fire in the belly

As achievers, we all set up our BHAGs and work relentlessly towards accomplishing them. We participate in the journey and focusing on performing the key behaviors required to reach our goals every day, until one day we find ourselves standing on the top of the mountain and enjoying the breathtaking view. We finally get to experience true joy and contentment. 

But a common mistake that most of us make is that we keep enjoying those feelings for a tad longer and let them linger in our mind. This breeds stagnation, ego and over-confidence. And unfortunately, these things lead us back to failure and misery. 

We need to enjoy our wins but not for too long. Once we conquer a mountain and reach its peak, it’s time to focus on the next mountain peak, preferably a higher one. 

As Darren Hardy says, “You want to be a winner of course. The goal of this game called life is to win. But to win is different from being a winner. To win is an occurrence, to be a winner is a constant state of being, constant challenge, striving, growth and progress.”

So, what’s a good way to prevent the fire in your belly from getting extinguished? How do you keep your hunger, your drive to succeed, to stay disciplined, to be mentally tough, to focus, and to work hard and keep performing the key behaviors every day again and again intact? The short answer is that you need to find the fight within you. 

You have to use the voices of your critics, the naysayers, the people who doubt you and don’t believe in you and let them fuel you to work relentlessly to prove them wrong. As Robin Sharma says, “Take the stones people throw at you and use them to build a monument.”

No matter how many wins you have under your belt, instead of being an unconquerable giant, consider yourself an underdog. Think of yourself as one of the 300 Spartans, who in spite of being outnumbered put up a ferocious fight against Xerxes and his massive army of Persians. You have to intentionally condition and program yourself with an algorithm, if you will, that constantly gives you the ‘fire in the belly’ burning motivation to prove your critics and doubters wrong, and to prove to yourself that you are a perennial winner. 

French footballer Arséne Wenger once remarked, “When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation.”

So, whether you are a pro winner or someone who’s still struggling to score your first win, what’s your fight? Who is your nemesis? What or who are you fighting for? What is driving the rivalry between you and your enemy? Who are the people who mocked you, made fun of you, and told you that you couldn’t do it? 

This is the only way to keep the fire in the belly burning constantly within you. You have to decimate the complacency within you, the contentment that stays longer than it’s required to, and find the fight that constantly re-ignites the fire, the drive inside you that makes you unstoppable. 

As Arnold H. Glasow pointed out, “Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”