Yesterday, I saw a Tweet to a blog post with a headline about how it’s good to be hungry when you’re trying to reach a goal, but starving for success can do more harm than good. I wasn’t in a position to read said article, and I’m certain I won’t be able to find it. I know if I search “hunger vs. starvation” or anything even close to that I’ll get more websites about feeding third world children than I can count. So, I figured I’d take a crack at it myself — Being in a position where I’m aiming to reach success.
You’re Hungry. It’s Time to Eat.
Being hungry is good. It means you’re out on the prowl. You’re eagerly searching and awaiting your next meal — in terms of writing, this may be your next story idea, or perhaps your polishing something for an agent, publisher, or editor — You’re planning things out and making sure all your bases are covered. When you’re hungry, you’re still making rational decisions. You’re still capable of considering what may be best for you, and how it will affect your future. Hunger for success means you’re willing to do what it takes to satisfy that need, but you’re also willing to go about it the right way to ensure that you aren’t sloppy about it. To make sure that something you thought would be good doesn’t end up hurting you later on.
You’re Starving. You’re Desperate
Starving for success may sound like you’re especially eager to be successful. You’re willing to do anything and everything to make sure that you get what you want, no matter the cost. This may seem like a faster way to success, but I don’t see it that way. When you’re starving there’s a higher chance for sloppiness. You’re not consciously deciding on what may be best for you in the long run. You’re grabbing the first thing you see and devouring it. Then, before you even swallow, you’re rummaging through the dumpster looking for the next thing to fill the emptiness. You’ll take any job or perform any task if you think it’ll help you out, when it may only be helping out someone else. Granted, helping others is good. Helping others builds connections and may make you feel good, but if you’re ravenous about doing whatever it takes, you may be setting yourself up for failure later on.
It’s good to want success. Who doesn’t want to be successful? But being successful means taking the steps to ensure you don’t burn any bridges right after you step off them. It means not grabbing the first bag of sugar-coated syrup-slathered deep fried lizard on a stick you find and devouring it while sobbing in the shower.
Uh, well, you get what I mean. Be willing to do what it takes to be successful, but use a little discretion.