Find and Fan the Flame
What do an immigrant Pakistani, an undocumented worker in the Southwest, a refugee from Vietnam, and the CEO of
a Fortune 100 company have in common?
The immigrant from Pakistan (whatever his level of success was in his home country) left it all behind and
essentially started over in the United States. Mr. Rajput improved his language skills while working at
menial jobs in a hotel. These are jobs like laundry, and busboy in the restaurant, and groundskeeping, and
room service delivery.
Where others saw hard work and demeaning labor, he saw opportunity. He learned the next job and moved up
into it. He became a desk clerk on the night shift. And then on the day shift. And he became a
night manager. And he became the manager. And he saved…. And after a while, he became the
owner. And after a while longer he owned several hotels.
What drove Mr. Riera to leave his home, his wife, and children far behind in Central America and literally brave
several border crossings, hundreds of miles of unfamiliar terrain, and risk his life in order to sneak his way into
the southwestern United States? And after he arrived to work long hours for low pay, in very unpleasant
When Mr. Hao came here after the fall of South Vietnam, he was determined to make the most of the opportunities
here. Even with the language barrier. He worked hard. He got a job in a dry cleaning shop.
It was hot, uncomfortable work. But he stayed at it, and he saved. And after a time, he opened up his
own dry cleaning shop. He still worked long hours, but it was different. It was his.
They have a fundamental… even a burning… desire to
When reporters interview, Frank J., (who they nicknamed The Boy Wonder) about his rise to the top of a Fortune
100 company, they always start by trying to find out what's so special about him. They are confounded when
they discover that he is like millions of other people. Most of them don’t see the one real difference – he
has a burning desire to lead a Fortune 100 company.
So what do they have in common? They have a fundamental… even a burning… desire to succeed. Their
goals for success… their target levels of success… may be different, but their fundamental desire is the same.
Please note that there is a difference between a need to succeed and a desire to succeed. Having a need to
succeed will not result in success. Having a desire to succeed, if the desire is strong enough, will.
You see, we have lots of needs, but are not all that great at getting them fulfilled. (Admittedly, there are
a few that we will do ANYTHING to get fulfilled, but succeeding is not on that list.) On the other hand, we
are incredibly effective at fulfilling our desires… often to our detriment.
By the way, when I talk about desire, I'm not talking about a passing desire or a passing fancy. I'm
talking about what Napoleon Hill called a burning desire. In this sense, it is a consuming desire, one that
consumes you until it is fulfilled.
A “burning” desire is fundamental to achieving success. This desire is an internal thing. You can’t look
at someone and tell if they have the burning desire for success. Someone may have many failures and still
have that inner desire to succeed (Henry Ford comes to mind.) Others may look like they are trying to
succeed, but inside there is no drive.
Yes, this desire is a driver. Because of how we are wired, it is also an enabler and empowers us.
This burning desire is what propels us to get back up after a setback. It is what compels us to seek
alternate routes when we encounter roadblocks. Our persistent pursuit of success comes from this desire.
But there are also several things that desire is not. It is not willpower nor is it skills. And
above all, it is not desperation. Until you have experienced it, it can be easy to confuse desperation with
burning desire. Desperation, however, is based in fear and, as such, releases a pheromone that others are
able to pick up on.
Desperation actually prevents achieving success. The salesperson who NEEDS the sale… who is DESPERATE for
the sale… is the person no one wants to be their sales help. Likewise, the job hunter: employers don’t
hire based on the job hunter’s needs but on the company’s need. Just when you want… need… success so badly,
your desperation sabotages it.
Desire, on the other hand, enables your success. It propels you forward, attracting people, opportunities,
If you haven’t found your burning desire for success, perhaps it’s because you haven’t connected with your
mission. Your personal mission generates that kind of desire… the desire to succeed at your mission and to
carry it out in this world.
Take a look inside. Do you have a strong (even a burning) desire to succeed? If not, then connect
with your mission in life and let that fan the flames.
Still searching for that inner fire that will propel you over those obstacles? Imagine jumping up in the
morning, looking forward to the day because you know that you will spend it doing the things you are built to
do. Imaging hearing people clamoring for you because you are among the best in the world at what you
do. What would it feel like to be doing the things you love and experiencing that state of "flow"?
How would you like to discover what your life is about? To know what feeds that inner fire of passion and
drive? How would you like to have a compass that helps guide your life?
All those things... and more... can be yours when you begin to live your mission. But before you can live
it, you first have to discover it. My Mission Discovery program is designed to help people like you recognize
their mission… and be in a position to do something with it. I offer both one-on-one and group sessions to
discover your mission. Find out all about it at Mission
Discovery. Go ahead, find the fire.