Monday, July 10, 2006

The Object of My Desire

“Out of need springs desire, and out of desire springs the energy and the will to win.” – Dennis Waitley, motivational author and speaker.

How does one keep desire alive? Couples ask it about romance; dieters, about their new eating habits. That may at first seem like a humorous comparison, and I won’t blame you if you laugh, but I’ve come to see that the desire to change one’s life for the better, in whatever form, is akin, in the beginning, to the spark between two people brought together by whatever mysterious mix of pheromones, similarities, physical attraction, etc. constitutes love or infatuation. Dieting women can be as infatuated by the image of a “perfect” female body as any man. And men, increasingly these days, lust for the perfect male body with sharply-defined muscles and “six-pack” abs. Yet a puzzle remains: If desire fuels the quest for a solution, and so many alleged solutions surround us, shouted from our computer screens to our televisions to our local store’s magazine racks, why are we, as a nation, still so overweight and so under-satisfied?

Clearly, desire must not be so simple a matter.

Now you’re probably thinking, “It isn’t just desire that’s necessary. It’s commitment.” And you’re right. But when our commitment waxes and wanes with our desire, is it simply because we’re lazy, or selfish, or immature?

When trying to answer this question in my own life – why, after so many starts, have I made so many detours, week after week, even with the accountability presented by this blog – I had to take a serious look at what was sabotaging my own aspirations. In the past I’ve been accused more than once of lacking the prized quality of persistence, and I’ve generally accepted that the reason for that is simply laziness and immaturity on my part. It is only in the past few years that I’ve come to recognize more clearly what I, and I believe many others, are up against, and that thing is fear.

In an insightful email I received this week from a friend who’s going through his own personal changes, in the area of spirituality, was this statement: “…as we are called to something new, we must turn away from something else; in other words, we have to give something up.” Many times I’ve neglected to adopt more healthful habits simply because I didn’t want to give up a certain amount of leisure time for exercise, or a food that I love. Almost everyone can relate to that. But how many of us don’t want to adopt healthier habits because of an unhealthy fear, that the good we obtain will be offset by discomfort?

Let me give you an example. Over the years I’ve run across more than one story of a woman who gained weight, even subconsciously, to deflect unwanted male attention. In some cases this was due to a history of sexual abuse; in others, simply a fear of not being able to adequately relate to the opposite sex or to deal with the inherent responsibilities of a romantic relationship. For the former women, a healthy and fit body represented a more sexual body, and sexuality raised an understandable alarm.

In my own life, as I began a study of wealth-building this month, and repeatedly came across the importance of “desire” in the attainment of such, I had to face my own curious fear – that if I succeeded in increasing my income to a level that would provide me with the security I want, I would have to deal with the complications of increased taxes, and I find such matters to be about as comprehensible as the algebra I flunked out of in high school! In another example, I had to admit that one of the things holding me back from working towards my desired weight was the likelihood that even if I reached it, at my age and with my history (both genetic and otherwise), my body would never resemble the models in those ubiquitous fitness ads. There is no cure for cellulite, no such thing as “spot reducing.” So why, went my almost subconscious reasoning, should I really try in the first place? It would only lead to eventual disillusionment.

And I feared that disillusionment.

These fears seem somewhat silly when held up to the spotlight of close scrutiny, yet I suspect that similar feelings lurk in hundreds of thousands the world over…and they’re like a dash of cold water to the hot flame of desire.

How about you? What desires do you have that may have been damped, and how did you fan them into life again – or did you? Since I’m not sure of the answers myself, I would be interested to hear your thoughts. Write me and I’ll include your responses in a future entry.

* * * * *

Let’s lighten things up now with the latest “Tool of the Trade.” This one comes to us courtesy of “Mem-Cards” are, as you probably already guessed, memory cards, similar to children’s flash cards, that contain “impactful ideas and important insights from the world’s best personal and professional development books.” They’re currently available in seven different subjects: Business, Health & Fitness, Religion, Sales & Marketing, Self-Improvement, Spirituality, and Wealth-Building and come in convenient pocket-sized packs that are smaller than a deck of cards. I learned about them through Matt Furey, whom I’ve referenced in earlier entries, when he included two packs in one of his programs that I purchased. Each card in the pack I’m currently using contains an insightful quotation by sources ranging from Mark Twain to three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser. I like to read one before I even start getting ready for work in the morning, then tuck it into my bedroom mirror and meditate on it for that day. On the opposite sides of the cards are exercises from Matt’s various books, complete with a black and white photo of the exercise being performed. I haven’t been as faithful about memorizing the cards as I originally meant to be, but the quotes are so “bite-sized” that anyone should be able to commit a fair amount of them to memory over time, where they can serve as an instant inspiration whenever you need it. For ordering information or to see what various experts have said about these little gems, click on over to and tell them Treader Lucie sent you.

* * * * *

Here in America, we like our hot showers, which, thanks to modern technology, we can enjoy almost any time. Yet health sages over the years have touted the benefits of cold water, and I’m not talking about the drinking kind, either. I’ll be taking a look at this next week in “Shower-Shocking Your Way to Better Health.”

See you then!


Joyce and Wiley said...

Ah...desire. Yes. The age-old question: "What do I really want." For me, dieting success came only when I decided to allow myself at least a taste of whatever I really wanted, so long as I could first identify very specifically what it was I really wanted (usually chocolate). A couple of bites of really good chocolate when I'm craving it keeps me from eating bits of this and that in a search to satisfy an unidentified hunger.

Sometimes when we really sit down and think about what we want, we discover it really is not food, but conversation or something to do. So, in addition to asking "what do I really want," sometimes I like to ask myself "am I really hungry?"

Try it--it works for me! Another great post, Lucie. Keep them coming! And keep us posted how you're doing.

Anonymous said...

Desire? Motivation? If these were enough we’d all be perfect! Neither, guarantees momentum. The magic key? Just do it. Whatever your desire, the leap from motivation to reality requires an act of will we as humans find so hard to put into gear. We hate the organized discipline part—the part that gives us little wiggle room for escape! We go on a diet every Monday—in our head—with nobody keeping score but us. The day we finally decide we really want some action is when we have a plan, put it on paper, make everybody in the house sign it and put it on the fridge. Highlight in bold “no junk comes into this house!” We write a plan built for success—meaning we are realistic about what is doable and built for the long haul. We give ourselves a “free” day once a week We plan our workouts so we DON’T go too far with the reps and hurt ourselves so we have to stop. We create a voice in our heads called the coach—who tells us to stop whining and do it, do it, just do it. Stop thinking, stop obsessing, stop stoking the fire with one hand and putting it out with the other. Just do it!

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