Few things are as detrimental in life as the unchecked ego. When left to run the show, whether in fitness, alcohol/drugs, finances, relationships and so on, the unrestrained ego flies with grandiose ideas, clever delusions and fat lies, making genuine self-examination impossible. It can push you to make unsustainable choices and to tolerate mediocrity, while enabling dysfunctions to go unnoticed and uncontrolled. But the ego can only go so far. In time, serious problems arise and you fall down the track, hitting rock bottom.
Button of Opportunity
While a rock-bottom scenario is a painful and miserable situation you may never wish even on your worst enemy, it can be a magical button of opportunity. In fact, according to Charles Duhigg, the writer of The Power of Habit, a New York Times best seller, we are only able to take the first steps of strength and liberation after experiencing utter defeat. Duhigg observed that the ability of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program to help hopeless alcoholics to quit drinking depend on hugely whether they have faced absolute humiliation. Humiliation may upset, but it bestows humility which is the most common characteristic of people who successfully change. Humility suppresses the ego and allows introspection, enabling us to overcome our fears and try new things that may help us succeed.
Highest Likelihood of Success
From the thousands of people I have trained and the tens of thousands I have observed, I have noted that they can be divided into three buckets.
(a) In bucket 1 are people who are not overweight or unhealthy in any way, but just want to lose a few pounds in order to be “healthier” in general.
(b) In bucket 2 are people who are not necessarily unhealthy or unhappy with their weight, but want to lose a sizeable amount of weight.
(c) And in bucket 3 are individuals who have hit rock bottom. These are people who have faced a life-threatening scare because of their weight or who just learned of their weight for the first time and are shocked at the number.
Of these categories of people I have worked with, I have noted that those in bucket 3 have the highest likelihood of success. And I have discovered that the potential of the rock-bottom scenario to stimulate success is not limited to weight loss, but cuts across all facets of life.
The Ultimate Ego Death Trip
Since most effective fitness practices that work are usually counter intuitive and against the grain, the ego tends to resist them. In fact, the larger the ego, the greater the likelihood that a person will recoil at many things that research has shown to work. For example, the ego is likely to revolt against evidence-based facts that defy common fitness beliefs, such as:
(a) Breakfast is not the most significant meal of the day.
(b) Exercise is not as important to weight loss as is often emphasized.
When those with egos come across such facts which contradict their beliefs, they are likely to react with anger. But those with humility will approach such facts with curiosity and a willingness to learn. Hitting rock bottom is one of the ways the ego can be suppressed and humility acquired, marking the onset of genuine self-examination. Once you hit rock bottom, you begin to question your beliefs, motives and fears with a renewed sense of clarity. Your ego takes a death trip and loosens its grip, allowing you to discard old ideas and surrender to new habits.
We must not all wait to hit rock bottom. It is a miserable and painful point that no one would wish for. But at times, the rock bottom scenario can be the only catalyst for change. So if you fall down the track and find yourself at the lowest point, just remember to take it as an opportunity to turn your life around.