Make Your List When You’re Hungry

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.”

The idea is that, if you shop while you’re hungry, you’re likely to fill your cart with more than you should. Your hunger makes you want more.

You’re biting off more than you can… um, eat.

When I go shopping on an empty stomach, I talk myself into buying all kinds of things I wouldn’t normally buy. Instead of “What do we need?” I walk around impulsively, desperately saying, “Hmmm, that looks good. I’ll take it!”

With grocery shopping, maybe this isn’t such a good thing. But what about the rest of our lives?

There Are Many Kinds of Hunger

Yesterday, I was HUNGRY!

I wasn’t hungry for food, though. I was hungry for something bigger.

I don’t talk much about it here, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my business lately. Especially the last week or so, I’ve been thinking about doing something big. My head has been spinning, distracted with possibilities.

I’m getting more hungry.

This has happened to me before. I’ve been in business for about 10 years, and I’ve gone through many evolutions and growth spurts. Almost all of those growth periods was preceded by some kind of new hunger.

  1. It started with a simple hunger to pay my bills. So I built a business that did that.
  2. Then I got a hunger for flexibility. So I became location-independent.
  3. I got a hunger for more money. So I got more helpful and more valuable.
  4. I got a hunger to buy a house. So, at 26, I did.
  5. I got a hunger to work with people who would inspire me every single day. So, I embraced my idealism, and now I work with the best people in the world.
  6. And now …

I Have A New Hunger

I want to be clear that I’m not going to do something crazy like close my business. It affords me wonderful freedom and inspiring hard work that I love to do. I’m not going to be deleting anything, but I am going to add something new into the mix. I stumbled upon that thing in a funny way.

Yesterday, I sat down for my morning meditation. For the first time in a week, I felt like I was able to relax my mind.

All the ideas that had been spinning around in my head finally started to settle down in the right order. Breathe in. Breathe out.

The ideas lined up and the fog started to lift and I could see with perfect clarity. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Click. There it was.

Sitting with my eyes closed in the sun, I felt myself smile.

The little bell on my phone timer sounded out, and I opened my eyes.

“I know exactly what I have to do.”

My sense of deep calm was immediately replaced by something else. A furious, almost panicked sense of hunger.

I was ravenous. Manic. I saw this idea as a whole for the first time and I just wanted to do it all. I wanted it all right away.

But I couldn’t have it all. It’s too big. It’s huge!

I needed to break this thing down into pieces I can actually chew.

I Needed a Plan

So, I sat down and wrote a plan. Simple, right?

I’ve been in this spot before. Taken an idea, made a plan and executed it. That’s what we do. That’s what you do.

As I was writing it all down, I noticed something was different this time. My hunger was messing with me.

Just like at the grocery store, instead of just asking myself, “What do I need here?” my hunger was taking over. I kept impulsively saying, “This looks good. I’ll take it!”

My list was growing and growing. My hunger kept saying, “YES! MORE!”

My hunger convinced me. So I just kept going. And it was wonderful.

I rode my hunger to the point of exhaustion. The intensity was unsustainable, and so it had to end. But when it did, I looked at what I’d made. I looked at my plan, my list, and I smiled again.

“This might actually work.”

What’s Next?

This new thing is huge. To be honest, it scares me; but I’m starting to believe I can do it. I know I’ll need patience.

I’m going to need to break it down some more. I’ll share the journey on this blog. I’ll do this new thing in front of you. I’ll do it as an experiment, so I can’t fail.

I’m going to need some new habits, but I’ll create those. I’ll invite you to join me.

We’ll do this together.

Today I woke up feeling more tired than hungry. My intense energy from yesterday has drained me a bit, but that’s okay.

I still have my list because I made it when I was hungry. I’m looking at it right now. The feeling is starting to come back. I’m getting hungry again.

I know exactly what I have to do.

What about you?

Maybe you have something big? Something that makes you hungry? Something so big it scares you… What is it?

Tap into your hunger and write up a plan. Make a plan that’s too big.

Too big is just right. You hunger knows this. Learn to listen to it.

Make your list when you’re hungry. Don’t wait. – Click to tweet

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  1. You rock dude. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  2. Hi John. This last post is great! Actually makes total sense. It made me smile many times while reading it. Kind of a relaxed smile. Made me frown once too, when you said that you are not going to do anything crazy like close your business. Well, I think that sometimes we need to reconsider where our lives are going and where our dreams are going… and if they are not together, if we are really dreaming of something different from what we build in our lives, then may be we need to make this crazy change or changing absolutely everything. Still thinking about it myself.
    Great post anyway! You have a nice way to express your thoughts.

    • Hey Masha! Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad I made you smile.

      I think you’re absolutely right, too. Sometimes we need to question the things in our lives. I think the more often we do that, the more likely we are to have a life filled with things that bring us joy and contentment. If the day comes when a business or relationship or possession has outlived its usefulness, I hope we all have the courage to move on from that thing and explore something new.

      I’d love to know how it goes for you.


  3. As soon as I got the email about this post, I thought to myself “But I thought you shouldn’t grocery shop while you’re hungry!” But this? This is awesome. It makes so much sense!

    My big thing? Law school. It’s the last thing on my mind at night and the first thought that pops into my brain in the AM. My ultimately goal is to change the world around me and I want to work it from the inside out. It’s a huge undertaking, but I’ve already taken the LSAT and submitted applications. There is no stopping.

