I hate it when people like this are right. A guy named Rob (not me) is also the Business Pundit (so says his blog). ‘Tis a good blog I like to follow.
But I hate it when he’s right about stuff like this post: Why I Gave Up Deserts To Become a Better Entrepreneur:
Plato wrote that “the first and best victory is to conquer the self.” Warren Buffett said something to the effect of “if you have discipline in the small things you will have discipline in the large things.” I’ve read enough about the human brain to know that if certain actions are repeatedly taken, the brain becomes used to them and they become easier. I started to wonder if I could build my overall discipline by practicing more discipline in a small area of my life. I needed something that was difficult, but not in my face every day. I decided to give up deserts. For one year.
I wasn’t cutting out sugar. The definition of a desert was anything sweet that I would eat after lunch or dinner because I was craving it. The goal was to fight the impulse, more than anything else. No ice cream, cakes, cookies, candy, brownies, pies, or anything that would typically be considered a dessert.
But he didn’t necessarily do it for health. He did it for the discipline that would translate into getting things done better.
Eight months have passed, and I’ve had no desserts, and there have really only been 3 or 4 occasions that I seriously struggled and thought I should give up the stupid goal. What are the results? Well, I think the past 8 months have been the single most productive period in my entire life. I still miss deadlines, forget about things, and sometimes get distracted, but not nearly as often as I used to. In other words, I think it is actually working. My ability to buckle down and focus even when I don’t feel like it has increased. In the same way that lifting weights makes a 50 pound box seem lighter the next time you have to carry it, focusing on a somewhat boring task for a few hours seems much easier than it was in the past.
A nice side benefit is that I’ve also felt much better in general. I’ve had more energy, I’ve slept better, and I’ve been sick less than normal. I haven’t seen any negative mental side effects such as decreased creativity, or a diminished capacity to deal with multitasking situations (although I try to avoid these when possible).
When I gave up sugar a couple years ago for health reasons, I, too, lost weight and felt great. I was able to concentrate easier. I wasn’t so easily distracted. Not like I am now.
Oh look! A crazy dog growling at his own leg!
But I have vacation coming up, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. How will I ever make it?
I guess it’ll be one of those things I’ll perpetually start tomorrow.