“You have to put yourself in a position to succeed.” We used to hear this all the time from Dad when we were growing up.
He said it when I was getting tired of school. He said it when I didn’t want to go to piano lessons or practice my violin. He said it anytime I wanted to quit anything.
Once I made it into college, he never seemed to mind when I changed majors, even after the fifth time. He said whatever I wanted to do was fine, as long as it was legal. But he always insisted I be as prepared as possible, so I’d be in a position to succeed.
I’ve often wondered what he meant by succeeding. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to try a lot of different things. Some were successful; others not so much. But it’s all been interesting, and I think I’ve finally figured out what Dad was really getting at.
It wasn’t about which career, which job, or the type lifestyle I could get. It was about the effort. It was about doing my best, and not giving up, even when it was hard. Particularly when I didn’t feel like it.
A World War II veteran born during the Great Depression, Dad understood the value of hard work and persistence. That whole generation did. They knew how to gut it out, day by day, doing the hard work you do that to achieve something, or make something better.
It worked too. Our industrial base and ingenuity helped win the war, and it took us a long way in the decades since. But sometimes I wonder if we’ve been as successful in transmitting that work ethic as they were.
We want everything so fast these days: fast food, faster news, and immediate status updates. Recently someone told me they had to lose 30 lbs by the time they went on vacation–in just a couple weeks! Yeah, they do it on television, but they live on a ranch with no kids, no minivan, no job. Just weight loss.
I told them they probably just didn’t have enough time, but to just get started, and do whatever they could. I didn’t want to discourage them, but really, how long has it taken them to gain the weight? Why do we think we should get such dramatic results overnight?
Our leader in Biggest Loser “20” has lost just over 35 lbs in eight weeks, which is fantastic. But you need to know that she’s been walking 6 miles EVERY morning, and then coming in and doing the regular workouts every night. I’ve seen her do them. She’s one of the only people I know I who actually prints out my daily workout and brings it to the gym.
When people are a little unhappy because they aren’t quite getting there fast enough, I tell them to look at her. See what she’s doing. “If you want those results, maybe you need to try that.” And remember, it’s not so much WHAT she’s doing, it’s how she’s doing it. It’s her work ethic. She found a plan she could do. She takes full advantage of it, (to an extreme), and she’s totally committed. She just doesn’t stop.
Dad was right. We have to put ourselves in a position to succeed. This week’s Biggest Losers have certainly done that. Lori Hollingsworth finished first, losing 3.5 lbs and 2.0%. Christy Henry took second, losing another 2.6 lbs and 1.3%. Brad Adams was third, losing 2.4 lbs and about 1.0%.