45. Anything but the long game is the wrong game

Uncategorized Jul 31, 2020

My closest business colleague just shared news with me about something he has been working towards for almost two decades. 

Each year the Iowa State Fair holds a powerlifting meet that draws a couple hundred competitors from all over Iowa to get on stage and see how much weight they can bench press and deadlift. It has been run by a single person for nearly 30 years. My friend has been voluntarily helping run the thing for 15 and the torch is finally being passed to him.

He volunteered hundreds of hours, his own equipment, plenty of fresh t-shirts destined to become sweat rags, and delayed gratification so that one day he could be the one running the show. And it paid off. 

I choose to surround myself with people like him because they seem so rare to find these days. Everyone wants instant gratification and delaying pay offs til' years down the line seems like a dying ethic. It's especially apparent with those we service with our fitness and nutrition work. 

When I sit someone down and explain that in order for them to never have to diet to lose fat again or hire someone else to tell them how to move they must build skills. Skill development takes a while. 

I often ask: "What is something you do every day now that you're good at?" Once I get an answer I follow up with "and how long did it take you to get good at that?"

Nine out of ten times it's a multi year development. Be that work, driving a car, managing a household or dressing yourself every morning. Each answer took learning the thing followed by an insane amount of reps before you got good at it. Few disagree with this realization that anything worth doing daily takes time to get good at. But when it's suggested they apply that to their eating and exercise we're met with resistance. 

"Ugh, but I've got this thing coming up I want to look good for." 


"That just takes too much time. I want to actually live and have fun." 

There's a bunch of reasons given for why people can't seem to settle down and embrace the grind and practice but none of them are good. Our addiction to instant makes sense in a world that's getting increasingly more instantaneous. And that's OK for things like messaging, entertainment and temperature control but letting those conveniences influence our thinking about eating and exercising is a dangerous slope leading to bad health. The only way is to forget the instant and embrace the long game. The one where you build skills day over day, year over year that eventually pay off just how you wanted, like my buddy and his 15 year grind for an opportunity that is now his. 


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