Why Desire Matters More Than Knowing How to Do Something

What do you think is the most important characteristic that influences the results you get? Do you think it’s knowledge, experience, or perhaps talent?

If your goal is to become a Hollywood movie star, what characteristic will give you the highest chance of achieving that? Would it be reading books, screenplays, and studying the greats? Or would working with professionals and going to an excellent acting school be the key? All of these factors will contribute to success, but what trumps all of them is desire.


The How-To Problem 

When people don’t know how to do something, it holds them back from even trying. They don’t know how to build the necessary skills, find the information needed, network with the right people or change their psychology. If you’re not achieving a goal, the gap between you and that goal is an obstacle you don’t know how to solve. 

Examples of these obstacles are:

Not knowing how to become a Hollywood movie star

Not knowing how to attract a high-quality partner

Not knowing how to overcome negative emotions.

Not knowing how to remove bad habits.

Not knowing how to start a business

Not knowing how to consistently eat healthily.

If you don’t have the answer right in front of you or try once and don’t get the desired result, you give up on finding the solution. This is the how-to problem; you prevent yourself from achieving something because you don’t know the answer. So many people are selling themselves short by making this mistake. To overcome this problem, you have to understand what desire is and how it shapes your entire life.


What is Desire? 

To have a desire, it means you want something strongly. Do you think desire significantly contributes to success, or is it just a subjective emotion that doesn’t count for much? 

On the surface, it seems like desire doesn’t contribute much to success because it’s just an internal feeling; it’s not producing anything tangible. Characteristics like knowledge and experience feel more tangible and directly relate to your results. But when you look at what desire is and how it works within your psychology, you realise that desire is the single most important characteristic for success.

Anything that you have ever achieved in your life came from desire. When you were a baby, you desired to eat, crawl, walk, and speak. Nobody told you how to do these things; you learned them because you desired to do so. There are no instructions on how to do any of these things; you learn through practice. 

As a baby, you can’t speak the first time you try. It takes a long time before you begin to form words. But you don’t give up after the first failure because you have a genuine desire to speak. You don’t question why it’s not working; you just keep practising until one day you can talk.

In a sense, we’re independent as babies because we have to learn everything for ourselves. As we get older, we become more dependent on other people to teach us things. We also become less tolerant of failure and become concerned with what people around us are doing. Our desires become shaped by what is socially acceptable, what is possible for the average person. If a goal feels too outlandish to achieve, our desire wanes over time. 


Historical Examples of Desire

In 1962, John F Kennedy (JFK) delivered a famous speech, announcing that we would be flying to the moon. When he gave this speech, some of the metals needed for the rocket hadn’t even been built yet. JFK wasn’t worried that he didn’t know how it was going to be done yet. He didn’t need to have every step mapped out because he had faith that they would work out the steps as they moved towards the goal.

This is a perfect example of having a strong desire. Announcing something like this to the public comes with tremendous pressure. His name was on the line, so people would remember him as a failure if the project failed. But since he had such a strong desire to accomplish this goal, his desire outweighed the risks and costs. The pressure didn’t concern him.

History is full of inventors, artists, and other visionaries who desired to see something accomplished. From building the pyramids to building corporations like Apple, it all started with a vision in somebody’s mind. They all trusted that they would overcome all the obstacles that stood in their way through sheer determination. 

But any desire you have is going to be far easier to accomplish. Unless you’re inventing something new, all of the answers to your problems are already available. They’re either written in a book, blog post, or by an expert in that field. Through pursuing the desire, you will be able to locate all of these answers. 


How Desire Works 

Whatever challenge you face in your life, don’t be discouraged by not knowing the solution. All you need is the desire, and then from that, the answers will come. If you have a strong enough desire, you’ll find the answers along the way.

If you want to be a Hollywood movie star, but you’ve got no acting experience, and you don’t know any contacts, it seems like this would be a problem. There are lots of people you’d be competing with that have both experience and contacts. Maybe they went to a prestigious acting school, or their parents know some famous film directors. 

But if your desire is strong enough, then these factors become irrelevant. Through your desire, you’ll discover ways to get the acting experience you need or meet the contacts you need. Maybe you have to go and spend two years working in a job you hate so that you can save up enough money to get into acting school. Or maybe you have to move away from your family and friends to move to a new city so that you can network with the right people.

When you have a genuine desire, you want to accomplish a goal so much that you won’t stop until it happens. If your main desire in life is to become a Hollywood movie star, and you set that as your number one priority, it would be almost impossible for you not to become a Hollywood movie star in your lifetime. If you set that as your top priority, all your actions will be based on moving towards that goal.


Using All of Your Resources 

In general, people aren’t getting the results they want, and it has nothing to do with the economy, the family they grew up in, or the lack of business opportunities in their chosen field. It has everything to do with their level of desire for accomplishing that goal. If you want something badly enough, then you’ll use all of your resources to make it happen. 

The more ambitious the accomplishment, the bigger the desire has to be. A goal like becoming a movie star is something you’ll be working towards for a decade or longer. By having a strong desire, it propels you to take action to work towards that goal every day. If you consistently work towards a goal for ten years or longer, putting as much effort as possible because the goal means so much to you, the results at the end will be extraordinary.

Working towards a long goal like this is a highly challenging feat that requires commitment from you. But in highly competitive fields like acting or sports, this type of desire is necessary to succeed.


Generating the Desire

Desire is a complex notion; there are varying degrees and types of desire. It’s not the case that you either have a desire or you don’t. You can have a strong or weak desire, a long or short-term desire; your desire could be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. All of these factors affect the quality of your desire and subsequently affect the quality of your results. 

To get the strongest possible desire, this is something that you cultivate. It’s weak to begin with, and over time it grows stronger. The best way of generating desire is to create a compelling vision for what you want in your life and why you want it. What do you want your life to be about?

Your vision should capture the most meaningful things to you, the things that will make you the happiest and most fulfilled. Once you’ve established what you want your life to be about, you can then work on cultivating the desire for that goal. 

If your goal is to become a movie star, think about how it would feel to star in your first film. What emotions would that evoke? How would you feel when you’re in the middle of a set? How excited would you be to wake up in the morning, knowing that you get to spend the day pursuing your greatest passion? How much pride would you have from knowing you spent years working on becoming a movie star and you finally made it a reality?


Cultivating the Desire

To cultivate your desire, you have to think about your vision daily. It has to be the most important thing to you. If you don’t think about it every day, it won’t be meaningful enough for you to take action towards the goal every day.

You would assume that the desire will naturally occur if you have a genuine interest or passion in a particular area. Passion and desire don’t work like that. It’s buried deep beneath all of the distractions and bad habits that you pick up. You occasionally get glimpses of it, but it takes work to fully tap into your passions and desires.

Most people are not living in alignment with their values because they haven’t prioritised them.

If you have a goal of becoming a movie star but spend your weekends partying and drinking, you’re never going to achieve that goal. You’ve placed partying above studying and practising in your list of priorities, so you’ll never take the necessary actions to become a movie star.

If you don’t reconnect with your vision daily, your top priorities will be the same as everyone else’s; comfort and entertainment. Whereas if you cultivate a strong desire by consistently thinking about what you want your life to be about, becoming a movie star will become a higher priority than partying with your friends. You’ll therefore spend your weekends training rather than partying. 

This is why cultivating a desire takes work. It requires a lot of time and effort to discover what your passions are. Once you find them, you have to reconnect with them daily. The reconnecting part is difficult because your lower self is only interested in engaging in low-consciousness activities like partying. But as you keep reconnecting to your vision, all of the distractions will fade out, and you’ll develop an unshakable desire.


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