Willpower vs Enthusiasm for Transformation After Bariatric SurgeryJanuary 7, 2019
It’s Monday morning at 7 AM and you’re lying in bed scrolling through your social media newsfeeds desperately searching for that motivation that’ll get you off your butt and into the gym to achieve your goal for transformation after bariatric surgery.
Kings of the Jungle?
It seems like you’re sifting through a sea of Instagram models who have turned the fitness industry into soft-core porn with quotes from books they can’t even read and one meme after the next about lions and how badass they are as “Kings of the Jungle.”
Memes with photos of lions are absolutely everywhere! Quotes like “Everyone wants to be a beast until it’s time to do what real beasts do” or “If your goals set you apart from the crowd, stay alone” or, “The lion doesn’t have to prove that it’s a threat. You already know what it’s capable of” or “Devour anything that comes in the way of your success.” Lastly, the one I see all the time that people use to justify being a self-righteous shmuck, “Lions don’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.” Seriously, all of these memes are literally in my newsfeed as I write this article.
Well, as the author of the book “How Much Does A Zebra Weigh?” and a lover of big-picture thinking, I think all these kitties are meowing up the wrong tree.
Here’s the real deal on lions:
- Lions don’t even live in the jungle. They live in the plains and grasslands.
- Lions are lonely. The male lion gets kicked out of the pride at 2 or 3 years old. If another male takes over the pride, he kills the existing cubs.
- Lions are lazy. The male lion actually sleeps up to 20 hours a day!
- Female lions do the hunting together in teams. They’re the real badasses! The male lions, on the other hand, are selfish asses with no manners. Males eat before the women and cubs, gorging themselves on 40 to 80 pounds of meat in a meal. The women eat next, leaving the cubs with the scraps at the end.
- Female lions stay together with the pride and raise the young. The male lions have nothing to do with even their own cubs.
These are lonely, selfish animals. Sitting all alone as delusional Kings of the Jungle they don’t even live in, acting more like an ass than a badass.
Look, I get it because I used to pride myself on being a lion. For nearly two decades, I wore my work ethic like a badge of honor. Everything I did in life was based on willpower. 80 to 110 hours of work a week was my purple heart. Hustling, struggling, grinding. Even though I was working out religiously and eating a nearly perfect Paleo style diet; I was exhausted, my hair was greying, and I pushed through massive stress and the occasional anxiety attack.
As an entrepreneur, I thought it was all about willpower and hard work. Yet one of my mentors taught me that if willpower and hard work alone made you a success, those working their butts off in the fields would be the billionaires with six packs.
The Japanese, known as the least happy people in the world, even have a word for this toxic lifestyle of working yourself to death called “Karoshi”.
So once I had my daughter, I delved deep into the study of happiness on my personal development journey and realized happiness is a choice, not a result. Well specifically, 50% is a genetic set point, 10% is your circumstances (income, social status, environment) and 40% is left to your choice of perspective.
Fueled by Enthusiasm
One day, sitting down watching my kiddos dancing and singing along to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, it hit me. When the theme song came on, they got fired up with a completely different fuel source than willpower. They were fueled by enthusiasm… and it was electric! Their guru, Mickey Mouse, with the help of his friends at the clubhouse, had them jumping off the walls like jelly beans.
The key to long-term success and outright happiness is not to be a lion always fueled by willpower. It’s to be more like Mickey Mouse. Be fueled by the enthusiasm with an occasional turbo boost of willpower.
Think about it. Mickey Mouse is a happy-go-lucky, high energy, fit Billionaire leader fueled by enthusiasm. He looks at the world in awe and obstacles as exciting challenges. So unlike his friends, Mickey rarely gets flustered or defeated. Hence, Mickey is the leader.
Mickey Mouse is a turbo-charged ball of enthusiasm. And research shows happy people bounce back from adversity quicker. On the other hand, when people are solely fueled by willpower, they eventually start to burn out. Their enthusiasm turns into pessimism and cynicism, and they begin to identify themselves as a victim. At this point, they become a totally defeated ass, like another Disney character, Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh.
Eeyore is like many of the people who come to me for transformation coaching who have failed over and over on other programs. They have lost before they even started. They view eating healthy and exercising as torture they must endure as they struggle to lose fat. They have zero self-confidence and blame everything on outside forces. Deep down, they don’t believe there is any chance they will ever get what they desire.
