Modern intuition is garbage. Mine is. Yours is. When we are inclined to gamble is likely the time to cut our losses and stop. When we are inclined to quit is probably the very moment that we must push harder; and that makes the difference between success and failure.
1998/99, I chose not to fill out the FAFSA because I sensed that I already had far too many advantages over minorities. I gave up financial aid for which I did qualify, based on a variety of sensibilities. I went to a low-cost school, where I still ended up ultimately obtaining full academic scholarship, which I did not decline. It placed me in a position to take saved money and invest or spend it like a fool. I invested, obscenely conservatively.
Though I had intently and intensely studied market trends, and saw the nadir point of Apple as a growth opportunity, my intuition told me to be careful, not “risky.” We went with mutual funds. The intuition was telling me to hold back, and so I did. Refer to the stock chart. That decision cost me between 500k and 10 million dollars.
Just like the choice to decline filling out the FAFSA or decline investing in a promising but struggling company, I’ve many times thrown away opportunity. Early on in my career I could’ve gone to much larger clubs with wealthier demographics. I could’ve relocated to other parts of the country or world and lived an incredibly easier existence. I overtly declined an offer to become Regional Director (and potentially RVP) in 2006/07. Think about that. That’s 12 or more years ago. What would my professional track have been if I accepted the offer? Some people have an entitlement problem, believing they’re owed all sorts of unearned and unmerited credit. I have an anti-entitlement problem, believing I’m not even due some things for which I worked.
I took a sort of pride in working harder than my peers, and helping underserved communities with many fewer people who could “afford” coaching and memberships. I grew professionally and personally. So I don’t regret it. But I do have to say it was/is difficult to watch other people with far less experience and expertise grab every advantage they could/can, surging ahead in their financial stability, while I stuck to my guns on making meaning, not making money.
Additionally, I saw others adopt the use of sketchy supplements and business practices to soar meteorically in the fitness industry. I clung to my sensibilities, oftentimes to a measurable detriment. While others sold out on social media at the beginning, I held back even having any presence on it until 2015. It’s incalculable how much money I left on the table. Now, I see that those sensibilities may have adversely affected my family. My effort to give up advantage in some ways gave up stability for my family. And again, I don’t regret the choices. But I’ve tried to learn how to not skip so many opportunities so chronically.
I marvel at other people’s insistence on seizing advantages. It’s not built into me. I have beliefs about equity and fairness which have definitely hindered me in many respects. We all have hangups with respect to success, depending on the vocation. I try to learn. And in fitness, I think I have. That said, I see that many other people also shun opportunity, but not in regard to career or money choices, but with regard to their health and fitness. Every day everyone has the opportunity to improve. Most of the time, we don’t just pass on that opportunity, we aggressively throw it away. And, perhaps, thinking about the “selfishness” of personal growth or development or workouts or nutrition isn’t lofty enough to compel you. Perhaps, instead, you should ponder how your active effort to worsen your own health and fitness is going to become a cost to your family and fellow citizen. It’s going to mean you cost your neighbor and your fellow taxpayer more than if you would’ve taken the opportunities to improve your health and fitness.
I love individualism and libertarianism as much as the next person; but your rapidly worsening condition doesn’t just affect your life. It does impact others. Whether we are talking the health care costs or your capacity to crouch down and play with grandkids, skipping the opportunities to become healthier impacts many other people.
Now, in the efforts to seize opportunity, there will be trials. You are going to interface with days where your intuition tells you to quit. In those moments, that is precisely the time to double down. Everyone wants to quit when it gets tough. Everyone. But that moment is the differentiator.
Somewhere between week 6 and 12 of fitness efforts, there is a psychological law which presses on people to “stop investing in yourself.” Why are college semesters no longer than 15 weeks? We just know that the human psyche is done, cooked, finito, after 12 weeks. In my experience, I can actually predict to-the-day (and sometimes to the hour) when someone I know or coach is going to try to actively give up, based on word choice and attitude at the outset. The more naive they are about self-awareness, the more likely they are to quit altogether by day 54. They actually quit before they began, but believe they slogged through 8 weeks.
Only a select few push through the desire to quit. Face your hangups. Face your sensibilities. Face your baser self. When you want to risk it, don’t. When you want to hold back, risk it. When you’re inclined to push on, pause. When you’re ready to quit, keep going harder than ever. It will make the difference in schooling, in advantage, in opportunity, in success, and ultimately in self-care.