Learn Success From Dogs

Success can be learned from man’s best friend, the dog. There’s three things dogs do that we humans cannot match them on. That is hunger, action, and clarity. We have dogs beat in knowledge, but knowledge alone is not enough to succeed.


Hungry Dog

Dogs have an immense desire to eat. I think most of us humans do too, but not on the level that dogs do. I remember as a young man going to a church activity and playing catch with a dog with some wadded up paper towel (don’t ask me why, I was a dumb young kid). As I threw the wad at the dog, it promptly caught and ate it. Point taken – dogs outwork us humans in the area of hunger. There is no second guessing or waiting – dogs eat when the food is there.

I like to use the example of physical hunger here because the successful people I’ve seen all have one thing in common. They are hungry to be the best at what they do and succeed at it. Is a successful author sitting around wondering if they should write the next book? Is the successful speaker wondering what they should talk about or if they really should be doing it? Do successful people procrastinate frequently?

I don’t know the secret to being hungry for success and achievement. At times I feel the hunger inside me and other times I don’t. It reminds me of Rocky 3 when Rocky gets beat bad by Clubber Lang in the title boxing match. Apollo takes him to an inner city boxing gym and has him look at the faces of the boxers therein. Each has a stone cold and focused face. The people in there are hungry and driven. Rocky was not. To succeed, he needs to get that hunger back.

I believe that hunger is bar-none the most important quality for succeeding at something. Without it, there really isn’t that urgency to do anything or work hard. I’m going to try and be more like the dog and have an appetite for being the best I possibly can at what I do and never procrastinating or delaying leaving my legacy.


Action Dog

Dogs outwork us humans. Sure, they like to lounge around the house, but I think that’s because their owners are worn out and need a break. A dog wants to play catch, fetch, and tug of war with you. They bark fervently (and annoyingly) at the sign of movement. Dogs are creature’s of action.

Take a dog outside and watch their face light up with a smile. They’ll chase that frisbee and go after that tennis ball. The dog is not sitting around saying, “I just don’t feel like it today.” Unless the dog is seriously hurt or ill, it’s going to go outside and play with you. The dog is simply not wired to delay taking action.

I’m wired to delay taking action though… As a human, I want to be comfortable. Why should I go work out and make my body sore when I can relax in the house? After all, my bills are paid and I have a good job for my family. Why should I write another book? Why should I work on websites and mobile games? Why should I keep trying?

Those are my action-deterring thoughts. I acknowledge that I have them, but don’t focus on them. Take action simply because of the person it will make of you to do so. Ask yourself if you can take the action you are thinking about. If you’re not taking that action, go back to step 1 and see how hungry you are. Do you feel full like you’ve just stuff yourself with a banquet? Or do you feel starved and ready to fill yourself up? To bad I don’t know the secret to hunger and drive when it comes to success – I’m still trying to figure that one out.


This Dog Has Clarity

Dogs are pretty clear on what they want in life. I think it’s to be with their owners, play, eat, and sleep (not necessarily in that order). A dog is not sitting around wondering, “What the heck should I do today?” They are very clear about what it is they are going to do.

Are you clear about what you want to do? If you are, share how you did it. Because being clear is one of the areas I know I struggle in. There’s so much available to do that I find myself having a hard time sticking to just one or two things I can master.

But that’s why dogs are helping me. Dogs do what is most important to them. What’s most important to me is really what I think about the most. That’s having a well-taken care of family that is close to each other, succeeding in entrepreneurial endeavors (books, websites, mobile games), and staying fit and healthy. What do you think about that’s most important to you? Are you hungry and taking action in that area?

What Dogs Can’t Teach Us

Sadly, dogs can’t teach us knowledge. Were a dog to be given a human brain, I think it’d quickly shoot to the wealthiest 1% of the world due to its hunger, drive, activity, and clarity. As humans, we’re a step up from the animal kingdom. We have more options to us than dogs, cats, fish, and snakes. We are self aware and have the ability to choose and design our lives – even if that means totally screwing our lives up.

Knowledge comes from hunger, action, and clarity. Why study and learn if you don’t care? Paradoxically, knowledge only comes through taking an action first. It doesn’t come from just sitting there hoping for it to ding you on the head. I wish it did. It certainly can come from meditating quietly after reflecting on past actions and experiences. But without action and experience, there is nothing to draw on for knowledge.


Dogs are much more hungry, active, and clear about what they want than us humans are, me included. We’re ahead of dogs in our ability to take knowledge and use it in our lives. But that knowledge does not come first without adopting the dog way of success: hunger, action, and clarity. Next time you get a moment, go play with a dog and feed it. Then learn to act that way (except use hunger as a drive to succeed, not as a mean to stuff your face with food).

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2 thoughts on “Learn Success From Dogs

  1. The hunger thing is an understatement. My dog (like most dogs) has an intense laser-focus on getting fed. She’ll go through hell and high water to get it. It’s the sheer determination and, as a result, clarity to learn something in order to get the prize that amazes me.

    On the other hand, it’s really easy to manipulate her, when you know exactly what she likes. So that strength can turn into a weakness, two sides of the same coin.

  2. Valerie – very good point – I love it. Dogs can certainly be manipulated. I remember we had a dog growing up when I was a teenager named Cecil. To get him to eat lettuce, we’d wrap it in a piece of baloney and he’d gobble it and the baloney right up. If we gave him lettuce by itself he wouldn’t touch it.

    I think the hunger part for me is the hardest to keep strong. I think I may need a more clear and compelling vision to help with this. Part of learning I suppose :)

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