Being an avid crossfitter and coach for years, people often ask me aren’t they improving or still weak in certain areas of their fitness. My response to that question is always the same, “Well, how often do you work on improving it?” Their response is typically the same as well, “Not that much.”
Things relating to improvements are mostly black and white, the shades of grey in between will leave you, in between. For the most part that’s obvious, as you’d assume. The mystery for some time to me, was why after two or three years were these people still struggling with something they should clearly have in the bag by now or have made improvements with? The answer to that, the majority of the time lies in the difference between the quest of people seeking pleasing activities, rather than pleasing results.
One of my trainees wanted to increase her back squat 35lbs to 215lbs and had been talking about it for quite some time. She has a running background and enjoys running. She makes sure she completes a long run (7 miles or longer), at least three times a week. Her competitive running days, she’s given up but still really doing it. It’s a pleasing activity to her and makes her feel good. However, she’s told several people that she wants to hit that 215lb back squat and how much it would mean to her. Doing so would be a pleasing result and really fulfilling to her to finally hit that goal. The pleasing activity (running), is easy for her to do because she’s good at it, likes doing it and it makes her feel good. The pleasing result (squatting), is difficult for her to do because she is not good at it currently, and as a result doesn’t like doing it, which causes her to feel inadequate and doesn’t make her feel good. However, as she’s made clear several times, it’s the thing she wants most. So what do you think she should be doing?
The issue described above is one which we all have in life. We chase the “feel goods” and “happies” (pleasing activities) of talking to friends about nothing and watching TV for hours, random extended breaks at work several times a day, video games, social media saturation, going out every weekend, etc.. Many of us do this day in and day out to avoid the WORK, mental and physical strain, failure, effort, and fear of criticism from others, which is between the starting point and our destination on the road towards our ultimate goal in life (a pleasing result).
Some examples of these are building a successful business (achieving financial independence), spending quality time with your kids to improve their habits and educational foundation, improving your health and fitness, personal development, etc. The pleasing activities are pretty much instinctive to you. However, those “feel good” moments are fleeting and don’t have staying power which in turn leave you unsatisfied and in search of it again in the coming hours, days, or weeks. The pleasing result items, when attained bring you lasting fulfillment that doesn’t just evaporate an hour, day or week later. You get satisfaction from it for an extended period of time and potentially a lifetime.
Albert E.N. Gray states that “The common denominator of success, the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful, lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.” and what is it that failures don’t like to do? They don’t like to make the best use of their time, they don’t like to travel the unpaved path, they don’t like to think and they don’t seek pleasing results among other things. To find ultimate success, you’ve got to focus on attaining your ultimate goal. There you will find lasting and supreme fulfillment.
Are you focused on attaining pleasing results or engaging in pleasing activities in your life? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
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