Starting over in life feels tough.
I know because I’ve been there.
But I kept going because I understood this one principle.
Listen to a podcast episode about it or keep reading if you prefer text.
My best principle for starting over in life
I call this principle “Stay hungry.”
It’s one of the most powerful reframes that I’ve found.
Let me explain why using my intermittent fasting experience.
I’ve been experimenting with this type of fasting for over a year.
One thing I love about it is how it teaches me the value of hunger.
See, I crave food when fasting.
My subconscious mind keeps reminding me of it and pushing me to get food.
The single most important source of motivation
The important thing here is that it is the subconscious mind that does the pushing.
Not the conscious mind.
The conscious mind is our willpower and it is very limited.
Say, we use a lot of willpower in the morning, doing things that we don’t want to do.
Chances are that in the afternoon, we won’t have any more strength left to resist temptations.
But the subconscious mind is virtually unlimited in terms of the pressure it can exert on us.
When I am hungry, the subconscious mind keeps me motivated to go get something to eat.
Without any effort on my part.
Because of this involvement of the subconscious mind, hunger is a perfect metaphor for motivation.
Whenever we feel the hunger in any area of life, it is good for us because it activates the strongest motivation possible.
Use hunger for starting over in life
When someone is starting over at 40 with nothing, they also have huge hunger.
It’s the hunger to get themselves together, rebuild their life, prove their worth, and create something beautiful out of nothing.
But it might not feel this way because we don’t focus on hunger.
We focus on pain instead.
The key is to tap hunger, though.
I know it is painful because I had to start my life all over again after a failed relationship.
I had been married to my wife for 7 years + 4 years of dating before that.
So getting back into the dating world felt like a struggle.
And at first, I kept thinking about how bad it was that my marriage had ended.
But then, I transformed that pain into a feeling that could actually help me.
Yes, I did feel pain, but this very pain created a hunger for making things better in my life.
For improving myself to be a better person who doesn’t make the same mistakes in the next relationship.
For building a new family for myself.
A communication expert Lauren Sergy said:
Past failures are instructive, and even painful criticism or feedback offers a gift. Look at your failures as objectively as possible – instead of saying “I should have done that better,” ask what lesson or insight you can carry forward to make your next venture more successful.
It sure was difficult at first for me.
But as I kept imagining a happy family, I slowly started feeling less pain and more hunger.
Until hunger was the only thing that I was focusing on when I thought about my family.
This is when my subconscious mind kicked in and it has kept driving me ever since.
Take advantage of hunger when starting life all over again
If you are leaving it all behind and starting life over at 35 as I did, you are likely in the same place where I was.
And you can absolutely do what I did:
Use hunger as a metaphor to reframe how you are feeling.
To do this, every time you have a negative thought about your situation, acknowledge it, thank your mind for trying to protect you (that’s what it does), and think how that situation creates positive hunger for you.
To make it more convincing, here are examples of why hunger is good.
Example #1: Use Arnold Schwarzenegger as a role model
I am a fan of Arnold’s autobiography Total Recall.
I love it because it’s one big punch of inspiration in your face.
And hunger is one of the main ideas of the book.
That’s what Arnold writes:
“I liked the idea of staying hungry in life and never staying in one place.”
As a kid, he lived in post-war Austria where he literally faced hunger.
Hunger drove him to become the best bodybuilder in the world.
And then it made him become one of the most sought- after actors in the Hollywood.
And then it also drove him to become Governor of California.
You don’t need to reach the same heights as Arnold when you start all over.
Just remember that people have this beautiful ability to transform pain into hunger and then use hunger as motivation.
Example #2: Not feeling hunger is dangerous
Take the example of Chester Bennington.
He was the lead singer for the rock band Linkin Park, one of the most successful bands in history.
Obviously, Chester had all the money in the world.
He also had a huge family.
He had millions of raving fans.
Yet, in 2017, he killed himself.
We don’t know why he did it.
But what we do know is that he was probably facing a paradox.
He had everything, but couldn’t appreciate it.
So he was likely in depression.
But this pain didn’t transform into hunger because he already had everything.
See, one of the most difficult things in the world is changing oneself in a situation where there is no external pressure to change.
Now that you start all over in life, you have that external pressure.
You have to prove your worth to the world and more importantly to yourself.
Look, I love Chester and respect his choice.
But I’d rather be hungry and unsuccessful than successful and so unhappy about my life that I want to kill myself.
Example #3: Kids who are not hungry grow up soft
Children of rich parents face one of the biggest problems in the world.
It might sound paradoxical, but it’s true.
Again, growing personally in a situation when you already have everything is one of the most difficult things.
Those kids often have a very low drive to do anything with their life.
They don’t have enough challenges in life.
They don’t appreciate what they have.
They don’t have hunger.
And they tend to grow soft as a result whereas people who grew in poverty are tough and relentless.
I know someone here in Toronto whose parents are ridiculously rich.
And this person keeps creating businesses that keep failing.
And then he doesn’t even bother to close those failed businesses properly.
He just goes to the next one.
I believe this sloppiness comes from his upbringing.
The way that he has never been able to appreciate things in life.
That’s why I’m very cautious about buying things and doing other pleasurable things for my own son.
Instead, I teach him a “yogi” lifestyle—appreciating little things.
I teach him to make money and earn those things in life that he wants.
So that he does have hunger.
Actionable tip for starting over in life
I want you to start putting a conscious focus on this reframe: your pain gives you hunger.
This will slowly rebuild neural connections in your brain.
Spend 5 minutes each day on doing that.
And every time your mind floods with negativity during the course of the day, acknowledge it, but then reframe patiently.
Kids have a lot of that drive.
As we grow older, we lose that drive.
Be thankful for the chance to regain that drive now.
Break through your barriers
If you need support with starting life over after losing everything, check out my life coaching services.