How to Stay Hungry for Success: Think of Your “Why”

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Slight Edge" by Jeff Olson. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you struggle to find the motivation to work on your goals? How can you get yourself to push forward when motivation runs low?

Oftentimes, people think they want to achieve a certain goal, yet their behavior indicates otherwise. If you lack the drive and hunger to pursue a goal in spite of the obstacles, you must remind yourself on a regular basis why it’s worth persevering for.

Here are some lessons on staying hungry for success.

Stay Hungry and Keep the Faith

Next, Olson recommends that you be so hungry for your success that when you encounter obstacles, you see them as opportunities to get closer to your goal rather than insurmountable problems. This is important because if you see your obstacles negatively, you’ll feel less confident about overcoming them. Meanwhile, viewing problems as opportunities inspires you to find solutions. 

Olson suggests that to stay hungry, you must remind yourself on a regular basis why you are pursuing your goals and why they’re worth persevering for. For example, you might write about this in a journal or talk about it with others. This keeps you focused on what you’re working towards, instead of what might get in the way.

Lessons on Staying Hungry 

Olson isn’t the only proponent of staying hungry for success. The late Apple visionary Steve Jobs argued that he was only able to push himself towards extraordinary success because of his hunger for it. His insatiable desire to improve, innovate, and achieve canceled out his fear of failure and fueled his faith in his ability to achieve his goals. To stay hungry like Jobs, keep in mind the following three tips:

  • Feed your curiosity. The impulse to learn is critical to staying hungry for achievement because it propels you forward and expands your capabilities for success.
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone. When you get comfortable, you slow down and stop moving, killing your momentum for achievement. Meanwhile, pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone keeps your momentum for success high. 
  • Focus on progress. Success has no limit and therefore no endpoint or ultimate outcome. Focusing on growing and progressing rather than “finishing” keeps you achieving in the long term.
How to Stay Hungry for Success: Think of Your “Why”

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  • Why some people fail and some succeed despite having the same tools
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  • How you're getting in the way of your own growth by neglecting simple things

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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