Jul 7, 2011

BASS ACKWARDS: Expecting success without doing what success demands

I have been thinking a lot about financial things lately and principals of finance are in so many ways the same as the principals of fitness. The way you get into debt is the same way you get fat. Simply put, the problem is rooted in choosing something of minimal value now over something of great value in the future. The value of deciding to give into an unhealthy craving now or choosing to slump into a couch to watch T.V. is limited to the moment the eating or lounging takes place then it's value is gone. Being fit and healthy, on the other hand, has a compounded value. Not only will you look better, feel better and live longer but because of those things every aspect of your life will be better. Good choices open doors to make more choices. Bad choices limit your ability to choose and progress.

I have never heard this quote before today but it is a new favorite:

"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want."
- Margaret Young
 It is the same with weight loss. Striving for what you want without doing what is required guarantees failure. Why do bogus "fad" diets and silly infomercial contraptions make up a multi-billion dollar industry? It's because so many of us want results without doing what is necessary.

I watch Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. It's a program that inspires me in my weight loss journey. The second or third episode James, a morbidly obese man with a love for football meets Nate Newton & Michael Irvine, both 3 time Superbowl champs.

The first words of advice Newton gives James is:
"It's where you are willing to go. It's what you are willing to do."
 Irvine follows up with:
"Sometimes you have to understand this game out here and why only a few can play it. [It's] because it demands more than most are willing to give."
 Behind every great achievement is a sacrifice equally great. With that in mind, in order to achieve success there are 2 questions I have to ask myself:
What do I want to accomplish? 
& more importantly
What am I willing to sacrifice to achieve it?
Wanting something is not enough no matter how much you want it. Wanting must turn into doing if it is ever going to change our being.


  1. This was just what I needed to read. I am new to the weight loss world but have been concentrating on food and not the exercise. I needed this! Thank you for writing it.

  2. Great post! Also excited that your wife will start adding in her progress!!! You guys are great! Keep it up!

  3. Was this post inspired by my sitting on the couch last night? I hope not. Now I'm really going to have to prove my hard work in the next few days ;)

  4. Hahaha.

    No. I was thinking about me and how I pick at food like the calories don't count or something. It's so dumb and so not worth screwing up success for.

    Funny though.

  5. I think the reason it may take a long time or many failures before weight loss "clicks" is that we have to get to the place of willingness. Willingness to CHANGE. Willingness to GIVE UP stuff. Willingness to work hard. When we still want "magic weight loss" that's easy or a "crash 4 week diet"...we aren't ready. When we say, "Yes, I can sacrifice X and Y and will reorganize my life to make this key and become a new person"...then you're ready.

    I wasn't ready to give a lot of stuff up until last year. I was very late coming to that commitment and decision.

    But it's true. What you're willing to do. what you're willing to sacrifice...

  6. Mike...the passed few posts are why I follow you. I enjoy reading several bloggers nd their situations but I don't "feel" like I connect as much with many of them as much as you. We are very different people...we come from VERY different worlds and yet many of the things you say mean a lot.

    Thank you for explaining why I am both overweight and in debt...lol.

  7. Fat and broke... Argh...Cmon we need cheerful posts...

  8. I think this was a GREAT post, Mike. You're right, it's EXACTLY like going into debt. Unfortunately, like Ron from NJ...this explains why I'm overweight and broke, hahaha. I've been trying to improve on both of those habits though--I put off buying something I want so that I can decide if it's "worth" the money (well--usually, anyway) and I've been trying really hard to put off eating the foods I want that aren't healthy until I can determine if it's "worth" the extra calories. Most times, it's not.

  9. Some people are taking this post as a downer. That was not my intention. Understanding the task at hand is empowering. Getting rid of distractions and being able to focus on what works is an exciting thing.

    I started on my journey only after figuring that out. It happened only after deciding that I was willing to do what it takes to get to my goal, to lose the weight.

    I hope you can find power in simplicity as I have. Simple isn't always easy. It's better to understand it is going to suck sometimes. It will be hard to change BUT you do have the capacity to do it and the reward is = to the sacrifice.

  10. Fantastic post and very well put. I love these quotes, too. I'm passing this on to a friend of mine that's struggling on her own journey. Love this!

  11. I have another rule: Never take financial advice from poor people. S

    Should this rule apply to overweight people too? Should I never take diet advice from a fat person?

    Have you ever noticed that financially sound people seem to be thinner? I used to think it was because they had the dollars to hire a trainer, buy better food, and spend more time on themselves. I think I was wrong. I think its about discipline. I think they are thinner because they know how to give up luxuries of today for security of tomorrow. They understand that Gods commandments are simple. Your body is a temple....take care of it. Period. You are to financially provide for your family, and then use your surplus to help others. Period. Why do we mortals always find a way to complicate things?

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  13. I guess Steph ain't gonna take financial advice from Jesus, who didn't even have a place to lay his head. Or Paul, whhhhhho sustained himself with tentmaking when he could in his peregrinations.

    My parents were poor. But frugal. We never went hungry, never had a lack of a roof over our heads or clothes ono ur backs, and they barely made minimum wage (as immigrants who did not speak ENglish). And they saved enough to buy a house late in life (granted, a fixer-upper). Never charged. Never went into debt except for the house. Paid for used cars with cash. On minimum wages. And they were poor and simple and didn't go to restaurants or buy expensive clothes or face creams, etc.

    Sometimes, poor people know what they're doing and other factors come into play in that poverty.

    Jesus chose poverty. Paul chose it. I'm guessing Elijah didn't have much. Bet they could offer lots of sound financial advice, but they were too busy changing their world to earn the big bucks.

  14. I think the difference here is between "poor" and "rich". There are a lot of "rich" people out there who spend every penny they earn and are under mountains of debt...this too me is "poor". My parents both came from meager means and I've watched them work there way into success...but I think its true that they are part of a minority. I still find it a good general rule to not take financial advice from poor people. AND--I would and DO take my financial advice from Jesus. Any financial blessings we work for are to be for the benefit of our family and for others.

    It could be said the same in weight loss. There are those lucky 2 percent in the world that have crazy metabolisms or low apatite and maintain healthy weights without trying. They may be skinny but they may not have the cardiovascular strength to walk a mile. They also may be malnourished from a lack of healthy food. Interesting. But I think they are a minority just like those few who start in poverty and work there way to the top.

    Life isn't about gimmicks. Financial success is being out of debt and living within your mean. Being healthy is about eating right and exercising. Again, I think we mortals always try to complicate it.