We all have hopes, dreams, and desires. Everybody has some kind of idea of a better life just waiting around the corner for them. All they need to do is (fill in the blank) and they will be at least a little bit happier than they were before.
The problem sometimes is it’s tough to pinpoint that ONE area of life to focus our efforts. It can seem like there are so many areas in which we are lacking. As men, maybe you really want to get better with women so you can be more sexually fulfilled. Maybe you want to start your own business so you can have more freedom. Maybe you are not happy with how your body looks. You can probably identify with all those things, and sometimes just picking one is harder than it seems.
The simple fact is, it’s difficult to not get sidetracked. How many times have you started a new “diet” to lose weight, or joined a gym to get back into shape, only to lose steam after a few weeks? Life gets in the way. Shit happens. Something else comes up that’s more important. Or maybe it just gets really hard to stay motivated because the results seem not worth the effort.
In today’s world, we have grown used to shifting our attention and focus from one thing to the next in very short order. Social media, mainstream media, and millions of advertisements for the next “new thing” guaranteed to make your life better than you ever thought possible have us constantly shifting gears. Combine that with the time demands of your work, family, and social interests, and it all adds up to feeling like you simply do not have the time to put towards your goals.
Multi-tasking has become the standard MO for western society. Hell, it’s grown to be accepted as a VERY POSITIVE attribute for one to have. Ability to multi-task well is as important to the modern job seeker as having basic computer skills.
Ironically, one of the true keys to success is the complete opposite. The ability to FOCUS. The truth is, the human brain is NOT wired to multi-task. It is very good at identifying a problem and formulating a solution. All that’s left after that is to ACTUALLY TAKE ACTION to overcome the issue. This is the part that most of us fail miserably at.
There is a golden rule when it comes to getting results. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called the 80/20 rule. It goes like this:
80% of your results come from 20% of your effort
Let’s look at this in the context of physique for a better understanding. We start out looking like this.
But we dream of looking like this.
So, here’s what most of us do when we decide we’re gonna lose weight. We spend hours and hours “researching” the best new “get ripped abs diet.” We join a gym and probably buy some protein powder because, you know, that’s what the ripped guys in the magazines use to make them ripped. IF you even get out of the “research” stage and actually start the diet and exercise program, you are all in. Full force. 1000 miles per hour.
You’re counting calories, measuring portions, doing HIIT cardio, and doing a bodybuilding.com weight workout that takes you an hour and 45 minutes to complete 4 or 5 days per week. You spend hundreds of dollars on “health food” and supplements. You’ve got this bro.
But after a week, you crash. You look at the scale and it’s only moved maybe a few lbs. You definitely don’t look any better, but you feel a million times WORSE. You’re exhausted. You’re HUNGRY. The thought of eating another salad literally makes you want to puke. ALL you can think about is food and the feelings of how shitty of a person you must be because you lack the “willpower” to stick with it. Your life is now consumed with this, and lets face it, you have other shit you enjoy, so you end up binge eating ice cream and potato chips in front of an all day Walking Dead marathon.
I would define this approach as the 100/0 rule. You put in 100% of effort and obtain zero results because the effort is literally unsustainable, or simply NOT WORTH the tiny bit of results you see. This is a no brainer guys.
ANY time the investment isn’t worth the profit, you will NOT continue to invest.
Pro tip: The guys with abs have spent years in the 80% of effort for the 20% of results category, OR they are NATURALLY skinny guys who use steroids to pack on muscle, OR both. These cats very seldom live a life of balance, and it could be argued that doing what has to be done to get into “fitness model” shape can even be UNHEALTHY. Naturally, most dudes are either big (higher than average muscle mass with a little excess body fat as well) or skinny (lean and chiseled without much body fat but not much muscle mass either)
Pro tip #2: You don’t have to be fitness model lean to be REALLY attractive to most women. You just have to look good in clothes. AND you can get there with 20% of the effort that it would take to get six pack ripped.
I’m DEFINITELY not saying if you TRULY desire 6 pack abs, it isn’t worth it, or don’t bust your ass to get them. I’m simply saying the 80/20 rule is “good enough” for most things we desire to change in our lives. BUT, you will NEVER get any results if you keep changing your goal, or trying to “work on” several things all at the same time.
You will hit your goals MUCH quicker, if you apply focused effort in ONE area until you are satisfied with the results. Then you move on to the next goal.
Now, here’s what focused effort on one goal applied consistently over one year looks like in real life. And I’m going to be 100% honest with you guys. There were times I let the focus slide. There were times I got off track. I went sometimes a full week or more of eating “normal.” I missed workouts here and there. Sometimes I even let my social life get in the way of my progress (gasp). All that to say, I could have been MORE focused than I was. I could have achieved the results in LESS time than what they took.
Now, am I “ripped”? HA! not even close! But how does the outside world view me? Well, I get LOTS of compliments on my physique. I frequently get asked if I take steroids. People KNOW I work out even though I don’t talk about it much outside of my social circle. The simple fact is that most people “see” me as MUCH closer to the fitness model picture than the fat dude eating the cheeseburger. The only ones that see it the other way are actual fitness models. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.
As for the 80/20 rule. I followed only THREE principles to make the changes to my body that I have.
- I ate low carb
- I did 20 minutes of fasted cardio 3-5 days per week
- I lifted weights for 1 hour 3 days per week using a program that was designed around progressive overload.
I was rarely hungry at all, and I didn’t “kill myself” at the gym either. Make no mistake, I did work hard. I did put in ACTUAL EFFORT. And making the small changes in routine/lifestyle were a bit challenging at times, but it’s all way simpler and probably MUCH easier than the last program you tried and failed to get results with.
Yes, I’ve used fat loss as an example, but the principle can be applied to any goal you have to improve your life. Let me explain it like this. Do you think I didn’t desire to become better with women, or be getting laid more than I was during the year it took me to lose the gut? Of course I did. How do you think I would have done with picking up chicks before the weight loss? How do you think I would have done with the weight loss if I kept shifting my focus to picking up women?
We humans have only so much time in a day. IF I would have spent that time “working on pickup,” instead of focusing on my weight loss, chances are I would have achieved sub-par results with BOTH. There’s a very high likelihood I would have been disappointed with the results, and very quickly the “investment” would have become too much for the profit. I’d probably be sitting on the couch eating Cheetos and jerking off to porn, instead of writing this article on the POWER of ONE goal, and living a much more fulfilling life.
Multi-tasking is bullshit. It’s a time suck and an excuse to NOT focus. It’s a cop out for why you’re not achieving your goals. So, pick one goal, and get the fuck after it until YOU are satisfied it’s “good enough.
Until next time, here’s to being THE man.