Why The Hungry Dog Hunts Best…

by heather

I know things are crazy out there right now. As I write this, the DOW is down nearly 400 points. Congress is trying to pass the newest stimulus bill. And, GM announced that they were laying off 10,000 workers, and cutting the pay for everyone else.

Yep, it’s another happy news day out there.

Although it might be hard to see right now, there is an upside to all this. And, it can be found in my favorite quote of all time:

“The hungry dog hunts best.”

-Lee Travino, golfer

The reason why I love this quote so much is because of what it implies: that only by living on the edge can we truly realize our potential. And right now, lots and lots of people have been forced to the edge.

Most of the time, people do everything they can to avoid living on the edge. They stay in comfortable jobs as long as they can, live in comfortable homes, buy “things” to make themselves feel successful. And that’s all well and good.

But the problem lies in the fact that doing this is static. There’s no drive to do anything fantastic or daring. Why would there be? People are not hungry. They’re not forced, in any way, to try something new, to get going on their dreams, or take the risk that could change their life forever.

How I Became A Hungry Wolf

I became a hungry wolf back in 2003. Back then, I had been working a full time job, and then suddenly got laid off. I’d been in college forever, accumulating credits like most people collect priceless stamps or Fiesta ware, but I had no “official” college degree. I was just interested in too many things to pick one.

The problem was that I knew I was smart, and I had skills that could really help an organization do their work better. But due to the economic climate of where I was living at the time, and the fact that I had no piece of paper to “prove” my intelligence and drive, I couldn’t find work to save my life. Even Starbucks wouldn’t call me back.

Needless to say, my self-esteem took a big hit.

It took months of fruitless job searching for the lightening bolt to hit. If I couldn’t find a job, then I’d make one for myself.

The idea was so outrageous, so daring, that I couldn’t even look at it at first. Heck, I was 23! What in the world did I know about starting a business? Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

But, it was my only option. So I jumped.

If I had never gotten laid off, and never had trouble finding another job, I never would have started my first business. And even though I don’t own that business now, that one step put me on the path to an incredibly satisfying and rewarding career as a freelance writer.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t been hungry.

Are You Ready To Start Hunting?

My point in all this is now that so many people are getting laid off, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the situation. There’s now millions of people grasping at a limited amount of straws. They’re all hungry to change their situation. But, not all of them are truly going to go hunting. Most are willing to wait around and hope to be fed.

If you go hunting it means that you’re making the conscious decision to change your fate. You’re not reacting to the situation, you’re proactively making the choice to take your destiny into your own hands.

Is it risky? You bet. Are you guaranteed success? No way. Will it be hard? Harder than you can imagine. But I’m here to tell you that you’ll feel more alive and more in control of your life than you ever did living the “comfortable” existence you had before.

How To Hunt

Obviously, if you’ve been laid off (or even if you’re contemplating leaving your job to go hunting) then you’ve got to pare away all the fat in your life. You’ve got to be a lean, mean, hunting machine.

This means the cable TV, the magazines, the Netflix subscriptions…all that needs to go. Get yourself in a situation where you can live on the smallest amount of money you can.

Can you sell your car and buy a cheaper one? Turn down your heat? Drink water instead of soda?

Trim, trim, trim. Be lean.

Your next step is going to examine what you’d really like to do with your life. And, this might take a while. At least, it did for me.

Make a list of all your strengths, even the things you might not think of as strengths. For instance, are you highly organized? Good at listening? Can you fix anything that’s broken? Make someone laugh?

Brainstorm what you’re best at. Don’t edit here, just write down whatever comes to mind. And if you truly don’t know, then ask your friends and family for help. Sometimes, they’ll know you better than you do.

It’s also important to try and determine where the economy is heading. For instance, most people think that “Green” is America’s industry of the future. And, running a green blog, I believe that. So, do you have any interest in working in the environmental industry? Would you like to become a green consultant, helping people make their homes and businesses more eco-friendly?

Healthcare is, according to many experts, the other major field that’s going to lead to job creation and growth.

Even if you don’t want to work in these two fields, there are countless areas that will grow in the future. I think what’s most important is to follow your heart here. Yes, it might be important to consider the economy and where it will be moving in the future, but what’s most important is listening to your inner voice. What have you always wanted, in your heart of hearts, to do?

And now that you’re hungry, are you willing to go hunting to get it?

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Middle Way February 11, 2009 at 10:41 am

Great post! Expanding my limits is what I work on each year in all areas of my life. The comfort zone can be a dangerous place…kind of like an animal that has gotten too domesticated and has lost its natural instincts. Ironically, going green, frugal for me has meant learning to fend for myself again — learning basic survival/life skills etc.

Scordo.com February 12, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Great subject! Reminds me of parent’s experience as immigrants and the great business saying, “Only the Paranoid Survive!”

Staying a hungry and going after things is about taking your life into your own hands and that’s a great life skill – regardless of life stage / wealth / etc.


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