in sports linked to success in business
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Richard Branson, and Lee Iacocca
can teach you about building a leaner, stronger, healthier
The year is 1965.
a frosty morning along the old Czechoslovakian
Border, just after five am. Two young Austrian
soldiers are exercising in the trenches, the steam
from their bodies rising into the icy cold air.
Both are exhausted from a 15-hour working day.
Yet somehow, they are still able to find the time
and energy to wake up before their colleagues
and train with weights before they start another
physically demanding day of maneuvers.
you imagine any more difficult circumstances in
which to exercise?
these obstacles, Arnold Schwarzenegger describes
his time in the Austrian army as a period when
he made much of his best early progress. What
was it about Arnold that gave him such a passion
for exercise? How was he able to achieve so much
success, not just in bodybuilding, but as a businessman,
actor and (maybe) a politician?
Examine the traits of any successful person, and
you'll notice they all share certain qualities.
Characteristics such as commitment, courage, honesty,
discipline and energy figure highly in the success
stories of people like Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Richard Branson and Lee Iacocca. These characteristics,
known as values, are a key driving force in human
behavior. Simply becoming aware of your values
and how they influence your behaviour is a vital
step towards a leaner, stronger, healthier body.
doesn't matter if you've got the most effective
nutrition and training program in the world. Without
enough "mental" training, your efforts
are guaranteed to end in frustration. The truth
is, people who succeed in changing the way they
look and feel are able to do so because they place
a higher value on changing than people who fail.
But more about that later.
can I ask you a question?
you know that 5 out of every 10 people starting
an exercise program give up after six months ?
point to a lack of time as the main reason for
their inability to maintain a regular exercise
routine. Yet studies show that regular exercisers
encounter the same barriers -- lack of time, laziness
and work commitments -- as those who give up .
The difference is that people making a commitment
to exercise realise they will never find the time
for anything. They have to make it. Their values
literally pull them in the direction of their
are values, and why are they important?
Before I go on, let me explain what I mean by
the term value.
value is an emotional state or feeling you want
to experience on a regular basis. When you value
something, it means you place a great deal of
importance on it. Simply put, values are a set
of personal standards.
example, one of your highest values might be honesty.
If, for any reason, you weren't honest with someone
(including yourself), you would feel a certain
degree of emotional pain. Any time we violate
our own set of standards, we experience pain.
about it. Haven't you felt even a small amount
of emotional "discomfort" when you've
promised to go to the gym, and then didn't bother?
values and mean values
In essence, there are two different kinds of values
-- core values and means values. Core values are
the feelings you and I want to experience on a
regular basis. Examples of these are happiness,
confidence, achievement, discipline or integrity.
A means value is just a way to trigger a core
example, you might decide that money is the most
important value in your life. But money is not
a core value, it's only a means to an end; a way
to trigger a series of emotional states that make
you feel good. Money might be important because
it gives you feelings of security, confidence
or freedom -- it's not the end in itself.
values continually influence the way you think,
feel, and most importantly, the way you behave.
They affect every decision you've ever made, and
every decision you will ever make -- they're even
influencing your decision right now to continue
reading! Despite the power our values have, the
scary part is that most of us don't even know
what they are! I'll tell you exactly how to discover
what your values are in just a moment.
here's something you probably didn't know.
certain populations in the United States, almost
50% of women are clinically obese . Obesity
and its related complications contribute 8% of
all illness costs (around $60 billion a year)
. Scientists are becoming increasingly concerned
about this obesity epidemic spreading throughout
the world. And there's no sign that things are
getting any better.
Britain, the prevalence of serious obesity doubled
in the decade between 1980 and 1991 . Attempting
to determine why everyone has gained so much weight
over recent decades, scientists have argued whether
obesity is down to overeating or a lack of physical
activity . However, the "gluttony or sloth"
debate misses the point. Obesity is a symptom
of a problem -- it's not the problem itself. Rather,
the problem lies in the values people consider
play a key role in shaping your nutrition and
If you could take a peek at the personal standards
of anyone who is overweight, you would find values
such as comfort, relaxation or security high on
the list. Conversely, people who lose weight and
keep it off permanently are more likely to value
health, energy and vitality. These radical differences
in values explain why different people act in
different ways. More important, they also help
to explain why we can experience internal conflicts.
example, you might identify comfort as one of
your highest values. And let's face it, we all
enjoy feeling comfortable from time to time! But
if you place an equally high value on the emotional
state of discipline, it's easy to understand how
these values can pull you in opposite directions.
me explain what I mean.
sitting in your favorite armchair -- feeling relaxed
and comfortable. Problem is, you're supposed to
be at the gym. Exercising would allow you to meet
your need to feel disciplined, but you also want
to feel the emotional state of comfort. The result?
