I can buy that on Amazon and it can be on my doorstep in two days.
Now I’m not sure I could find some good use for some wolf urine but before you write me off like some kind of weirdo, stay with me for a second.
It’s Tuesday night and I’m sitting in a Harvard Square Starbucks.
I’m surrounded and through some weird osmosis probably inspired by the level of weirdness and hipster that only a place around my great institution could provide.
While wolf urine could be a hipster staple (I won’t judge), it is not the point of my thought experiment.
Rather, it is to illustrate just how much is available to us at the click of a button. Forget ipods, flat screen TVs, and girlfriends, I can buy fucking wolf urine on the line from the biggest on the line retailer.
Anything and everything is available to me at a moment’s notice.
It’s one of the benefits of living in the age of consumerism where we are sold something every minute every day of our lives.
The problem with the age of consumerism is that we are not just sold goods, we are sold ideas too – many of which feed our primitive brain that wants success now.
Need evidence for the short-term wiring of our brains?
Salt, sugar, fat.
Beyond tasting awesome, those are the foods our brains are programmed to seek out and devour because they provide high short-term survival value.
We’re Sold False Ideas
The effects of food are evident in the obesity epidemic and America’s growing waistline but the short-term reach extends past food. Think about the recent best sellers in business and entrepreneurship.
The 4 Hour Work Week and The Lean Startup come to mind. Selling the notion of efficiency is fine but it’s the idea framed within the title that prompts me to reflect – work less, outsource, and build systems so you can sloth around on a beach all day sipping pina coladas.
Will Durant, one of the great thinkers of our time, said, “A nation is born stoic and dies epicurean.”
As a society, we’ve become obsessed with getting more out of doing less.
With the advancement of science and the rise of charlatans like Dave Asprey, bio-hacking is the next logical cultural progression. But should it be able to displace the virtues that breath life into great achievement?
Have we not become exactly what Durant has said would destroy us?
A nation fixated on the fulfillment of pleasure, whose identity has forgotten what it means to be stoic in the face of accomplishing something meaningful – in this instance, maximizing our health.
In the attempt to satisfy our epicurean ethos, we’ve been sold an idea – the wrong one – about health and our body.
From New York Times’ Bestsellers about dropping 17 lbs in 10 days to Dr. Oz promoting raspberry ketones as the next fat loss cure, in the age of consumerism, we’ve been programmed to buy a lie.
Not Exactly War & Peace
Smart marketers have capitalized on the realization that humans are addicted to the dopamine rush that comes with being sold short-term success plans.
We feel good when we go on 10-day juice cleanses or when we type in our credit card information to buy the latest weight loss cure that’s reached the top of the bestseller charts. We see a means to a short-term reward, and we’re all in.
Our default instinct as humans is to run from pain and to pleasure.
Why do we fail in maximizing our health and getting the body you want?
Because we’ve been using a lottery approach to try and be successful.
Every time we try the latest cleanse or buy the book full of skewed science and superfluous claims, we’re taking another spin of the wheel hoping for the right combination of numbers to pop up.
We wake up everyday hoping that we came across the latest secret to solve our health quandary while not having other areas of our lives suffer.
People in our consumer driven society are more likely to buy the new turbo fat burner Starbucks sells alongside their pumpkin spice latte than they are to put in the blood, sweat, and tears necessary to make necessary changes.
We are continually offered the mirage of health at the click of a button and most of us take it every single time.
A New Approach
The age of consumerism isn’t going anywhere and lamenting upon the uphill battle that we encounter on a daily basis in order to achieve our health goals is a tireless exercise that does not need to be further expounded upon.
The cards are stacked against us, now what?
Charlie Munger, self-made billionaire whom Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have called the smartest man alive, said, “To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want? The world is not enough a crazy enough place to reward undeserving people.”
Everyone wants. To want is to be human. We all want the granite abs, Schwarzenegger biceps, and the ability to fit into college skinny jeans for the ladies out there.
But do you deserve it?
To lose 100 lbs, you have to deserve to lose 100 lbs.
If you want a better body, stand naked tomorrow morning in the mirror. What do you see? This isn’t an exercise to lower your self-esteem or to guilt you to take action.
No, be objective. Give yourself an honest assessment.
What you see doesn’t reflect failing to know the ins and outs of carb cycling, the sensationalized demonization of saturated fats, or the knowledge base to perform metabolic resistance training.
There are a million workout programs out there. There are even more diet plans.
They all will work.
Quick aside on the nutrition front, have you attempted to master the basics first?
Have you been limiting processed foods? Keeping the sugar overload and fried food at bay? How often do you exercise and/or train?
This isn’t rocket science. It’s not even about the science. Bad science has gotten tons and tons of people ripped over the years.
Do the Work
There is a caveat of course.
The truth is if you haven’t showed up everyday and put in the work, any work, you haven’t tried yet. You may want to look like the guy on the cover of Men’s Fitness, but you don’t deserve anything yet.
Get off TNation and bodybuilding.com. Get off Show Me Strength. If you’ve visited a fitness site more than half a dozen times, you know more than enough.
Wake up. Fail. Show up again tomorrow, fail. Improvement isn’t linear.
If you’re not failing everyday, you’re not trying.
This isn’t about being efficient. Our whole lives have been hacked with shortcuts; it’s time to take the circuitous route.
The one filled with pain, suffering, and failure. The one that’ll take a lot of blood, sweat, guts, and tears to overcome.
The one that will build a process that’ll feed a lifetime of success.
Pain today or the pain of regret tomorrow. Either way, there is no avoiding pain.
Do all of that and a year from now when you stand bare before yourself, what will you see?
Someone who has earned what they wanted.
P.S. Chad and I wrote a book on overcoming fear. It could change your life. Get your copy here.