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Thursday, July 12, 2012


A very angry trainer complained, "Grains, sugar, even GMOs aren't the problem. Lack of discipline is the problem. If the people on your page would stop sniveling about what the problems are and just stop eating them, and get off the couch and hire a trainer, they wouldn't look like disgustingly fat toadstools." 

His perspective isn't uncommon, so since he has put words to a sentiment I find unfortunately shared by too many, let's address several key points here.

Discipline is not an attitude, but rather it is a momentum. You can rarely, "Just do it," unless you've already built up the capacity. You're capable of doing anything within the inertia you've already generated.

Like pushing a boulder over small bumps (challenges), you can overcome the size which your momentum allows. But a larger hill will rob your inertia and stop your boulder rolling if you do not add greater energy to it, in the proper amount, at the right time and at sufficient distance before the challenge. If you wait too long, too close, to try and build up more inertia, then the boulder will slow, stop and may even start to roll back on you.

This is the problem many people have looking backwards on challenges they've overcome. They neglect to realize it was not merely a choice to roll the boulder over the small bumps they encountered, but rather the inertia already generated long before. Even if they only had to add a little effort to it, it is the momentum which predominantly achieved the challenges.

When you face a new challenge, you need to take a running start at it: surveil the terrain for the small preliminary bumps which siphon off your momentum, gauge the distance required to build up sufficient speed, estimate the additional requirements you must invest so that when you hit the base of the mountain, you're not surprised that your boulder slows and becomes a grinding effort.

Discipline is only a choice within the bandwidth of prior preparation. When you find people complaining that you should just suck it up and gut it out, try to remain patient with them, and keep compassionate of the surprise life is about to throw them. They are in far worse a situation than they know, for when they encounter a significant challenge which their current inertia cannot easily overcome, the weight of that poor preparation will crush their will, catastrophize their thoughts, and pollute their self-perception into one of weakness and incompetency. The language they now use toward others will suddenly be turned on themselves, and we are a sadistic self-critic.

These impatient ones, pity them. Life is coming. It is far more dangerous to be overconfident and fail to prepare, than to accept your doubts and successfully prepare.

Scott Sonnon
Scott Sonnon www.facebook.com/ScottSonnon

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