This Changes That: Desires

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement…”  Napoleon Hill

What Do You Want?

Do you believe desires shape your future? I believe the answer is yes because we all want something. At the seat of our hearts, there is a burning desire to achieve, acquire, or arrive at something. Desires are as powerful as gravity. They pull us in a specific direction and grow stronger as we dwell more on what we want. Once a desire connects to a goal or target, achieving that goal is within reach. We not only liken desires to a force like gravity but also a fire. Ever since I developed a desire for excellence, I have seen it burn down the bare minimum approach mentality, blaming others instead of taking responsibility, and selfishness. When you couple what you want with a burning desire to see it become a reality, obstacles that stand in your way eventually fall. 

Desires don’t automatically equate to success. Without dedication and effort, desires turn into wishful thinking. Desires are a starting point but not the panacea of goal achievement. As strong as they are, we must harness our desires through consistent intentionality, action, and a heart commitment. 

Put Your Heart Into It

The connective tissue between desires and goals is vital. This connectivity keeps us motivated towards reaching our goals when discouragement pays a visit. Author Robert Kiyosaki pointed out that the “size of your success is tied to the strength of your desire…and how you handle disappointment along the way.” How do we maintain a strong desire when disappointment lurks and threatens to derail us from what we aim to achieve? Your level of commitment is crucial. Desire is sustained by commitment. Knowing what you want and why you want it gives your desires a focal point. Without the what and the why desires that previously sizzled begin to fizzle. Have you identified your what and why?  

The reason I desire excellence is because it is a keystone to doing anything that makes an impact. Focusing my desire to be excellent generates a heart commitment that keeps me motivated in two specific spheres of influence. The first sphere is my family. I believe they should always get my best, not my leftovers. This means being present as a husband and father and serving in my home with the primary aim of making my family’s boat better. Second, my purpose. As a writer and a Bible teacher, my desire to excel keeps me focused on delivering and teaching rich, true, and edifying content. When I make mistakes, I remind myself to remain present because I am making progress. Mistakes don’t turn into laments but lessons for future application. I stay the course of excellence after mistakes because they are the fertilizer for growth.  My heart remains committed to the journey of excellence as my desire has a focal point.

A focused desire puts you squarely in the crosshairs of reaching your goal. Commitment harnesses your desires into fuel for the path to your goal. This commitment overcomes obstacles, weathers the winter of discouragement, and plants a resolve to finish the year well, and be a better person. One ingredient must be in place to guard our desires against leading us down the wrong path for any desire we have. 

The Check and Balance of Any Desire

What keeps our desire in check? Values. While commitment sustains desires, our values are their guardrails. When we pass our desires through the filter of our values, we ensure destructive ones don’t gain access. Values are non-negotiable. A value system based on several key questions helps us detect when harmful desires are in play. Consider the following questions to clarify your values and  determine whether your values are strong enough to keep your desires in proper check:

  1. What are your top five values? This question clarifies your values and brings them to the dashboard of your life. Interestingly, most people don’t consider their values when desires drive them towards a goal. They fail to know, clarify, and reflect on their values. In light of pursuing your goals, keep your values front and center and allow them to guide you. 
  1. Why are these five values essential to who you are: A company’s core values are integral to its identity. Similarly, your identity is tied to the values you deem essential. 
  1. Are your values flexible or fixed? Our view on life is largely attributed to the values we hold. Are the top five values you clarified above fixed, or are they subject to change depending on the environment you are exposed to or your desires?
  1. Does this desire violate any of your values? Knowing and clarifying your values helps temper or eliminate desires that compromise our core values. When we synergize our desires and values, we reach our goals without compromising our values and do so without the residue of guilt on our conscience. Anytime a disconnect between values and desires occurs, give attention to your values and stand by them. 

Final Thought: Best-selling author and leadership expert Dr. John Maxwell once said, “By choosing to embrace and practice good values every day, you choose the higher course in life. And your life goes in the direction you always feel good about. You may not only get what you desire, but you will always be the person you desire to be.” Desires are important in goal achievement, but never sacrifice your values on the altar of your desires.

Keep on Keeping on!

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