You spend the rest of the evening agonizing over
what to do, and end up feeling uncomfortable and
undisciplined! Do you see how values that are
out of alignment can create these kind of internal
in values aren't just internal. In his book, The
Education of a Bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger
describes how an external conflict in values led
to the breakdown of one of his early relationships,
a conflict grew up in our relationship. Basically
it came down to this: she was a well balanced
woman who wanted an ordinary, solid life, and
I was not a well-balanced man and hated the very
idea of ordinary life
for me, life is continuously
being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply
to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go
up, to achieve, to conquer."
Arnold, the values of achievement and success
were far more important than living an ordinary
life. When you look back over Arnold's career
so far, you can see how those values have driven
him to succeed in so many different fields.
decisions are led by your values
Remember, your values control the way you make
decisions. They act like powerful magnets, attracting
you in the direction of a certain course of action.
The problem is, most of us never consciously decide
what our values are! Rather, they become established
over the course of a lifetime in response to behaviors
we were either punished or rewarded for.
as a child, you were constantly rewarded for being
honest, it's likely that you place a high value
on the emotional states of honesty and integrity.
As a result, honesty is probably high on your
list of values. On the other hand, if you've had
experiences where you felt like your honesty was
punished, then it's probably a value you don't
place a great deal of importance on.
course, this is not meant to imply that you and
I are simply the result of what we were punished
or rewarded for. The most important part in shaping
our character is not what happens to us, but how
we respond to what happens. But we do need to
accept there are a large number of environmental
factors that can influence our behavior. If you're
not aware of what these factors are and how they
affect you, then it's easy to feel like your life
is out of control without really understanding
all use general words to describe values -- commitment,
honesty, or happiness. These words will mean different
things to different people. Simply becoming clear
on what your values are can give you a valuable
insight into why you behave in a certain way.
more important, if you want to make any kind of
change in your life -- whether it's losing 60lb
of fat, building 20lb of muscle, or knocking six
minutes off your next race time -- it's vital
to understand the specific criteria attached to
each value. In other words, you need to know which
behaviors lead to which values. These are known
are rules, and why are they important?
Rules are a series of criteria attached to a value.
Rules describe the behaviors you need to demonstrate
in order to experience any emotional state. In
short, your rules let you know what you need to
do in order to feel a certain way. For instance,
if I were to ask if you were committed to an exercise
program, your answer would be based upon the rules
you have for commitment.
find out what those rules are, I'd ask, "What
has to happen for you to feel committed?"
You might reply with, "I'm committed because
I work out every day." For somebody else,
commitment might involve working out three days
each week. The point here is that everybody's
rules are different. Needless to say, problems
can arise when we have rules that are extremely
difficult to meet.
truth is, few of us have consciously decided what
our rules are. As a result, many people find it
difficult to consistently experience the emotional
states they consider important. Your rules for
feeling successful might be that you must exercise
seven days each week, you must eat less than forty
grams of fat per day, you must have less than
eight percent body fat, and you must always begin
your workout at precisely seven am. Let's face
it -- the chances of meeting those rules on a
consistent basis are pretty limited.
of these "impossible" rules, you rarely
get to feel successful on a regular basis. For
example, I recently received a phone call from
a friend who was calling me to complain about
her "slow" rate of weight loss. "I
trained six days last week" she complained,
"and I only lost a pound and a half".
I explained that losing a pound and a half in
a week -- especially when you've been dieting
for some time -- is pretty good. Yet my friend
still wasn't satisfied with her weight loss.
you should ignore the scales
It wasn't until later in the conversation I learned
that her "rule" for feeling satisfied
with her rate of weight loss was to lose two pounds
in weight. Because this rule hadn't been met,
she was feeling frustrated.
the problem -- whenever your rules are outside
your control, you are delegating responsibility
for how you feel to someone or something else.
Sure, you could argue that your rate of weight
loss is under your control. But there are so many
external factors affecting your weight, such as
changes in fluid levels, carbohydrate intake --
even the accuracy of the scales. If your rules
for success depend on what the scales say, you're
setting yourself up to fail.
than focus on the outcome, focus on the process.
