Every athlete that I’ve ever coached has thought that their life would be better if they lost five to ten pounds. This belief flows through most of my friends, my coaches, my wife and myself.
Nothing in my life, requires me to be in a state of perpetually losing weight, yet I spend 95% of my year trying to whittle myself down. In case you’re wondering, the other 5% of the year sees rapid weight gain. My personal best is gaining more than 20 pounds in the two weeks after Ironman New Zealand 2004.
Similar to my athletic goals, my desire to be unnaturally lean has caused me to make poor decisions.
Where do my irrational desires come from?
Can I moderate the influence of irrational desire in my life?
As a recovering addict can tell you – if you want to make a change then you need to take a break from the sources of your addiction. The first step in freeing myself was changing my health club.
I used to train with the fastest group of triathletes on the planet. For an athlete with ample self-confidence, it is an ideal environment to motivate oneself to do whatever it takes to win races.
As my life shifted, I noticed the group was having an adverse effect on my self-esteem and I was being a dick to people. I listened to how we spoke about each other and what we valued in ourselves. I’d get a kick out of the most-skinny triathletes in America commenting about which one of us was “too skinny.” Of course, Mr. Too Skinny would head out the next weekend and crush the field – reaffirming our collective desire to get lighter and lighter. With my pals, losing weight is always the right answer.
Here’s the lesson – the neuroses of our peers will become our goals.
We can’t create self-esteem by changing to match the requirements of others. However, we can change the people with whom we spend our time, and let behavioral psychology do the work for us.
What do you need more of?
Spend time giving to people with less.