Are you Hungry?

November 25, 2023

Warning: This post has nothing to do with dieting. I have very little to say about that. The reference relates to motivation. Check out this illustration. A friend of mine had a new hunting dog. It was well trained, and had shown excellent ability on several hunts. But on the first day he took her out alone, trainer gone, the dog failed miserably. In fact, it just sat under a shade tree all day sleeping. My friend called the trainer who visited early next morning and the dog did fine. But next time out, without the trainer the dog returned to her slumber. After a few phone calls the mystery was solved. Turns out my friend was feeding the dog a hearty breakfast before the hunt believing she’d need the energy. Wrong. Hunting dogs chase because they’re hungry. It’s their ultimate objective-chase, catch, eat. Fill their bellies and the chase is meaningless.

Many bright, capable people I know have stopped the chase. They’ve accomplished what they set out to do and now they’re sleeping under shade trees, bellies full, content, comfortable…the hunger gone…meaningfulness gone. In time, for many, a critical spirit creeps in, a grouchiness, a “get off my lawn,” mentality. We’ve all seen the old curmudgeon character displayed in countless movies, or we know neighbors or friends with sour dispositions. Some have legitimate struggles, many just have stopped living…stopped the chase.

Don’t stop the chase. I started a second career-thirty years in the legal profession, then a sharpe turn into the creative world when most my age believe tis the season to chill. Let me say something that seems a little controversial, maybe a bit un-American, but I firmly believe we were never made to let our days float by, or at worst slowly fuse into our couches. Beware, retirement is a danger zone where meaningfulness can easily be lost. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional sleep under the shade tree, but that should be the exception, not the rule, not our pattern of existence at any age.

Stay hungry, keep chasing, keep your life meaningful, until your last breath.