Everyone wants exponential growth. Everyone loves to imagine waking up one day with a fitness model figure or crores of rupees in their bank account. Anyone would love to become famous overnight!
Ok, if not overnight, how about getting there in a year or two? Or 5? What does it take?
What is the biggest reason people do not grow like that?
The reason we cannot grow exponentially is because we are not willing to change. We think in certain ways. Most of these thought patterns are under the surface, which has become old habits and we never question them.
I recently met a celebrity weight loss coach. She is a radiologist who left her profession to start a weight loss coaching business instead. She works with a super-rich, mostly women clientele who spend really big amounts on weight-loss. They come to her usually by referrals. She has quite a name and following!
So I asked her, it must be about working out regularly and eating in moderation, right? Is that what you teach your clients to do?
Not at all, she said. Even if you manage to diet for 6 months and manage to lose all the fat, it is likely that you will put it all back eventually in the next 3 months. What’s the use in that? My coaching goes deeper, she said.
People who fundamentally do not want to exercise may go to the gym for 3 months or 6 months to look better for a certain occasion or when they are under the influence of a certain emotion, but they soon stop going to the gym after they begin to see some results. And they go back to being who they used to be. Fat, unhealthy, uncomfortable.
There are others who go to the other extreme: develop strange psychological conditioning that cause them to stop eating, develop anorexia, fall sick.
So what is the solution?
She told me the only way to succeed, that is to lose weight, stay slim and healthy, is to change the thoughts, feelings and emotions you have about food.
You have to change your relationship with food and exercise, she said.
Have you ever met people who just hate walking? For them having to walk a km or two is terrible distress. It is not physical distress, but a mental, psychological block. They may feel the same thing about doing any work that requires physical effort.
Some people associate physical effort with discomfort, sweat, dirtiness and low-status labourers.
Would you be surprised if they spend all their time being physically inactive and become obese therefore?
Anyone who overeats, does so because they associate luxury, satisfaction, fulfillment or emotional well being with food.
The people in your life may mistreat you, but the ice cream melts in your mouth all the same. The butter chicken feels like a luxury. A buffet is tremendous enjoyment, freedom to eat whatever you want, however much you want, the feeling of abundance.
We associate many emotions with food and eating. The coach’s job is to teach the coachee to disassociate those emotions from the act of eating! That’s what makes her a celebrity coach.
I was elated. What a learning!
Some people associate drinking high end alcohol and cigars with success, eliteness and opulence.
That makes them more likely to become alcoholics.
There are other people who associate alcohol with failure, poverty and squalour. I have met such people! You just cannot make them drink even a sip of alcohol.
When there are powerful contexts in your head that have developed over the years and have been reinforced over time, it is impossible to develop good habits just because you know what is good, and stop bad habits just because you know that they are bad.
You are not even in charge, Something else is running your life. Something much more deeper than your good intention is at play here.
It is who you are, how you see yourself and what feelings you have developed since your childhood about things.
In my head, I associate cigarettes with mental stimulation. It is not easy to break that connection. I find it hard to stay off cigarettes for too many days.
There was a time when stress triggered me to smoke. But that I have been able to diffuse.
Now I smoke far less. I have further work to do to demolish the remaining psychological connection between the need for mental stimulation and smoking. And I know then I can completely stop.
So the doctor who is a celebrity weight loss coach basically told me that the only way to lose weight permanently and stay fit is to work on the psychological structures in our head that make us eat too much food that we do not actually need, or prevents us from being active, or undergoing the discomfort of working out. I asked her if this may work on my smoking habit which I am trying to kick from a long time. She said it certainly would!
People who love working out do not stop working out. Those who work out in order to lose a few kgs stop very soon. They find it hard to go to the gym, they find it hard to do the exercise on their own at home, and they find it very hard to go for a run even though friends, colleagues and doctors may insist that they need to do something soon to avoid serious lifestyle diseases.
What can we learn from this about exponential growth in life?
There is a certain level of success that we earn based on the qualities that we have developed already, habits we cultivate and actions that we manage to take. However, to get to the next level, we need to do something else.
We need to be willing to change.
It is not being willing to change if you just say that from tomorrow I will work out for 1 hour a day. That is just an empty promise that people make to make themselves feel good. They also do it for a few days at times. But real success requires a fundamental change to who you are.
It requires you to value being fit over morning sleep, maybe. Maybe it requires you transforming from a carefree person into a very organized person. Maybe it requires you to shift your spending priorities – maybe instead of buying a new phone for 50k you invest that money into hiring good trainers, dieticians and coaches who guide you and hold you accountable!
We all have deep seated beliefs and thought patterns that stop us from going to the next level. For example, what would you value more: owning a BMW v. hiring a personal assistant?
If you value status and want to show off, getting a BMW may make more sense, and the EMI probably be around INR 25,000 – 30,000. If you are more interested in productivity, saving time and doing better at your work, it may be far better and life changing to hire an awesome secretary or an assistant.
Let’s say writing a book on your area of expertise can really enhance your brand. It can catapult you into a league of top lawyers and get you new kind of clients. What stops you from writing that book?
I know what you would say, you don’t have the time.
Perhaps, it requires you to shift your mindset. How about hiring one or two research interns, pay them well to do the research for you? Will you hire a good editor who will make sure your book is fantastic? Will you go to a book agent and pay him or her to find you a great publisher?
There was a time when I could not imagine it, because I could not think of paying 30,000 per month to a good full time research assistant. So much money!
Now I will not hesitate at all to spend on the right person, especially if that means I can have a great book published and get dozens of new and well paying clients as a result of that! My gains will be in lakhs and eventually crores, why should I hesitate to pay a few thousands?
It is the mindset that makes all the difference. Can you see the long term benefits? Or do you focus too much on the short term costs and discomfort?
Do you associate emotions, feelings and sentiments with things that stop you from growing?
My mother could have made more money if instead of cooking for us she spent the time doing a side business, or even giving tuitions. She would not! Of course, she had a day job, but she got home by 12 noon. The rest of the day she was at home. She was mildly jealous of some of her colleagues who had thriving tuition classes in our area. Sometimes she thought of doing various other businesses. But perhaps she valued cooking for us much more, and to an extent did not want the trouble of figuring out how to earn on the side, though she complained frequently about how she wished we had more money!
Her emotions, feelings and thoughts about dealing with strangers, fear of failure in business, looking after her children and being a good mother meant she had no space to do business or get rich though she fantasized about it.
What could make her dreams of getting rich come true?
She had to change herself. She had to change her feelings and emotions about a lot of things. It is terribly hard and it almost never happens.
As I grew up watching her stuck in a catch22, I decided that I will never let this happen to me. I decided that I will always prioritize my goals, go after what I value, and be ready to change myself whenever I have to, because without changing myself, there would be no growth.
For me to be super fit, as is my agenda this year, the lazy Ramanuj who does not want to wake up in the morning has to die. The cheapskate Ramanuj who does not want to pay someone to come home and force him to work out or does not spend on good equipment has to die. The Ramanuj who cannot hold onto a resolution for more than a week has to die too. The Ramanuj who loves biriyani and drops all diet plans when presented with a plate of steaming Calcutta biriyani has to die as well.
And then we can have a Ramanuj who has a very fit body he can be proud of. Then I will get a Ramanuj who needs to buy new clothes because his old clothes don’t fit him anymore.
What about you?
What is stopping you from getting the exponential growth you want?
What are the mindsets you need to shift?
Reply in the comment section and let me know.