Getting fit is sometimes boring… mind numbing, check yourself into the funny farm monotony. Other parts of regular life are like that at times, too. In the last three weeks I shut myself in a closet, grit my teeth and ground away at a project. In successful investing, the same process will be encountered. Huh?
As I was plowing through this project to complete it, I hit a day where I turned my chair away from the computer because I was utterly demoralized. This project had dragged on for over a year, and I had committed to seeing my portion done regardless of the others on the project. The software was in shreds, and I could see no end in sight. In my frustration I shut out many extra activities (including regular blogging) and chained my body to the table in front of the computer. (Figuratively, folks!) But that day… I had nothing more to give. I was spent.
Having swiveled the chair around, I stared blankly at the wall of shelves, jammed full of books. I certainly didn’t want to look just above or below my line of sight. Tomes on the deep magic of computer science waited to assault my vision… the last thing I wanted to see. If I looked to the right, philosophy, law, languages, reference volumes would disappear from sight. My eyes would be looking at them, but nothing registered on the brain. The only other direction had books on personal growth. Ugh. That last thing I wanted was to be uplifted! How can I wallow if I let good ideas into my head?
I closed my eyes, and must have dozed for a short while for I came to my senses with a start. My black cat had heaved her fat carcass onto my lap and was purring madly as she eased her mass into a comfortable position. The sharp edge to my mood had dulled somewhat, and I chose to let her sit there for a while.
After some time I picked up a book that lay dormant, unfinished, for years. I wasn’t ready for the message back then and set it aside. I scanned the fading marks of highlighted phrases, when a short dialog caught my eye. I’ll substitute words to change the topic from investing to weight loss and fitness.
“I now realize why it is so hard for most people to follow a simple plan.”
“And why is that?” I asked.
“Because following a simple plan to become [fit] is boring,” said [fit] dad. “Human beings are quickly bored and want to find something more exciting and amusing. That is why only three out of a hundred people become [fit]. They start following a plan, and soon they are bored. So they stop following the plan and then they look for a magic way to get [fit] quick. They repeat the process of boredom, amusement, and boredom again for the rest of their lives. That is why they do not get [fit]. They cannot stand the boredom of following a simple, uncomplicated plan to get [fit]. Most people think there is some magic to getting [fit] through [dieting]. Or they think that if it is not complicated, it cannot be a good plan. Trust me; when it comes to [health], simple is better than complex.”
Kiyosaki, Robert, Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing, Chapter 8, editing mine.
The message that I got from this was not that one has to live a boring life doing things that one hates. What sunk into me was an old quote that I heard when I was younger. “Integrity is the ability to follow through on a decision long after the emotional peak is gone.” Something like that.
That brief message did help me to re-center my mind. I did take up my project again; not with burning enthusiasm but with the knowledge that despite all appearances, I was almost done. (And as of now, I am done.)
My progress on my weight loss had slowed to a crawl, but I still retained the determination to remain on the path. The path I was following was simple, but I had allowed skewed thinking in one part of my life to affect the other areas. I got “bored”, or rather, frustrated with the steady progress I was making on that project and decided to try a “get done quick” plan. I didn’t get done quick, but I certainly got grumpy in a hurry! 🙂
Why this long, rambling post? I’ve had a human experience. As a human experience, I’m certain that while the details may be particular to me, that others have had similar experiences. We get through them eventually… as we re-awaken from our stupor.
We can do things to mix up the routine, and those are so important to help mitigate the fact that the raw fundamentals need to be in place. There remains that gap between changing our course of action and that new path becoming a habit. Once it’s habit, we expend little to no energy thinking about it. It’s just a natural part of our life.
For the good news, I believe I’m somewhere in the range of where I should be, weight-wise. I’ll be getting some expert opinion… but I wanted to express that I’m grateful for everybody’s encouragement and support.
Status: 75 pounds (34 kg) lighter since March, over 105 pounds (48 kg) since last year.