In my post The Success Diet, I left off with,
“It is the ‘… feels good, it is right here, and I just did it’ default mode of operation, and the default is usually going to land you somewhere other than where you want to be.
Earlier in the post, in reference to junk food, I mentioned that “It tastes good, it is right here, and I just ate it” is our default operating mode.
I really like this entire analogy comparing success principles to eating, so I’m going to riff on this a bit more.
Healthy eating habits require thought and conscious effort in our society. I remember distinctly that when I was a child I’d think, “When I grow up, I’m going to eat all the Snicker bars I want!” I had a thing for Snickers. Well, sure enough, I’d buy Snickers by the box and I was delighted when they made Snickers Ice Cream bars. Same went for Hershey chocolate bars. Breakfast might be huge bowls of Frosted Flakes or Cocoa Krispies. Don’t get me wrong, I’d balance everything out with healthy portions of Steak, Pasta, and Pizza. I loved my vegetables, too, especially things like Broccoli with cheese sauce, or Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, not to mention Garlic Spinach with Bacon. I pretty much inhaled bread. I love bread.
I think the reason I didn’t just explode is because I’d ride my bicycle 4 or 6 thousand miles per year. I stopped doing that after a school bus full of kids ran over my bike. The only reason it didn’t run over me was because I jumped off. After getting hit by cars five times, the school bus finally made an impression, so I got off the streets. Then I got fat!
I eventually learned to eat. I’m going to write a book about that (but not today). It’s not particularly hard, but it’s not the easiest thing to do, either. You need to think, you need to plan, and you generally need to expend a little effort. The reason why is because the food industry knows that by default we will often take the most convenient option. We will eat out instead of in. Microwave our frozen veggies instead of steaming fresh ones. We will prefer a pizza over preparing a balanced protein and vegetable meal. We’ll eat bad frozen pizza over making a fresh pizza, and often prefer a truly bad microwave pizza over one we need to cook in the oven.
If you have a normal metabolism and eat using your Default Operating Mode, you are going to have a weight problem, and eventually a health problem. If you like the idea of being healthy, which includes a healthy weight, you will need to do something other than selecting food based on convenience and taste alone. There are just too many convenient foods that taste wonderful that are terribly unhealthy.
Default Operating Mode applies to your entire life, not just to your eating habits. Instead of “When I grow up, I’m going to eat all the Snicker bars I want!”, maybe it is “When I grow up, I’m going to watch all the TV I want!” You can fill in the blanks; staying up late, partying, watching football, or whatever it is that makes you feel good at the time.
Like eating to be healthy, living to be successful (in other words, Living to Be Happy) requires that you think, plan, and expend a little effort. Taking the defaults will lead you somewhere you don’t want to go.
You need to think about what you really want in life, and you need to keep those thoughts in the forefront of your consciousness. It’s too easy to get caught up in email, work, chores, and then read the news, play a game, watch a game or TV show, or whatever happens to be right in front of you. That’s all well and good in the moment, but it may not be getting you where you want to be.
Success Principles in general are techniques that accomplish exactly that. Then, when you have these convenient distractions, you remain focused on the ultimate goal, which is to get where you want to be in this Universe.
Using my favorite analogy (road trip!), if you are driving cross country somewhere, and you have place to be and a time to be there, you are going to pass up all (or at least most) of the interesting roadside attractions. If you are simply just driving and stop to check out every interesting little thing on the way, you may get there a whole lot later or even not get there at all.