The Antidepressant That Saved My Life
For me, fitness was never about fat loss. It was the antidepressant that saved my life. It has been my outlet to help me alongside proper nutrition and deep personal development to become the best version of myself. Fitness and living a healthy lifestyle are sacred and I have fallen in love with the process because I know how great I feel once those beautiful happy hormones dopamine and endorphins start kicking in from my efforts. It’s all enthusiasm, which is why I live fit 365 days a year at nearly 40 years old.
Your mindset on fitness and nutrition can make or break your long-term success. Having an approach of “I get to” versus “I have to” is one of the key differentiators between people who succeed and fail. It becomes an opportunity when you are fueled by enthusiasm, versus an obligation when you are fueled solely by willpower. You start to live as a fit happy leader with passion and purpose as you raise the bar and defy the odds.
So how do you switch fuel systems from will power to enthusiasm? Is it as easy as trading in your gas-guzzler for an electric car? Well, as Mickey Mouse would say, “You betcha!”
The problem is that currently when you run on willpower, you wait for motivation to kick in to start your proverbial engine. So you need to stop waiting on motivation to kick in before you take action. To get what you want and to be happy, you have to do many things you don’t feel motivated to do beforehand. Right now, at this very moment reading this article, make a personal commitment to simply put your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness first and be enthusiastic about it. Commit to being a role model not to being normal.
It’s like jumping in a pool. If you get stuck in your head thinking about the temperature of the water, you’ll talk yourself out of it or the experience will be miserable. If you keep your eyes on the prize and focus on how good you will feel after a swim or how much fun you will have playing with friends in the water, it becomes easy.
Gratitude is the key to kick-start the enthusiasm engine. If the first two words out of your mouth when you wake up are “thank you” and you live simply grateful for every experience that is coming your way, as either an enjoyable one or a learning lesson, you’ll never have to wait for motivation again.
The 7 Second Decision Window
So here is a little hack to get you out of analysis paralysis to start taking action on what you really need to do today: Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science revealed that our decisions are made 7 seconds before we become aware of them. We have a 7-second window from when your subconscious mind tells you what you should do and when your conscious mind actually responds.
So the way to hack this is through what is known as pattern interrupt and kick in your conscious brain. One way you can pattern interrupt is by saying a quick mantra during this time like “I got this!” or counting backward 5-4-3-2-1 and then you just jump into what you need to do.
Remember, you are your own best salesperson. The problem is that you keep selling yourself short by striving for normal.
Ask yourself this question:
Have you ever read an autobiography about a normal guy, who did normal things, who lived a normal and safe life, and achieved normality? So why are you selling yourself on the idea that it is crazy or bad or ridiculous to do something everyone else isn't doing?
I was up before 4 AM.
I did fasted cardio this morning.
Expressed gratitude right when I woke up.
I meditated in my infrared sauna.
Sure as heck not normal
My breakfast was the real breakfast of champions, a FIT 365 shake.
Enthusiasm for Transformation
And I put myself out on a limb every day since 2001 unwilling to take a normal job to have a life's work that adds value as well as create a legacy I can be proud of and hopefully so will my children and future generations. This is why I choose to be fueled by enthusiasm!
So stop selling yourself on normal as an excuse for playing small. You deserve to experience and feel the pain, the heartache, the fear, the sadness, as well as the excitement, the endorphin rush, the happiness and the fulfillment that comes from refusing normal.
Yes, all of these emotions come with refusing to accept only normal without any excitement and joy. Life is meant to have highs and lows, to be a participant in life and not merely sitting on the sidelines. Without using willpower to persevere through and feeling the negative emotions, you'd lack true appreciation of the positive experiences and emotions. So buckle up, put on your Mickey Mouse ears, and smile enthusiastically. The road is bumpy but so worth it.
ABOUT THE AUTHORKyle Brown BA, CCN founder of FIT 365® shakes, owner of Strive 4 Fitness, and creator of Real Celebrity Fitness. Voted San Diego’s Best Personal Trainer 2010 and 2011 by The San Diego Union Tribune, National finalist in 2013 for Personal Fitness Professional magazine’s Trainer Of The Year and is the Nutrition advisor for the Cardiovascular Disease Foundation.
Read more articles by Kyle Brown!