What's your contribution?

"A pair of hot pants that will help you lose two dress sizes in just two weeks"

"Tone your muscles just by walking around"

"Thermonitrox detonator juice - blow your fat away with the pills of the stars"

OK, so I made the name up on the last one but walk into any "health" shop and you'll find 101 pills and potions promising you an easy solution to your difficult problem. Happiness through advanced chemistry... Hang on, didn't we learn that was wrong at school?

I'm not going to bash the nutroceutical companies (too much) in this post, that's a discussion for another day - suffice it to say that as a multiple-billion dollar global industry, their interests lie very much in sustaining a story and selling you a lot of stuff. To be honest, I can't criticise it too much, every organism seeks to survive. Businesses are no different. We have seen the aggressive, in a negative sense, face of capitalism in recent years but frankly, it is still our dominant way of viewing the world and so long as we are wedded to that, it seems a bit off to worry about people engaging in it.

Actually, one of the best solutions to that issue is one that is open to all of us and gets to the heart of this post... If we stopped falling prey to the packing, the branding, the pretty pictures, the silken lies and just for a minute before purchase actually considered it, we could break it. There is nothing quite like plummeting sales to generate some change in a business. At first they will probably look to manipulate price to generate more sales to boost revenue but there comes a point when is simply no longer viable to do it.

I didn't want to get sidetracked by economic discourse in this. There'll be other times to expand on that side of things. However, what I did want to consider was something which seems to keep coming up. Cause and effect; action and reaction; what goes around comes around; karma; reciprocity, whatever label sits comfortably for you, there is something to it.

I get frustrated by people who come to me wanting quick fixes, shortcuts, dramatic change in result without any change in behaviour. I get it, I really do, the attraction of the quick fix, the lure of the easy solution. Oh man, wouldn't life be simpler if one pill, one word, one wave of the hand while saying "shazam!" made everything better. But we know it doesn't! We get frustrated because the scale of the outcome is not always proportionate to the energy investment at the front end. But how much of that frustration is born of a desire, no, a need for instant gratification? Do we ever give it a chance for a change to kick in?

There is not much in the universe that hits top speed from the start. What time or space have you factored in for acceleration? If you're changing direction or going from a dead stop you need to know that it is going to take a bit longer to hit your stride again.

Before you can even get into that conversation there is a sad lack of honest appraisal. What have you done in this situation? What have you really done? If you think you are more sinned against than sinning I would stick my neck out and suggest you need an even longer look in the mirror of truth. Until you have deeply and honestly assessed your position, you will always be in danger of falling for the glib, oily promises.

"I go to the gym loads and I don't seem to be getting any fitter. In fact, I just seem to be getting fatter."

Well, that might have something to do with the fact that you're spending 40 mins strutting around chatting and posing, 10 mins mixing your protein shake and about 15 mins doing comfortable movement on an elliptical/jogging on the treadmill. True, you're spending over an hour in the gym and doing that five times per week but what are you actually doing?

"My relationship is rubbish" or "I don't get any respect"

What are you doing? Does rubbish mean that you're not getting it all your own way? What have you done to earn the respect? What have you done to piss away the little respect that people might afford you just for being human? If you keep trading on something and never putting back in, you cannot be surprised if one day your credit is extended no further.

I guess, what I'm trying to say in my ill thought out idiom is this: stop. Walk away. Replay the conversation you were about to have in your head but hear it coming from somebody else. How does it sound? What questions are you asking? Now, still feel like carrying on?

As a parting shot, help is normally available to those who ask for it. BUT asking for help is a different thing to asking somebody else to do something for you. And that has implications for the proud and the lazy. Where do you fit in?

I might need to expand on this properly one day... But frankly, I doubt anybody wants to hear it!

Allons-y!

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