Stay Hungry: Finding Satisfaction in Dissatisfaction
It may sound strange, but for me, my greatest satisfaction is found in my dissatisfaction, and I am the most full when I am the most hungry.
And this is no play on words on my part. The very fact that I am driven to the degree that I am never satisfied is the very thing that brings me the most satisfaction. Having a calling and purpose that eats a hole on the inside of me is what keeps a continual grin on my face.
Hunger is a void that makes itself known through the discomfort. You know when you’re hungry for food because your stomach will signal you that the void needs to be filled. It will interrupt your thoughts and actions until you finally sit down to eat, and for some, it’ll even put them in a bad mood!
However, a hunger for food is easily satisfied is it not? Even desires like sex can be ravenous, but again, it is easily satisfied. Granted, desires like sex and an empty stomach will keep returning, but they can always be pacified.
Don’t Feed a Fire That You Want to Burn Out
So why would I find satisfaction in my dissatisfaction, and why would I say that I am the most full when I’m the most hungry?
It’s because there are other types of hunger that can never be satisfied. For example, a fire can never be satisfied no matter how much you feed it. It always hungers, and the more you feed it, the more it wants. In fact, left to itself, a fire will rage and grow to the extent that it finds something to feed upon. The fire’s hunger only dies when it runs out of food.
This is the way our passions and interests are. They are never satisfied. If you have a love for a profession or a keen interest in a hobby, then the more you feed it, the more it grows.
For example, I’ve yet to meet the serious musician who was ever “satisfied” with their progress or creative expression. The more they’re around their instrument, or a music scene, the more they want to play. Music is always foremost on their mind.
It’s the same with any serious interest or passion. It’s a fire that will continually feed, and it’s one that can never be quenched. The only way to shut it down would be to get away from it completely.
Don’t read about it. Don’t listen to it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t watch anything that has to do with it. Nothing. You have to totally cut it off. Don’t feed a fire that you want to burn out.
The Satisfaction of Being Dissatisfied
But we don’t want our passions to burn out, and we don’t want our calling or purpose to lose strength. We want to feed them continually, and we don’t seem to mind that those desires are never satisfied.
However, there is a satisfaction that comes with our continual sense of dissatisfaction, and we can feel fulfilled by having a hunger that never dies. How does this happen? It’s because these deep desires and pangs of hunger give us a sense of meaning, purpose, and direction in life.
There’s something very satisfying about knowing what one wants while also knowing that you’ll never outlive your deepest desires. Just compare it to the life of someone who just wanders through life without passion or direction. Try to imagine yourself as one of those lost souls who has nothing to inspire them to turn off the television and get off the couch.
I often say, “If it was worth the price of my goals, I’d definitely watch more television,” but when you’re driven by a hunger for something then nothing trivial interests you. If anything, you become annoying to those around because you appear obsessed, but obsession is what it takes to do anything great. Sure, there’s a balance, but that’s the easy part. The real problem is that most people are not driven.
Crowd Out the Competing Desires
If you’re not hungry enough right now, then you know what to do. Remember, passions are like fire so they grow the more you feed them. So, how do you cultivate a greater hunger for something you want? By dwelling on it. By feeding on it. By keeping it in front of your mind’s eye. You cultivate hunger by a positive coveting of that which you say you really want.
The point is that you have to “crowd out” any competing desires because they’ll war against your focus, and the more you keep your passions and interests before you, the more you’ll hunger for them.