I had an interesting conversation earlier this week with Brian.
It seems Brian and I have a friend in common and that friend encouraged Brian to contact me and share his story.
Brian is one of those guys who have an infectious happiness about him and our entire conversation was laced with laughter.
Brian’s story began about four years ago. He’d gone to a store to buy a bathroom scale only to discover that most bathroom scales only go up to 300 pounds and Brian’s weight was well above that number. In fact, he was about 150 pounds above that number.
Like so many others he had made attempt after attempt to lose some of that weight only to find himself regaining whatever weight he had lost plus a bonus of 10 to 15 pounds.
One day, while waiting in a doctor’s office, Brian was flipping through a magazine when a headline caught his attention. The article was about the two drivers of motivation – pain and pleasure.
What Brian learned that day was we do what we do for one of two reasons: to avoid pain or to gain pleasure and that sometimes experiencing pain now will lead to pleasure in the future and sometimes experiencing pleasure now will ensure pain in the future.
Brian put down the magazine and began exploring his own uses of those two driving forces.
In his own words, “A light came on in my head” and he concluded that his lifelong battle with food and ever-expanding waistline was the result of a terribly bad habit he had mastered – the habit of substituting what he wanted (weight loss) for what he wanted RIGHT NOW (whatever temptation was in front of him).
He began to understand those two drivers play an important role in the timeline of life.
With that bellowing laugh Brian told me that he went home and did something he had never done before. He sat on his couch and spent the entire evening thinking, not even taking a moment to turn on the lights.
And the more he thought, the more he realized how complicit he had been in producing huge amounts of pain in his own life. He came to understand that by his lifelong habit of being unwilling to endure the short term pain of saying no to temptation he had assured himself of the long-term pain, self-hate, disgust and constant feelings of worthlessness that had become part of his everyday life.
He told me, “On the outside I was this happy, laughing, jovial life of the party while on the inside my soul was being devoured by depression.”
That night, sitting in the dark on his couch, he “got it.” His epiphany was that we live in a “Pay now or pay later world” and that his whole life been spent “paying later.”
He changed “Pay now or pay later” to “PAIN now or PAIN later,” and made a promise to himself that starting immediately he was going to provide a future for himself that would be filled with pleasure and he would get there by enduring whatever pain was necessary to do so.
On his way home from his doctor’s office he’d stopped by his favorite pizza joint and picked up one of their two-for-one specials. The pizzas had sat, unopened, on his kitchen counter all the time he’d been on the couch thinking and his first act of switching immediate pleasure for future pain to immediate pain for future pleasure was to cut those two pizzas into tiny pieces and feed them to his starving garburator.
He didn’t implement any massive changes in his life. He explained it this way, “All I did was stop doing what I knew I shouldn’t be doing, no matter how badly I wanted to do it and started doing what I knew I should be doing no matter how badly I didn’t want to do it.”
And he lost 27 pounds in the first 30 days of not doing and doing.
And 240 pounds in total.
And “once I got it, it was the easiest thing I have ever done.”
Eight months ago Brian received his certification as a Personal Trainer and his business slogan is “Helping you get what you want by making you do what you don’t want.”
Makes perfect sense.
Till we read again.
My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
P.S. My company, Strategic Pathways, recently introduced our newest Personal Coaching experience called Boot Camp for Your Brain. Please click here and take a peek at our Ebrochure