Hi Guys. As most of you know, I spent a great deal of 2012 working on my new book for Penguin Publishing, finally handing it over about ten seconds before Christmas. Well, nearly. Every day I’m asked what the book is about and when it will be in stores or available on this site. To answer the second question first, May. And to answer the first question second, it’s about change. Specifically, how to plan for it, create it and most importantly, maintain it. With kind thanks to Penguin, today I thought I might share the almost-final draft of the introduction. It will give you a sense of the style and content of the book.
The fact that you’re holding this book and reading these words tells me that you’re interested in changing something about your reality. Welcome to the club; it’s a whopper. It might be something about your body, your lifestyle, career, relationships, financial situation, destructive habits, your crazy-arse over-thinking mind, or it could be a curious combination.
But then we’re all curious creatures.
Now, I’m going to take a wild guess that you’ve been down this road before. You know…
The ‘transformation’ road.
The ‘I want to change my life’ road.
The ‘I’m sick of myself’ road.
The ‘I want to give myself an uppercut’ road.
Most of us have.
Most of us have made ground and then lost it. Changed things and then un-changed them. Made promises and broken them. Created momentum and then come to a grinding halt. Found motivation and then lost it. Lost weight and regained it. It’s what we do. Er, did.
So the smart question at this point in time is: how do we create lasting transformation? Not momentary shift or temporary behavioural change, like the last thousand times, no, how do we create forever results. How do we literally transform our thinking, behaviours, outcomes and reality from the inside out?
All good and relevant questions.
Well, I will tell you that, whatever the individual objective, on a level, we’re all the same. You. Me. Same. We all want to be the best version of us. To explore our potential. To be healthy. To discover our purpose. To live our purpose. To learn. Grow. Connect. And ultimately, to be happy.
After all, happiness is the universal goal.
What You’ll Find in this Book
As you’re aware by now, this book is based on 101 principles which have proven to be effective and empowering transformational strategies since way back when Jesus was playing soccer with the apostles. Of course, I didn’t invent them (the principles, not the apostles) but I have given them my own spin and done my best to present them in a manner and language which is meaningful, relevant and hopefully mildly-amusing to the majority of readers.
Keeping in mind that a large percentage of people who pick up books like this one never make it past the first few chapters, I have (1) endeavoured to keep the language as user-friendly and un-jargon-y as possible and (2) written each principle as its own self-contained lesson or insight, meaning that the book doesn’t need to be read chronologically. In other words, chapter 77 (for example) doesn’t necessarily flow into chapter 78. As some of my friends perused the almost-final draft (pre-publication), I noticed that, rather than working their way progressively through the book, many of them scanned the chapter titles and jumped from section to section in order to explore the topics that were of most interest and relevance to them.
While the majority of ideas, information and lessons in this book relate to the way we cognitively, emotionally and practically relate to, and interact with, the world around us (thinking, decisions, beliefs, actions, reactions, standards), I have also included some principles which are more specific to the physical (personal health and fitness) realm. Keeping in mind that you’re a multi-dimensional (cerebral, creative, emotional and spiritual) creature currently residing in a physical body, it would be remiss of me to not at least open the door on such a broadly relevant conversation. Being an exercise scientist who owns a gym and has worked with thousands of bodies for the last thirty years may also have had something to do with it.
Having said all of that….
What Success Demands
Okay, put on your hard hat.
I’m of the not-always-popular opinion that the majority of people who say they want to change their lives – or part thereof – are simply not prepared to do what’s required to bring about that transformation.
You know: the hard stuff.
The uncomfortable stuff. The scary stuff. The work. As a consequence, many of us will never begin to explore the limits of our potential, power or possibilities, and not because we don’t have a capacity for brilliance, excellence or success (we all do) but, rather, because we don’t have a willingness to get uncomfortable enough for long enough. To do what success demands.
As a collective of curious creatures, we love quick, easy, painless and effortless.
Warm and Fuzzy
Contrary to what some of the warm, fuzzy, hold-your-hand, self-help types might suggest, the transformation journey has a tendency to be a painful and not-always-pleasant one (physically, emotionally, mentally, sociologically and financially); for a while at least. And for many of us, this is our stumbling block. We like easy and comfortable, which is why years down the track so many of us are still inhabiting the same reality and still doing the same dumb crap, despite our long-term desire for change.
Some of us have been circling success for years but here we are; still having the same conversations about the same issues. Still waiting for the magical, mythical right time. Still lying to ourselves. And others. Still making excuses and laying blame. Still not facing our fears. Still not exploring our potential. And still getting grumpy at people who tell us what we don’t want to hear; especially when they’re telling us the uncomfortable truth.
How Much We Want It
As a performance coach and exercise scientist, it’s been my experience and observation that, more often than not, success or failure comes down to one issue more than any other:
…how much an individual wants something.
Of course, there are many other ingredients and variables but, for the most part, they are all irrelevant and inconsequential if the individual lacks the necessary level of desire, commitment and application to do what’s required.
The more desperate (motivated, committed, focused) an individual is to having, creating, achieving and doing a particular thing or things, the more likely she will be to find a way to get the job done. To get uncomfortable enough. And to keep getting uncomfortable. The more likely he will be to do what success demands, despite his fears. To pay the necessary price. To persevere. To find solutions not problems. To do what the majority won’t.
Want to be exceptional?
Then do exceptional things.
Words Ain’t Actions
Of course, many people will say that they’re totally committed to change but more often than not, their actions will tell a different story. You know those people. Words are cheap and require virtually no effort or commitment. As a coach, if I really want to know how committed somebody is to creating lasting change, I will typically pay less attention to their words (the theory of change) and more to their actions (the practical reality of change) over an extended period of time. As you’ll hear me say many times throughout this book, transformation doesn’t live in the knowing, thinking, planning or talking.
It lives in the doing.
It’s not an ‘idea’.
In the quest for our best life (whatever that means to each of us personally) it’s important that we don’t confuse acquired knowledge – which most of us have more than enough of – with intelligent and courageous behaviour. For that matter, it’s also important that we don’t confuse education with intelligence. When it comes down to you creating your best life (yes, you the person reading this page right now), I’m not interested in what you know but I’m very interested in what you do with what you know.
And so should you be.
Take a look around (or maybe within?) and you’ll discover that many people have been talking, planning, intending and goal-setting their way to nowhere-in-particular for years. I call them the personal-growth theorists. Some people call them self-help junkies. They love the ‘idea’ of transformation and, yes, they have more than enough intelligence and understanding to transform their situation, however, for a range of reasons, they are simply not prepared to do what success demands.
Sadly, some people will spend the majority of their lives wasting their time, talent and opportunities while simultaneously looking for the shortcut, the quick-fix, the miracle cure; anything that will allow them to stay comfortable.
Now, before we get under way, I have three questions for you:
1. What do you want?
2. What’s the cost?
3. Are you willing to pay the price?
Answer those questions honestly and courageously and then turn the page.