There is a “tactic” which results in trying. And there is a strategy which results in results. The difference: sense of obligation.
I was watching an interview with a powerlifter who was describing his mindset primer. His brother died when they were very young. And every time the powerlifter approaches an exercise he thinks, “if this lift could bring back my brother, would I even consider the option of quitting?” He creates in his mind an obligation to pick up 800lbs for 8 reps or whatever the insane effort is. Then, he does it.
The pain of consequences must be so high in your mind that there is no option to not follow-through on your word. And, in fact, this is not just imaginary. There are real consequences of suffering by refusing to invest in personal wellness.
But, we avoid sense of obligation. Especially in the land of the free, there's almost something un-American-feeling about having obligations. Getting rid of the sense of obligation extends into detrimental life decisions where we tend to create a fictional abstraction about the dire consequences of counterproductive health decisions:
“So and so did everything RIGHT, and still had a heart attack/stroke/cancer/Alzheimer’s/etc.”
“So and so did everything WRONG, and still never had ANY health problems.”
Of course, these are very non-specific, question-begging, and statistical outliers even if true. But we cling to them in order to avoid obligatory behaviors. If the way I live doesn't affect my health, then I can just do whatever I like and never confront myself about healthy decisions or food addiction. So I'll find whatever evidence I can to pretend that the way I live has no impact on my health, whether it be genetics or these fictions about people who smoke every day and live to 100 years old while someone else exercises and eats intentionally but died of a heart attack at 37 years old.
Our societal rebellion against sense of obligation ironically enslaves us. Look at the contentment in hard-working people who live charitably with a sense of duty to their fellow man. Look at the persistent malcontent of people living outrageously comfortable lives. Repeatedly, long term studies on health show benefit to parents versus non-parents, pet-owners versus non-pet-owners, married people versus non-married people, people with a history of volunteering versus those who never volunteer. Why? Because there is more purpose in obligation than the momentary contentment people get from wanton independence. There is something about sense of obligation which speaks to the human spirit. The more people avoid obligation, the more their mental health deteriorates.
I don’t know what it takes for each individual. But search how you will obligate yourself toward growth. If you aren’t growing, you are withering. I've seen people boast about their inability to mature and grow, describing themselves as a fixed personality type. Despite such assessments like the Myers-Briggs being totally dismantled as pseudoscience, people will cling to one of these designations for a lifetime. How sad. If it were a valid test and you always tested the same way, it would mean you quite literally have gained zero additional life skills and continue to think in the same manner as the first time you tested. That's not good.
With regard to risk, a risk-free life sounds good. So people work toward it, attempting to reduce the sense of obligation. But with each reduction in palpable consequence is another reduction in intrinsic reward.
For health, for life, for purpose, for happiness, for goal-setting, for growth, don't seek to reduce demands. Don't avoid responsibilities. Don't escape sense of duty.
We offer the highest quality in personal fitness, nutrition, and mindset coaching, helping you achieve your fitness, health, wellness and performance goals no matter the obstacle. With virtual online training and private, in-studio training we make it easier to reach your wellness goals safely.
No more can't. No more not good enough. If you compete in a sport, let your mind no longer hold you back from being the greatest. If you don't, let your mind no longer hold you back from being the best version of you that you can be.
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