How hungry are you?

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by Eizu Uwaoma

Along the bank of a village river, laid a man by the name of Izubuuba Nwalimu. Izubuuba Nwalimu held a reputation for profound wisdom. One day, he was meditating at the riverside when a young man interrupted him. “Master, I want to become your disciple,” said the man. “Why?” replied Izubuuba. The young man thought for a while and said, “Because I want to find success and perhaps become great”. Izubuuba at this point played numb to his statement as he buried his mind into the stroking of his finger in a back and forth loop deeper into the water, gently making ripples and leaving the young man inattentively to suspense. After a few minutes of the man repeatedly pleading, Izubuuba looked up to him.

Speechlessly, Izubuuba grabbed the man by the scruff of his neck, dragged him into the river, and plunged his head under water. After holding him there for a minute, with him kicking and struggling to free himself, Izubuuba finally pulled him up out of the river. The young man coughed up water and gasped to get his breath. When he eventually quieted down, Izubuuba spoke. “Tell me, what you wanted most of all when you were under water.” “Air!” answered the man. “Very well,” said Izubuuba. “Go home and come back to me when you find a passion worth fighting and the right need for fulfillment as much as you just wanted air. That’s the key to success and greatness”.

How hungry are you? One of the secrets to growth is to stay hungry and foolish. Staying hungry means to never be satisfied, to always push you. To stay foolish means to be willing to keep trying the things people say cannot be done. Everything around you, what you live as life, what you enjoy and hate is made possible by people who are not exactly smarter than you. They are just hungrier; they are just more curious; they are just bigger dreamers and believers. They are perhaps more strategic, creative, committed and have taken the right but daring steps, especially the ones you have not taken yet.

An African proverb says that “It is the person who is not hungry that says that the coconut has a hard shell”. You have the ability to crack the code of real greatness. I strongly believe that once upon a time, we were all born to be supernatural and extraordinary, but many of us just downgraded along the way to become human. You are more awesome than an average human. But that difference can only be found in drive and commitment.

Somewhere in Africa, every morning, a GAZELLE wakes up knowing it must OUTRUN the FASTEST LION or it will be KILLED. A LION also WAKES up KNOWING that it must run FASTER than the SLOWEST GAZELLE, or it will STARVE. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the LION or a GAZELLE – when the SUN comes up, you’d BETTER be RUNNING!!!

In the Gazelle illustration, the lion although naturally faster than the Gazelle most times seems to not catch the Gazelle. Off course! This is because the lion is running for its food while the gazelle is running for its life! By psychoanalysis, our drive comes from our big why
In the Gazelle illustration, the lion although naturally faster than the Gazelle most times seems to not catch the Gazelle. Off course! This is because the lion is running for its food while the gazelle is running for its life! By psychoanalysis, our drive comes from our big why. Purpose is key. The people who have found a higher and deeper purpose than self-seem are hungrier and eager. To grow, you must stay Hungry and Eager. Your purpose will determine your hunger, and your hunger will determine how fast and how far you can go.

I believe that hunger is a gift to man. It spurs us all to leave our comfort zone. Those who don’t have it don’t have much. I can understand when a rich kid isn’t driven or not hungry. But for the guy still on the street who hasn’t made it and don’t seem hungry, what is your stomach full on? In metaphor, I can’t stand when underdogs or small businesses don’t have speed, drive or excellence. I can understand when the management of large firms try to maintain status quo, or when their staff take time or concentrate on getting power and playing politics at work, or when there is a queue in attending to customers as a result of overbooking, so things can be delayed. I will blame it on bureaucracy and comfort. But what should I blame yours on? Comfort is a rich man or big firm’s problem. The truth is, you cannot be a poor man with a rich man’s problem. Small businesses should have no business with all these big men problems. Be hungry.

Have you noticed that hunger hasn’t killed anyone you know, not even the poorest or the laziest man you know? Here’s why:

In Microeconomics, it’s called the Utility Theory. When broken down, it simply explains that for you to move ahead you must leave your comfort zone. For you to get there, the pain of where you are (say hunger) must become larger than the total effort and sacrifice to get there (steps to get food). Until this happens to you, your business, family, team, you would only keep complaining.

By Statistics, it’s only less than 20 percent of any generation that ever succeeds. This is because most people are ordinary (80 percent), they wait on the Utility Theory to prompt them to action. And only extra-ordinary people (20 percent) go the extra-mile.

Even though we strive to be successful and significant, but only a few of us will be anything close to greatness. Greatness is the art of extraordinarily impressing the times lived; it requires a lot of sacrifice and eagerness. Posterity needs to see a dying drive to make sacrifices while taking steps. We need defined steps to all of these. It starts when we begin to see a need for us to go further ahead of just trying to succeed in our wants. Success dies with us but greatness outlives us. Know what you are striving for; is it to just get by, to pass through, to do better than good enough, to cut corners just to succeed to show off or to significantly add value? These drives are the difference between the interest, the commitment, the struggle, the mere success and real greatness. By your hunger, you choose; stay hungry, stay foolish.

Uwaoma Eizu

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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