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What’s Your WHY?

May 14, 2017

Today I want to talk about desire.

When I say desire I know many people’s minds move towards the direction of that strong sexual feeling or appetite that causes human beings to throw caution to the wind for a few seconds of ecstatic abandon. No. That’s not my focus, Not for today anyway.

Today I want to focus on that strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen so badly that you are willing to do anything to make it happen. Well, I guess in a way that’s what a sexual desire can make someone do, but I digress.

For desire to happen, there has to be something that activates it. There has to be something that triggers that strong urge or feeling to make something happen, the desire to do something. Desire responds to a trigger, a trigger that can also be referred to as a strong WHY and so it is somehow difficult to address desire as a component of success, without addressing the WHY factor.

I have said this many times and I will say it again today; success leaves clues. Any successful person you will ever talk to will tell you that they had a very strong reason why they did whatever they did to get to where they are today. Their success didn’t just fall off some tree, but they had to consciously decide to do whatever it took to become successful.

Many will also tell you that they came from zero to hero, from grass to grace, and it is those moments of being below zero that made them decide that enough was enough, that they wanted to make a change to their lives and create a legacy for themselves. For instance, when you are so poor that you cannot even afford to buy food for your family, that is a strong reason to cause you to wake up and make a change to your life.

Ask one Anthony Robbins; he’ll tell you what it is like to live in a home where no one knows where the next meal is going to come from. Today Harvard Business School Press ranks him among the "Top 200 Business Gurus”. Now whether this is only in America or in the world it doesn’t matter. The fact is, he is no longer living in abject poverty like he did when he was young. He found his WHY, it activated a strong desire to change his life, then he did whatever he had to do for him to change his story, and today we are reading about him, watching him transforming lives and even after he is long gone from this world, he will still be remembered because he has left a mark in history. Why? Because of his WHY.

Then there is the larger than life Les Brown, who together with his twin brother were abandoned when they were very young. They were adopted by a woman who took care of them together with five other children. Needless to say, it was a life of struggle and the woman who adopted them had to do various jobs to ensure that those children she adopted never went hungry. As Les Brown was growing up, he saw the struggles his (adopted) mother was going through and he vowed in his heart that one day, she will not work anymore but would live like a queen because he was going to make sure she did. Of course it didn’t happen immediately but eventually he did realize his dream of buying the best house for his mother. Did it come easily? No! Infact when you listen to his story it will break your heart because of the many challenges he went through. What kept him grounded? His WHY. Today, Les Brown easily makes USD 100,000 just to speak for one hour.  In other words, if he wanted to make USD 1 Million, in one day, all he has to do is accept invitations to speak for 10 hours within that one day and by the time he goes to sleep, he would be $1M richer. Why? Because he had a strong WHY and developed himself to the point of realizing his why.

It’s possible that there’s someone reading this post today and thinking that it was easy for the two examples cited above to make it because they are in America. We also have Africans who rose from rugs to riches, from grass to grace, from zero to hero and from nobodies to somebodies. Yes, right here in Africa.In Zimbabwe for instance, there is one gentleman called Strive Masiyiwa. Actually Forbes refers to him as the richest man in Zimbabwe. If you’ve never heard about him, maybe after you are done reading this article you can spend a few minutes googling him and reading about him. You’ll be amazed. Then there is one very impressive man from Kenya now fondly known as “The YouTube Athlete”. You don’t even have to know his name but if you search "the youtube athlete" on Google, you will get a lot of information about him.

But that’s still very far Liz, someone might be thinking. Ok then. Let’s bring this home. How many of you know the powerhouse called Joyce Kiria? If you watch local TV, you must have seen her hosting various shows all geared towards empowering people. But do you know what her story is? She came from beyond humble beginnings; from being a standard seven student to being a house girl, then selling food on a small scale, to being a helper in a shop, etc.  Her story is like a Telemundo movie and unless you read it for yourself, I can’t be able to narrate it here. Thinking about it now I think she should consider creating a movie out of her life; I believe it would sell and encourage very many women in Africa. Needless to say, today she is nobody’s house girl. Why? Because she found her WHY.

Friends, if every morning you wake up you find you don’t have a strong desire pushing you to do something, then it means that “something” is not really a strong WHY for you. This means it doesn’t stir you as it should. Like Lou Holtz put it, “If you are bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals”.  In other words, your WHY can also be described as your goal. When your WHY (goal) is strong enough your desire to fulfill it becomes even stronger. In relation to desire, Napoleon Hill had this to say; “the starting point of all achievements is a desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.”

In order to activate that “burning feeling in you” to make a difference in your life, you must have such a powerful WHY that even when things happen that will disappoint you (Oh and I can bet you they will),  you will still find strength to wake up every morning with a fresh determination to start again like you have never been disappointed before. Again to quote Napoleon Hill, “When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve”. But your desires will only be strong if your WHY is equally strong.

As you go about this coming week look inwards to ascertain whether you really do have a strong WHY to keep you motivated and highly fired up to make it happen. Remember, it is not until you have a desire that things will change in your life. The deeper your desire, the higher the chances of you making things happen in your world.

Someone else’s desire for you to succeed will not work for you until you yourself possess that desire for yourself! Can someone have a haircut on your behalf? No. If you want a haircut you go to the barber’s yourself. Desire works the same way too.

Once again I leave you with this quote by Napoleon Hill; “the starting point of all achievements is a desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.”


PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 14th May, 2017, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".




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