When you set a goal, what’s the difference between achieving what you want and missing the mark? I’ve shared in the past about the importance of doing small things consistently. I’ve also written about making room to get out of our comfort zones. Both are powerful, but one factor, above all else, predicts success and failure – it’s how emotionally connected you are to your goal’s result. 

In the book Think and Grow Rich, inspired by Andrew Carnegie and first published in 1937 during the Great Depression, author Napoleon Hill refers to this emotional connection as your “burning desire.” Hill writes, “There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” He shares, “Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.” 

So, what’s your burning desire… and how bad do you want it? 

Most people struggle to answer, “What do you really want in life?” They’ve never thought about it long enough to come up with a solid answer, much less share it or chase it. They have no idea what their burning desire is, so they wander through life with little to no direction. 

“What do you really want?” Answer that question and your odds of achieving your goals will skyrocket. Here’s an example…

Say your goal is to earn $10,000. Behind that goal and that number, there’s a burning desire driving it. “WHY do you want the $10,000?” It’s not about the money – it never is. The answer might be to go on a vacation. Digging a bit deeper (and we should always dig deeper), you would ask, “WHY do you want to go on vacation?” As you continue digging and working to uncover your true burning desire, the answer might be to spend quality time with your family. 

Your burning desire is to be present with the ones you love, not $10,000. It has nothing to do with the money – it’s all about something else that you can connect with emotionally. When that emotional connection is in place, results follow.

Why is your burning desire so important? 

Along the path to the $10,000, there will be a season where the work required becomes radically uncomfortable. You’ll want to get out from under the pressure and flee toward comfort. There will be a period of time when it’s hard to stay consistent, and you’re tempted to quit doing the small things that matter. You’ll want to slack off, skip, and give less than 100%. We’ve all been there. 

In those moments, when the challenges rise and your energy level drops down, burning desire keeps you on track and in the fight. When we have an emotional connection to our goals, specifically to our burning desire, it gives us the power to keep doing the small things consistently, increasing our ability to stand in the uncomfortable. As Hill wrote, “We rise to high positions or remain at the bottom because of conditions we can control if we desire to control them.” 

Three things to keep in mind …

Your burning desire has to be yours. You have to chase your own goals, not someone else’s. Success is rarely found when we get caught trying to achieve other people’s goals.

Your burning desire has to be clear. You need to paint a clear picture in your mind of what it will look like and feel like when you achieve your goal. The details matter because they make your burning desire feel real and worthwhile before you actually achieve it. 

Your burning desire has to burn. You have to 100% want what you want, not just kind of want what you want. Halfway will never get you all the way when it comes to making your goals a reality… which is why creating that emotional connection between you and your goal is so important. 

The Takeaway

What’s the burning desire behind your biggest goal? You’re probably going to set some goals for the coming year in just a month or two. Creating the emotional connection between WHAT you want and WHY you want it will be the difference between reaching those goals and falling short, so start defining your burning desire today…

Ready for more?

Follow me here for more insights like this one, weekly encouragement, and inspiration to spark your burning desire. You can also listen in to my Grit Meets Growth podcast here or on your favorite podcast platforms. Make it a great day! – John