affect you 5 – 10 years down the road. As well as decisions you made 5 years ago are affecting you at this moment. In addition to my Mother being a MOTIVATOR, I had another, “HUNGER.” Those who know me well know I am always hungry. Eating is like my favorite pastime. I knew as a child that HUNGER was one of my main motivators. Let me illustrate it by a not so great childhood experience of how HUNGER motivated me. NOTE: (disclaimer) I do not recommend this tactic in anyway. Luckily, the person on the receiving in had more sense than I did at the time. But, I was hungry so it was my excuse; more to the point my reason why.

I had to be no more than 10 years old when this happened. My cousin Jesus had come home from prison just a few days before this happened. I came into the house to make me a sandwich and go back outside. As kids we never stayed in the house longer than 30 minutes during the day because Grandma would find something for you to do. I pulled out a jar of French’s mustard, some bread, and spiced ham. Jesus came into the dining room, pulled out a chair and sat by me. I was very hungry from not eating breakfast that morning. After making my sandwich I closed the bread, wrapped up the lunch meat, and proceeded to put the top on the mustard. When to my surprise my cousin snatched my sandwich and took a bite out of it (a tactic he obviously learned in prison). Puzzled and very upset by what he did, especially since I was so hungry and Grandma was already looking for something for me to do, I responded the way we were taught, “to fight our own battles. “ With the jar of mustard still in my hand I threw the remaining mustard in his face. He ran to the sink scream about his eyes burning and proceeded to wash the mustard out of his eyes and face. I nonchalantly took the butter knife and cut off the part where he bit my sandwich, picked it up and ate it as fast as I could. I was expecting to have to run to avoid getting my butt kick and looked for my escape route. As I moved toward the door my cousin Jesus said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to bother with you. Anyone that has hunger motivation is not someone you want to play with.” He said I had more guts than anyone he ever met in prison. To this day whenever I am eating and he’s around he unconsciously moves to the other side of the room or table.

I shared this story because I realized at a young age how I am motivated by various stimuli. All these motivations occur around a hunger. Whether that hunger is physical, mental, spiritual, sexual, or financial they encompass one goal; SATISFYING YOUR HUNGER!!! There are a few things that go along with hunger. They are Desire, Sacrifice and Will. I will touch on these just a little. These ELEMENTS OF HUNGER will have you do things that others are not willing to do. They give you the motivation to go that extra mile whenever everyone else quits or takes a break. It gives you the focus to see pass your current situation and envision yourself at the full and satisfying completion of your HUNGER.
In order to be successful, it starts with a dream or a vision. That dream or vision stimulates and motivates your HUNGER to dig deep inside of you and fight your way to the top. It drives you to satisfy your cravings. This HUNGER, motivated mankind to hunt in order to eat and stay warm. That motivation led him to migrate from land he was familiar with to new frontiers in order to survive. The survival instinct was to satisfy his hunger. But he could not think about just himself. He had to provide for his family and others in the tribe. He had to put others that depended on him above himself. The HUNGER for the need of reliable faster travel compelled man to inventing the locomotive and automobile. Most importantly, the HUNGER to provide for his/her family led man to create industries and inventions that helped in the production of goods that satisfied basic needs. Man’s pursuit to satisfy HUNGER also provided another need, the need of recognition, The HUNGER to leave a mark on this earth when he/she are gone; the HUNGER to do something of significance with the dash between their birth date and death date. Inadvertently, this led to the creation of WEALTH. Out of the creation of wealth grew the HUNGER to pass that wealth on to his/her children’s children. We call this GENERATIONAL WEALTH!!! Without HUNGER man would have just stopped at an idea. But, because he had motivation or a compelling reason why, he was able to see it through to completion.

