Rules For Life – Stay Hungry
by Ken La Salle
Welcome back to my continuing series of Rules For Life.
Since I wrote about letting go of dissatisfaction last month, this month I thought I would advocate for just the opposite. Because, you know, satisfaction (or happiness or whatever you’d like to call it) exists as so many things do within a spectrum. Yes, wallowing in dissatisfaction can hold you from happiness but so can building a fort of contentedness. It’s just a matter of extremes.
My life as an independent writer requires me to manage my career as a business. And I like to keep my employees hungry. I like to give myself too much work because that lights a fire in me. There’s pressure. I like to always raise the bar as much as I can. That creates expectation. I kind of like to make myself a bit miserable. And I would like to tell you why.
Have you ever indulged in a really good Thanksgiving dinner? The kind where there are seconds to be had, seconds on pie, too? And you just say, “Bring it on,” and enjoy yourself. Then, afterwards, you find out your energy approximates that of a beached whale. You don’t want to move. You don’t want to think.
Right there. At that moment, you are about as contended as you’re ever going to be. You could be carried away by a million, little ants but, by gosh, you are contented. Nothing can bother you, not even when the ants drag you down into their – I was going to say “anthill” but, who are we kidding, they probably rented a room at the local Motel 6. So, now, you’re being slow-cooked under a heat lamp in a Motel 6 by a million, little ants but that doesn’t bother you because you’re contented.
And I think contentment does that to us in a way. Too many of us find life so comfortable that they just want to build that comfort up around them, block out the real world, block out their deeper wants and needs, and stay comfortable. In the end, you may be comfortable but your wishes and dreams will always remain those things you “wanted to do but never got around to.” And that’s it.
We have Rules For Life to help us make the most out of life and we do that by putting aside the superficial in order to attain our more difficult and most fulfilling dreams. Comfort is deceptive because it appeals to our sense of fulfillment (“Look at how big my TV is. I must be happy now, certainly!”) while removing us from that which will fulfill us. Comfort is superficial when it stands in the way of your dreams.
Which is why I say you have to stay hungry. Your desire for your dreams, for those people, or experiences, or things you’re going to need to be truly happy has to be greater than the appeal of any comfort.
You see, I’m writing this on the day before I have scheduled myself a 5,000 word day. For a writer – for this writer – laying down 5,000 words is not necessarily an easy thing. But I know I have to set the goal for myself because I have to stay on a schedule, and I have to stay on a schedule because I have so much fun ahead of me I do not want to miss one moment of it. And that’s why I think it’s important to stay hungry. It’s not about having it all. It’s about experiencing everything you can dream of, making your dreams a reality.
Comfort may fill you up within that fort you build, but it will never satisfy.
Stay hungry. Work for the dream that denies you comfort and you’ll find that far more worthwhile than mere comfort will ever be.
About the Author
Author and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. His plays have been seen in theaters across the country and you can find a growing number of books available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.