Instead of thinking about the amount of weight
you want to lose, focus on what you need to do
to lose the weight. Set up the rules of the game
so you can win. Here's an example of some rules
that might be a little more appropriate...
feel satisfied with my progress when I eat a serving
of carbohydrate and protein at each meal, exercise
five times each week, and drink at least two liters
of water each day."
that you stick to these rules (even if you lose
only one pound in weight) you have still done
everything you set out to do -- you have every
right to feel satisfied. That's not to say you
should lower your standards.
if you keep beating yourself up mentally, even
though you've been doing the things you planned
to do, the chances are you're not going to stick
with your nutrition and training program very
long. Instead, treat every experience as feedback
rather than failure -- an opportunity to learn
from what you've done, change your approach, and
are rules formed?
Your rules were formed in much the same way as
your values; in response to a system of punishment
and reward. When your brain decided on the "right"
rules and values, it was the right thing to do
at the time. We all make the best decisions we
can, given the information and resources available.
However, what may have been appropriate in the
past might not be so useful in your present circumstances.
you built a raft in order to cross a river, would
you then carry that raft with you everywhere you
went? Sure, some rules can serve a valuable purpose
at certain times in your life. Once their purpose
has been met, it's easy to carry them with us,
even though they no longer meet the needs of the
the key -- your values and rules are at the heart
of how you think and feel each moment you're alive.
Simply becoming aware of what they are makes it
far more likely that you will make a success of
your nutrition and training program.
what to do...
Firstly, establish what your current values are.
Ask yourself the question, "What is important
to me about life?" I know -- that sounds
like a really "heavy" question. But
go ahead and answer it anyway. Write down all
of the thoughts that come to mind on a piece of
paper. Don't judge or edit. Just write it all
you are looking for core values rather than means
values. Core values will be things like satisfaction,
self respect, achievement, courage or discipline.
Aim for a list of five words that represent your
most important core values. Go on...do it now.
Now you can begin to list your values in order
of importance. If you had to remove one of these
values, which one would it be? Underline that
word, and write the number five next to it. Repeat
the process for each word until you are left with
your single most important value.
should end up with a list of five values, each
with a number next to it. Your completed list
is known as a values hierarchy. Once you see what
your values are, it becomes a lot easier to understand
why you act in the way you do.
Now here's where things get really exciting! To
really accelerate your progress, simply ask yourself,
"What do my values need to be in order to
achieve the goals I've set for myself?" What
sort of emotional states will you need to experience
on a regular basis? Once you've decided on these
values, the next step is to rank them in order
of importance. In order to build the body you
want, what is the most important value you will
need to live by? What is the highest personal
standard you will need to make a commitment to?
Happiness? Discipline? Health? Remember that you
are in control. You're making the choices. You
have the freedom to arrange your values any way
Once you have your new values hierarchy, the next
step is to decide on the rules; the specific set
of behaviors and actions you will need to demonstrate
in order to meet a certain value. Once again,
remember that you are in control; you're making
the decisions. You might decide that the only
rule you need to feel happy is that you have to
get out of the bed in the morning! You have the
freedom to choose.
Robbins, in his best-selling book, Awaken the
Giant Within, lists three questions to ask yourself
when you're setting your rules.
it impossible to meet? If your rules are too complex
or excessively strict, the chances are slim that
you will meet them on a consistent basis.
it in your control? Rules must be in your control.
If you delegate control of your emotional state
to someone or something outside your control,
then you are setting yourself up for failure.
For example, one of your rules for achievement
might be that you need other people to approve
of what you do. Unfortunately, a rule of this
type is totally out of your control. Instead,
you might decide that your new rule for achievement
is to simply improve on what you have done before.
your rules give you lots of ways to feel good,
and only a few ways to feel bad? Make sure your
rules make it easy to feel good, and difficult
to feel bad.
good friend of mine used to have a real problem
feeling any real sense of satisfaction. In order
to feel satisfied with anything he had done, it
had to be "the best". He was constantly
looking for the "best" way to train,
and wasted months trying every new training or
nutrition program that came along.
he never stayed with one program long enough to
make progress, he was never in the kind of shape
his efforts deserved. However, once he changed
the emphasis of this rule from "best"
to "better", he was able to get the
results he wanted AND feel satisfied on a far
more consistent basis. As long as what he was
doing was better than it was before, it didn't
matter that things weren't perfect.
the end of this process, your goal is to have
a values hierarchy and a list of criteria for
each value. For example, you might decide that
courage is a value you'll need to create the kind
of body you want. Your set of rules could look
something like this
feel courage whenever
take action to achieve my goals
make a decision in harmony with my own standards
feel anxious about an event or situation, but
take action regardless
you have this new set of values and rules, make
a commitment to living them on a daily basis.
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Schwarzenegger: King of bodybuilding, movies, politics
and media, by Greg Tingle