|Back in my twenties, I listened to a lot self-help gurus. I only liked a few of them, like Zig Ziglar and Jim Rohn, but I listened to and read all of them. They all basically had the same “you can do it” message, as well as the same strategies like “write down your goals” and “never quit”.|
Some advice worked really well for me, and some didn’t. One thing that surprised me was how meaningful an end-of-the-year tip turned out to be: “Take inventory of the last year”. In my early twenties, that usually meant nothing more than thinking about college classes. But nowadays, I’m surprised how much can change and be learned in one year’s time.
For example, at the beginning of 2011, I worked with a person who nearly lost his job because of chronic fatigue after undergoing chemotherapy. He had to take naps in his car during his lunch hour. His name was on a list for an organ transplant. Death seemed inevitable in his mind.
Today, he seems like the picture of health. He works out very hard every evening. He goes to sleep easily at night and wakes up refreshed every morning. He has energy to spare.
Now, this story sounds like an overnight success, but it wasn’t. It took a year! Months went by with no improvement whatsoever. None. Maybe a little marginal success eased in after a while, but nothing to celebrate. Success was so gradual that even he didn’t realize there was much of a change until people around him made comments about his looking better. The glimmer in his eye. His skin color. His joining colleagues for lunch.
It wasn’t until August that he was actually aware of the change. It wasn’t until September that he was able to do light exercises. It wasn’t until November that he found himself exercising most evenings after work. It was not instantaneous.
The point is that when you read the story, you’re hearing the highlights. But you aren’t feeling the struggle. The urge to throw in the towel. Another day of eating the right things, another bottle of supplements that didn’t feel like they made much of a difference last month, etc. But those daily decisions are where the front lines of the battle take place.
I want you to see this as an example of how crucial the daily habits are. Very often, you don’t feel the changes taking place (positively or negatively).
Another story is of a man I met last month who was physically challenged after having had polio. He rolled up to me in one of those seated electric carts that you see in grocery stores. His attitude was incredible.
He told me to tell Doug how thankful he was for the TV show and books. How the daily education and inspiration has kept him going. He doesn’t have much money, but he eats as well as he can. He takes whatever supplements he can afford. His goal was to get back to work after being physically incapable of working for so long. He was an incredible inspiration.
But his story isn’t THE story. THE story is about this man’s father who died earlier this year. The dad wasn’t physically challenged. He wasn’t too fatigued. He had resources. But he died.
The man in the electric cart said that his dad was diagnosed with a serious but manageable illness. The doctors told him to keep doing what he had always done, and that what he ate had nothing to do with his condition. His son encouraged him to watch Doug’s show, change his diet, take a few supplements here and there, and get out and take a walk every day. The dad said that he would, but he never did. In fact, as things digressed, the dad even became angry at his son for pushing him so hard to make changes.
The son told me this story in the middle of an aisle in a health food store. He saw what Doug and I have seen over and over again. That is, a capable person gets a diagnosis but refuses to take any steps to fight it. The story was even more extraordinary in light of the man who told it. Sitting in an electric cart, fighting tooth and nail to walk again and work again.
To summarize what one of those self-help gurus used to say, “Here’s the definition of success: A few good habits repeated every day. Here’s the definition of