The story below is contained in “CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL, A Second Helping”. The author is unknown:
Three cowboys had been on the range since early in the morning. One of them was a member of the Navajo Nation. Being busy with herding stray cattle all day, there had been no time for the three of them to eat. Toward the end of the day, two of the cowboys started talking about how hungry there were and about the huge meals they were going to eat when they reached town. When one of the cowboys asked the Navajo if he was also hungry, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “No”
Later that evening, after they had arrived in town, all three ordered large steak dinners. As the Navajo proceeded to eat everything in sight with great gusto, one of his friends reminded him that less than an hour earlier he had told them that he was not hungry. “Not wise to be hungry then,” he replied, “No Food.”
While this story may over simplify the issue of desire and need, it teaches us an important message. Years ago someone told me that to feel truly successful we need to do one of two things:
a) Work harder to attain all our wants, or
b) Reduce our wants
It could also be said that a balanced mix of both methods would work the best. Most people do not have a problem with the first step, the challenge comes with the second. A popular dance song says what many people often feel, “I know what I want, and I want it now…”
If we can learn to remove the link between the ‘feeling of success’ and the ‘attainment of our wants’, then we will immediately become more successful. We will feel more successful because we are happier with our current situation.
As I have said before, your level of success. In life is measured (most easily) by the number of days (minutes) that you are happy. If this is true, then in our story was the Navajo more successful then the other two? I think so. He was happier with his current situation than they were, and was therefore feeling more successful than the other two, who were experiencing hunger (a desire for the temporarily unattainable).
Some people may suggest that the Navajo was actually hungry, and that he only answered that he wasn’t. They may suggest this because after all, how can you control your feelings of hunger?
First of all, there is no question in my mind that feelings like hunger, pain, pleasure and others can be controlled far more than most people give themselves credit for. Secondly, even if we can’t (we can) control a feeling like hunger, there is no question that any feelings that we link up to money, cars or other material goals can be altered and controlled. In short, if there are things which are temporarily out of reach, that is all they are, out of reach. They are not ‘failure’, ‘disappointment’ or ‘longing’ – unless you allow them to be.
Think about it. Are there goals that you have right now that will help you feel more successful once you attain them? What would happen if – right now – you were to realize that you are successful regardless of those goals? I believe that, if you really believe in yourself (and in your success), that your desires and wants will come to fruition.