Hungry for More in Your Life?
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Hungry for More in Your Life?Play Your Bigger Game
Renowned life coach Rick Tamlyn inspires people to be their best. He co-created a concept called The Bigger Game, where he dares you to step on one of the nine squares on a life-size game board. What happens when you find yourself standing on the square named “Hunger?” Read on…
Laura Whitworth, my cofounder of The Bigger Game, used to say that far too many people live with their hunger dials turned down. That’s not a problem for natural-born bigger game players, who use their hunger to create lives that fulfill them. The spiritual writer Thomas Merton wrote, “If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live or what I like to eat or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”
I’ve worked with clients who have purposely repressed or ignored their hunger pangs, because they were locked into a comfort zone that kept them from living fully. Others have admitted to simply being afraid to see where their hunger might lead them.
Often, people allow this to happen to avoid feeling disappointed. It strikes me as strange that we can live with other emotions, like sadness and fear, but most avoid disappointment at all costs. We really don’t like to go there. Maybe it’s the fact that disappointment is an emotion that rests squarely on the individual who is feeling it. You can’t blame anyone else. It’s internal. The connection to the Hunger square here is that those who squelch their hunger often do so to avoid disappointment.
The rationale seems to be that if we don’t want much, we won’t be disappointed. Whenever I say that in a speech, workshop, or seminar, I can hear people gasp in acknowledgment. The oxygen seems to leave the room for a moment. I once had a woman in an audience of a thousand people relate to this so intensely that she cried out, “You’ve just explained my whole life!”
In my surprise, I blurted out, “Is that a good thing?”
The woman realized that she hadn’t allowed herself to want much from life, because she didn’t want to be disappointed. That realization proved to be a cathartic moment for her. She vowed to rekindle her hunger for a better and more-fulfilling existence.
Think about reaching the end of your days on this earth. Do you want to reach that point wishing you’d reached higher? That’s how my father felt, and he made me promise that I wouldn’t follow the same path. You and I want to look back upon our lives and feel that we made the most of every talent, every opportunity, and every minute. That’s why I share The Bigger Game with people and organizations around the world. If I can help one person feel at life’s end, I went for it! then I’ve fulfilled my own compelling purpose.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow defined the human hunger for meaning as the need for self-actualization. He developed “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,” which defines prioritization of human needs. Commonly portrayed as a pyramid, this hierarchy depicts our most basic needs forming the broad base at the bottom, such as physiological needs, and higher-level needs, such as safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization, moving up toward the top. That hierarchy has been described as “the path to happiness.”
Self-actualization stands at the top of the pyramid. It’s no surprise then that he believed, “What a man can be, he must be.” (Obviously, this goes for women too.) The hunger inside is what drives self-actualizing women and men to continuously strive for something more than simply what life hands them. They have a powerful desire to write their own stories rather than to follow a script written by fate.
When you feel a hunger to create a bigger game, whatever that game might be, you’re seeking to self-actualize, to write a meaningful life story, and to serve your greatest purpose, whether it’s within your current situation or it requires a change to an entirely new environment.
If you’ve never stood on the Hunger square, maybe you need to turn up the dial, raise your expectations, and step right up.
Remember the legendary speech that Apple’s cofounder and driving force, Steve Jobs, made at Stanford? In encouraging the graduating class to be self-motivated and unafraid of challenging the status quo or taking risks, he concluded that speech by challenging the graduating class to “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” As Jobs proved with his drive to create innovative products—hunger is a powerful force. It’s a fire we want to keep burning throughout our lives, because it’s what keeps us engaged and fulfilled.
To keep the fires burning takes courage and commitment, especially because it can be so darned cozy in our comfort zones. I’ve worked with corporate executives who, by nearly all other measures, have it made. They’re at the top of their fields, set for life financially, respected, and in command. Yet, they become avid players of The Bigger Game, because they want fresh challenges. Some choose to play their bigger games within their organizations or outside their careers, in public service or volunteer groups. Others choose to leave their secure jobs and launch their own businesses or nonprofits.
There’s one thing you can be sure of when you allow yourself to turn up the hunger dial: The status quo will no longer work for you. I’ve had people in my workshops tell me at the end that they either love me or hate me—for the same reason: “You’ve awakened the hunger in me, and now I have to do something about it!”
So, what are you going to create with the hunger inside of you?