    I like that you recognize the need to change a few things in order to complete this new undertaking. That’s important.

    I’m really excited for you! Looking forward to your new endeavor!

    • Haha! Hey Crownie. Your comment made me laugh. I’m glad you liked the analogy.

      Law school is a huge thing and I LOVE your enthusiasm. I’m sure it’ll come in handy! 🙂

      Keep hustling.

  4. Am very curious now!!

    • I know. I know. I’m sorry for the cliffhanger! 🙂

      Believe me, I wish I could spill it all out right now, but I can’t yet. I’ll be sharing more as soon as I can. Since you’re on my email list, you’ll be the first to know. 🙂

  5. Agreed! You will make more progress during a two hour inspired frenzy than in an entire week of plodding along. Now I join the ranks of those waiting to see what you re cooking up.

    • Yep. The key is to use that frenzy to make something you can pick up again later. In this case, I made a plan that I can refer to. I used that energy to make something that would continue to serve me. If I’d gotten too deep in execution mode, I might be sitting here with no momentum today.

      I promise I will share it soon.

  6. John,
    You have my attention! Excited to see where you’re going with this. Let me know if there’s anything I can help with. Good luck!

  7. John you are awesome. I love this. And it came at such an appropriate time! Been exhausted from so much output lately… But you are so right, when you get everything out in the moments of intensity, you know exactly what to do! Seriously can’t wait for the next installment 🙂

  8. I love food! So was excited to read about hunger. Only to find out, it was even better!
    Super excited for you to announce what your next Hungry Passion Project is! What is it??

    And having just started meditating for just 1 minute a day. I hope I can reach a point where I miraculously come out with the same feeling like you did of “knowing what I have to do.”

    Love your smooth writing style. Thanks for the inspiring post!

    Now, what am I hungry for 2013?
    Big scary Hungers
    1. Enter in my first Kitesurf competition
    2. I want to do is organize a retreat with experts in the field of my passions for personal development, online business development, and kitesurfing & yoga for those non-windy days.
    3. Finding mentors & Surround myself with inspirational people

    • Hey Naomi. It’s nice to see you over here. 🙂

      Yeah, I’ve found that meditation isn’t great at downloading some brilliant insight. I’d say that’s only happened twice for me. It’s still worth doing, but try not to go into it with that expectation.

      I really like your 2013 goals. Let us know how they go. 🙂

  9. John,
    I have 100% faith in you and your new process. When I was getting ready to make my huge career shift a friend sent me a card that said ” Leap and the net will appear.”
    All my planning and worrying of what the picture would look like wouldn’t stick to me anymore. I needed to just let go and be in the void- a blank canvas. Not always a comfortable place- but so necessary for being awake. It is so obvious to me that what you are doing and experiencing is on the right track-it is where “the sparks fly.” John,darling you are on fire!

  10. awesome!! I love when ideas and aha moments come out *during* meditation! It’s the best. what a tease though.. look forward to hearing about your idea(s) and how you’ll move them forward. It’s been 2 years since I got an aha idea through meditating that I haven’t even implemented yet. Stay hungry, stay foolish.

    • Thanks Janet! It’s always nice to see you around here.

      I’ve gotten a few emails about the meditation piece of this post. It’s very cool that you’ve had a similar experience. Though, I want to hear that you’ve done something to push your idea forward. 🙂

      I promise I’ll share some details soon.

  11. Love this post, John! For starters, I’m doing a bit better with eating foods in my pantry and fridge b/4 buying more food.

    Second—Last night I was feeling that manic-“I don’t know what I want/need/what to do first” hunger. I decided to play Yahtzee with my son while sipping dandelion tea (<–I know, so demure :P). I felt better. But still…

    I think it has to do with the endless possibilities and directions you can go with an idea/entrepreneurial vision. I decided to hone in and commit to solidifying my plan, as you mentioned.



    Thanks again for posting this–feels better to know that someone I respect shares the same manic, ravenous hunger :).

    Lastly–you bought a house at 26—Holy Shit! Dude. You're goin' places…

  12. Your writing gives me goosebumps. Wow. You are an amazing person 🙂

    Count me in for the experiment


  13. Whatever you’re doing is going to be good – I know it! I want to hear ALL about it… and hopefully I can join in on the experiment, too.

    I totally know how you feel when you’ve come up with this incredible idea – you just want to do it and you want to do it now! I often feel like that… I plunge in and then I can’t stop. Until I have to sleep, which always comes at some point. 😛

    KEEP THAT AWESOMENESS FACTOR UP! (not hard for you.) WOOT!

  14. Yesss! Hopefully I can do this one too.


    I second keeping the AWESOMENESS FACTOR UP @kristen!

  15. I loved this post. When I visited your site the other day, I skipped past this one, and luckily I did, because I really needed it today!

    I was feeling the same way this morning, and while taking a shower and meditating (something I do daily) I realized that I needed to just get going. So I did it, I made a plan. Still a bit hungry though.

    Then I read this and my hunger was fired up once again! Thank you, and nice steps. You definitely outlined that hunger feeling very well. I’m looking forward to whatever you’re cooking up. 😉

    • Hey Christopher! It’s great to see you over here.

      Your comment made me so happy. I’ve realized that hunger is infectious, and being around other people who are hustling hard toward greatness is also infectious in the best possible way.

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