Most people find ‘exercise’ too much like hard work and boring, so well meaning fitness regimes quickly pall into an intolerable chore and that freshly bought gym pass soon languishes on the hall table.
Exercise is hard work because the goal is too vague; to enjoy a better quality of life for longer. What the hell does that mean? As an incentive it is too diluted and arbitrary. As hunter gatherers, we exercised as a result of an immediate goal – to catch prey or to to dig for roots. Exercise was a by product of doing something important – feeding yourself.
Today, there is no imperative to catch anything except a train or a bus. Food is immediately available, no need to dig. But our bodies are designed to move. Use it or lose it, as they say. Exercise is imperative for good health. To make exercise bearable and sustainable therefore we need to make the goal more specific and immediate. One way is to make it fun.
When I used to play squash (had to give it up – too hard on the knees), the goal was to outwit your opponent and win the immediate point. On occasions, after a long rally, both me and my opponent, would be exhausted to the point of fainting. The brilliant exercise we were willingly experiencing was a by product of having fun.
In business, lots of people have goals but often they are as vague as ‘getting fit’ (for what?). In their case it is often, getting rich. Not, what is the best widget we can possibly make? or how can we make our customers ecstatic with the service we provide? Is it any wonder then that a lot of the ’service’ we do receive is insolently offered by someone who would rather be somewhere else doing something that they find less boring and wearisome?
So let’s look at religions that promise an afterlife. This promise suffers from the disadvantage that no-one has actually died, visited any sort of afterlife and returned in some form or other to report back that either a) it exists or b) what level of (in)hospitality it offers. Incredibly though, despite this lack of evidence, a lot of people choose to believe in an afterlife.
Similarly, most people who want to be rich have never been rich (rich being a purely relative term of course) so they choose to believe the myth that being rich is some kind of paradise in the duringlife.
Where the two concepts differ however, is that some people have returned from being rich and reported back about its (in)hospitality. Some don’t manage to report back at all, of course, because they have already died through debauchery and substance abuse. Those that do report back invariably say that having huge amounts of money is a problem – how to keep it, what to do with it etc. Some even admit that their problems started when they became rich.
Interestingly, most people (some of whom would find a belief in the afterlife ridiculous) choose to ignore any negative reports like this and cling to the belief that huge amounts of money will somehow make their life better.
This is similar to the vague idea that exercise will somehow make life better, and in some respects it would be true; being rich would allow you to enjoy better health care, for example, but you are still stuck with the question, for what? And if anyone thinks ‘to enjoy yourself‘, they haven’t been listening to a word I’ve written in this blog!