I have always been intrigued by the story of Zacchaeus in the book of Luke 19. The Bible says he was short of stature but had a burning desire to see Jesus. But as Jesus passed through Jericho, Zacchaeus knew that his desire to see Christ would come to nothing if he didn’t take desperate measures; he knew that the multitude that always followed Christ would hinder his chances of coming close to seeing Christ, so he climbed a tree and waited for the passing of Christ. And Jesus got wind of him, called on him to come down, and went to Zacchaeus’s house for dinner.
Now Zacchaeus was a tax collector and by all standards a sinner in the eyes of the Israelites. Therefore, these qualities alone should have hindered him from coming close to a righteous man like Christ. But no, he wouldn’t permit such. Again, his stature was another setback: the Bible says that he was of a short stature. But Mr. Zacchaeus wouldn’t allow his stature to limit him. I want to believe that Zacchaeus would have had other doubts as well; he would have asked himself if this was the right thing, or if people wouldn’t laugh at him for climbing a tree; for mind you, the Bible says that he was a rich man. So in this story, we see the interplay of determination, persistence, and reinvention.
The story of Zacchaeus has a little similarity with the parable of the persistent neighbour, another story that I love so much. The persistent man goes to his neighbour’s house in the middle of the night to request some loaves of bread for his friend who just arrived from a journey. He knocks, but his neighbour asks him to leave because his household is asleep. But Jesus says, if he knocks again and again, his neighbour will give him some loaves of bread, not because they are friends, but because of his persistence.
In achieving anything worthwhile in life, we need to have the drive of Zacchaeus when he wanted to see Christ, and that drive is called a burning desire.
An idea by itself can give you a temporary feeling of inspiration, but burning desire is what gets you through all the perspiration necessary to overcome the inevitable obstacles along the way.If you want something badly enough, then quitting is simply not an option. You either find a way or make one. You pay the price, whatever it takes.
With the right approach, anyone can cultivate a deep, burning desire within themselves and move to a state of total commitment, knowing with certainty that success is as inevitable as the sunrise.
So how do you cultivate burning desire?
Here are a few tips for doing this :
- Burn those ships
If you don’t burn those ships, you are sending the message to your subconscious mind that it’s ok to quit. And when the going gets tough, as it inevitably does for any worthwhile goal, you will quit. If you really want to achieve your goals, then you’ve got to burn those ships to the ground and scatter the ashes. If you’re thinking that the average person won’t do this, you’re right — that’s why they’re average.
- Surround yourself with positive people:
Mindsets are contagious. So spend your time with people whose mindsets are worth catching. Although this can be difficult for some people, you also need to fire the negative people from your life. I once read that you can see your future just by looking at the six people with whom you spend the most time. If you don’t like what you see, then change those people. There’s no honour in remaining loyal to people who expect you to fail. Make friends with people who will encourage you on the path to your goals, and find ways to spend more time with them.
- Feed your mind with empowering information on a daily basis
Inspirational books and audio programs are one of the best fuel sources for cultivating desire. If you want to quit smoking, read a dozen books written by ex-smokers on how to quit the habit. If you want to start a business, then start devouring business books. Go to seminars on occasion. I advise that you feed your mind with some form of motivational material (books, articles, audio programs) for at least fifteen minutes a day. This will continually recharge your batteries and keep your desire impenetrably strong.
- Replace sources of negative energy with positive energy: try to do things that make you happy. You should combat negative thoughts with positive ones.