In previous paragraphs I hinted on the types of HUNGER, as well as, elements of HUNGER. In all HUNGER there is a physical need, mental need, spiritual need, sexual need, or financial need that you desire to satisfy. Your desire to look your best, be happy, to seek the love and grace of your creator, to have the love and support of your spouse or significant other, and to provide financial stability for you and your family, stems from this HUNGER. It can only be measured by how successful you are at satisfying your dreams, desires, and needs.
Now let’s put this all in perspective. Every good parent has a strong desire for their children to live a better, happier life and have better life opportunities than they did. They may have the desire to have their child go to college provide financial security for that child and future grandchildren. The desire to accomplish these goals allows them to make a few sacrifices. They will work harder, go without material things, and even go without eating if they knew it would benefit their child. This is an inherent HUNGER to provide a safe, secure, and nurturing environment. The children may not recognize those sacrifices until later in life, ironically this is about the same time they develop the same HUNGER for their family. It is desires and sacrifices like these that create who we are. They gives us motivation that assist us in satisfying our HUNGER…
Now let’s talk about WILL!!! A Great Champion, Muhammad Ali once said, “Champions are made of something they have deep inside them. A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last minute stamina. They have to be a little stronger, a little faster. They have to have the skill and the will. But the WILL must be stronger than the skill.” This simple quote from a great man alludes to HUNGER. Simply put, you might not have a PhD. You may not have a degree at all. But you have a resource greater than any piece of paper. You have the ability to dream. You have the ability plan. You have a desire to satisfy a HUNGER. You have a WILL!!! This will must be first formed in the mind. It has to be something you truly believe in. It must be accompanied with your reason why. Your reason why has to be so compelling that it makes you cry, make you fight for success, and makes you push yourself when you have nothing else left. It has to motivate you to go beyond your means and when you get there go some more. It could be you have a desire to put your child through college without the help of student loans. It could be to put a stable roof over your families head. It could be to provide the best health care for an elderly parent. Whatever the case, your HUNGER has to be satisfied. It may be painful during the process but, the reward makes it worth it in the end. Most body builders say, “There is no gain without pain.” I do not know about you but, HUNGER pains have always made me feel uncomfortable. With that uncomfortable feeling came the motivation to curb my HUNGER. Whenever I’ve had hunger pains my stomach tells my brain to immediately get food in me NOW!!! Those that know me know I get very agitated when I get hungry. I call it HANGRY!!! At that moment my thought processes become focused on getting something in me. I basically drop everything to satisfy my hunger. From the moment I take a bite, it’s like a rush of fresh air coming over me. I am a little happier, a little satisfied. But, I am not content. Why, because I have only just begun to satisfy my HUNGER. In order to feel I successfully satisfied my HUNGER, I must feel full. The same thing happens in life. The HUNGER you need to succeed must lead to fulfillment.
The key components of success are to have a Dream or Vision that leads to Desire, Will, and Sacrifice. You must also have a HUNGER to see them through. More importantly you have to have a call to action. We call that a PLAN. This plan must be written. An unwritten plan is a plan for failure. Not only do you have to write your plan, you must also read it no less than twice a day. This will motivate you to follow through with daily task in order to accomplish your goals. In addition, I always suggest having your reason why written or displayed directly under your plan. (Note: Your reason why cannot just be about money. It has to be a HUNGER the use of the money can satisfy. If it’s only about money eventually you will be burned out or unhappy with life itself). I also suggest placing all this on a VISION BOARD so everyone, especially your family, can see it. If you family understands your goals, it helps them support your vision and dreams.

You have to be willing to let some things go. Some of these things include negative friends and family members, anger, revenge, jealousy, a job you are not happy with. You may have to even let go of your wants versus your needs (i.e. not buying an expensive car, purse, pair of shoes, or the latest gadget). You have to sacrifice being comfortable for being uncomfortable. Take ownership of the uncomfortable feeling and turn it into an HUNGER to SUCCEED. Look at it this way, remember going to that old church with the wooden pews. They were hard and very uncomfortable so you moved around a lot. You could hardly wait for a reason to stand up because of that uncomfortable feeling. It motivated you to do something. However, when you got to the new church with the nice cushioned seats, you got comfortable, stood up a little less, and sometimes stayed in church a little longer. Some of you even doze off. Why because you were comfortable, you got stagnant. If you want to succeed you can’t be comfortable you must be uncomfortable. Your HUNGER has to drive you to be uncomfortable. Your HUNGER has to drive your Desire to be successful. Your HUNGER has to be the driving factor for you to sacrifice needs. Your HUNGER to SUCCEED has to will you to do what others won’t do!


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