As I’ve mentioned before, health clubs are constantly selling memberships to people who won’t use them. Often. Or at all. Great for the bottom line of the club, not so great for the bottom of the would-be exerciser. In many ways, gyms can rely on, and benefit from, the fact that a large percentage of members won’t follow through on their initial decision to work out. Before long, they won’t show up at the gym but ironically, their monthly electronic payment will. For a range of reasons, many people throw in the towel before they really get under way.
Now before anyone gets defensive, this brief discussion is not about finger-pointing, blaming, criticising or self-loathing. No, it’s about acknowledgement and self-awareness. Honesty and humility. Courage and commitment. It’s a realistic insight into what many of us do. And don’t do. And hopefully, it’s about breaking the towel-throwing cycle.
For three decades I’ve done my best to dispense relevant information, inspiration and motivation and along the way, it’s been a pleasure to watch thousands of people change their lives. I’ve also watched thousands of talented people with great potential throw in the towel the moment the process got uncomfortable or inconvenient. Pity.
I’ve also worked with people who wanted to create and grow their own successful business until they figured out what was involved. They wanted the reward and benefits of business ownership without taking the risk, doing the work or paying the price. They too were towel throwers.
I’ve had countless conversations with people who have almost been in shape fifty times but after all their stopping, starting and New Year’s resolutions, there they were. Sitting in my office. Out of shape and often, out of control. Again, no judgement. Just truth.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all been towel throwers at some stage. Fully-fledged members of the start-stop fraternity. Constantly starting things we never finish.
Yesterday, I was talking with a dad whose son is both an alcoholic and a drug addict. Without divulging too much, it’s fair to say that for almost a decade this particular family has been put through all kinds of hell as a result of his addictions. Well, the good news is that after years of mental, emotional and financial pain (for the entire family), the son has now been clean for almost a year and is working, attending meetings and taking charge of his life. Good for him.
When I asked the dad how he kept going through all those painful years, he asked me something that was both simple and powerful. “He’s my kid, so giving up is not a choice is it?”
Good attitude dad.
When we remove the possibility of throwing in the towel, we find a way.