The #1 ingredient in success. Without this nothing matters.
It’s November 2017, almost a year and a half ago.
I left Colombia a couple weeks back to go to Lithuania. Cold, with a language I don’t know. Sure my Grandfather’s grandfather came from there, but I don’t know the place.
“Acieu” means thank you… And it sounds like they’re sneezing. Still, I feel a sort of kinship with the place. A deep connection, and this was even before I knew my ancestry was from those parts.
With speakers and castles and a 4-star resort with a heated towel rack and warm fuzzy blankets, I learned the ins and outs of business and was super excited to start trying it all out.
But after the retreat was over I was still broke.
I had only a loan to my name, a loan of $65, which I got all from a dude I just met at the retreat, with the promise to pay him back.
And I hadn’t even bought my flight home.
I was scared. I was nervous. I didn’t know how I was going to make this money last in this cold, cold, confusing place. And I didn’t know how I was going to make the money to buy a flight back home. My parents decided to stop supporting me once I dropped out of college to pursue my dream, a choice I loved at the time and now have mixed feelings about - some positive, some negative.
I found “The 5-Euro Hostel” which, believe it or not, cost 5 Euros per night (shocker!) I stayed with smelly aggressive Russian dudes who I had to constantly assert myself to in order to maintain my boundaries. Something I’m capable of doing but am not used to… and it drained me.
In the middle of the night, I would go out to the lounge, still fucked up from the 8-hours of jet lag, and work on my online freelance business with tips from one of the speakers at the retreat.
I would get barely any sleep, but I got some progress.
The bathrooms were horrendous… Smelly, dirty. The showers were these portable things they hooked up to the water, like how you hook up a washing machine to the water. But at least they were warm.
I had pawned my Galaxy S8 back in Colombia to pay for my hotel for the equivalent of $135… Negotiating in a third language was an interesting experience. I remember the girl whispering in Spanish “Ask him for 550,000 Pesos [about $17 more than I got]” but I was so confused and proud of myself that I managed to get $$$ for it at all that I didn’t want to push my luck. I had gone to 8 pawn shops in the bustling market before one person was willing to take it at all.
So I was using my shitty, cracked Galaxy On5. A budget phone I had gotten as a backup a while back.
I could go on and on, and at some point I will probably write a book, or a series of blog posts and emails about that year. Or maybe all of the above. The experiences and lessons were amazing and unforgettable. I will always hold these months dear in my heart.
Here’s where I am now.
I have desires and ambitions. I have an ideal in my mind. But I am much further than where I was… And there’s one thing, and one thing only which got me here…
But Joe, what about hard work? What about taking action?
Yes, that’s super important. But the thing is, with desire comes focus. And with more desire comes the willingness to do anything to realize that goal.
The more you want something, the more you’re willing to do to create what you desire. Think of the last thing you wanted really really bad. Maybe it was a car. Maybe it was to upgrade your house or your apartment. Or to date that hottie at work. Or to save up $100,000 towards your future.
Do you remember what you were willing to do to make it happen? How much action you took to create it? Tons I’m sure.
And were you sad about having to do that?
Probably not. You probably were excited to get what you were desiring when you were done with your actions.
Desire is a cure-all. Sure action is important, and sometimes it’s important to push yourself to start acting if you’re too resistant to it. But with enough desire, anything is possible. Desire coupled with clarity and focus whispers the directions in your ear and gives you the fuel you need to blast off directly towards your target without abandon.
Some actionable tips to release resistance and up your desire:
Meditate every morning right after you wake up, before you do anything else.
Write about your ideal day and read it every morning right after you meditate.
Replace the “But what if” in “I want this but what if…” with “And what if”
Ex: “I want to save up $100,000 but what if it takes 20 years???” with “I want to save up $100,000 and what if it’s easier than I thought!”
Coupled with a realistic expectation on the world, and preparation for catastrophe, an optimistic view and openness to satisfying your desire allows you to maintain your course and take advantage of everyday good fortune that comes your way. Winners don’t rely on luck, but they do take advantage of it when it comes, and it comes more often if you’re looking for it.
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