The Blueprint for Lasting Success
“This is how education works: you don’t sit down with a five-year-old and show them piles of books, assignments, and papers they are going to have to devour, finish, and deliver by the time they’re done. The five-year-old just ‘shows up’ and day by day the work gets done.” -Dan John
I read this quote and it is a great way of categorizing the “trying to do it all at once” idea which often doesn’t have real results. When we look at the quote above, it’s just another way to realize how much work may have to eventually be done, but that it doesn’t have to be done all at once.
Let’s fast forward this a few years and, for the sake of argument, say it’s your first year in college. You’re a freshman and you walk into your advisor’s office. Your advisor looks at you and says, “Good morning, welcome to the university” (it is your first day, after all, so pleasantries are being exchanged), after which she drops a booklet down on the counter. On the front, the booklet says “A Four-Year Degree in Two Semesters” with a picture of a group of smiling college students on the cover playing Frisbee out on the quad. You look at the booklet thinking “Wow, they look stoked, and I can get my degree in 2 semesters?!?! Sweeeeeeet”.
You open to the first page, and as you read you realize this isn’t some expedited curriculum, its four years of material that you are expected to finish in under a year. The first page lists all the books you would need to buy over your college career, but you need to pay for them all tomorrow since this is only one year. There’s a few thousand dollars right there. On the next page is a list of every assignment you will ever be assigned…let’s revise that, on the next 6 pages is a list of every assignment you will have. That’s followed by 4 pages of all the papers you will be assigned, then by another 3 pages of finals you have to take and senior research projects and papers you have to write. Its rounded out with 4 pages about what you have to do for graduation and oh by the way, the day after you graduate you begin a career in your field for the rest of your life. All while you have to find a way to squeeze out 100+ hours of internship. How many people are going to succeed on that system?
Now, let’s say that somehow you do finish in a year. Let’s say after burning four different candles at three ends for a year, you graduate. Do you think that the brain can really take in that much information in that short of a time period and be able to sort it and apply it rationally? Heck no.
Now apply that to your health. If you have bad joints, or you need to loose excess body fat, or you want to run a marathon, there is no “cheat code”. It is achieved by gradually learning how to change parts of your lifestyle that are not conducive to your goal, and amplifying the ones that are. Also, a progressing exercise regimen will help get you there. If you came in tomorrow and Coach Dean gave you every piece of information available to him or gave you 500 steps to be healthy the rest of your life, how successful do you think you would be? I know I wouldn’t be successful. That’s way too much information to apply at once.
Health and habits are something that have to be learned and applied over time. If you are 80 pounds overweight and you try to implement 25 habits or steps the first day, you probably aren’t going to be successful. It’s about building a habit, then once its ingrained, building another. Continually learning more and applying more over time. So don’t expect everything to click at once, don’t expect to be able to apply 15 life changes tomorrow. Just come in, exercise, work hard, and make those small incremental changes. That’s the blueprint for real long lasting success and health, not trying to lose 60 pounds in a week.
Make it Happen!