There are many areas of our life that are served by gratifying our desires. I know people who are driven by their desire to be gratified. They consider it to be their right to be gratified whenever they have a desire to satisfy. This need may be expressed as eating their favorite foods, partying with their peers, and other kinds of practices and relationships. Successful people know how and when to engage in the ‘extravagances’ of gratification and when they can’t afford to indulge. Calling a desire a need is self-delusion. You reduce your control of yourself and yield to your psychological and biological self. Your intellectual self should always be in control. Of course, hungry people need food, but it is in the area of appetite that people routinely fail.
I can hear those who say, “Aw, c’mon. Bob – loosen up. People are not robots, you know.” This book is not about indulging, but about overcoming. People are foolish if they put their appetites ahead of success or survival. If you believe that it is your ‘right’ to indulge, it also becomes your ‘right’ to fail.
I am highly involved with people who are desperately fighting for their lives as they battle cancer. I offer information that often delivers even ‘terminal’ patients from the most aggressive cancers. I routinely see patients fail when they do not have the strength to manage their appetites. Their successful treatment options often require very strict limitations as to what they can eat. Sometimes they must deny their strong desire for their favorite foods for weeks and months at a time, and sometimes for the rest of their life.
Failure is also a very realistic outcome for those who are not able to manage other kinds of appetites as they struggle to achieve success. A person is as strong as they decide to be. A habitual weakness is very difficult to overcome but the sweet flavor of success makes it all worthwhile. You will gain new confidence, more authority over your circumstances, and a much greater self-esteem when you prove to yourself that you are in control and no longer a victim of your bad attitudes and habits. Why is it that some people are trapped into alcoholism and tobacco use and others are able to quit – ‘cold turkey’? I know people on both sides of this kind problem. I believe that those who ‘cant’ quit are more controlled by their feelings than they are by their head. People are marvelously different, aren’t they?
I have a High school friend who operated a business but he spent much of his time riding horses. He lost his business. It was a very profitable business but he just didn’t pay enough attention to it.
Daan lives in South Africa. 11 years ago he wrote to me asking for help as he had an advanced cancer and his doctor had given him 2 months to live. I was able to lead him through dietary changes to a complete recovery in just 2 months. A year and a half later he wrote to me again. His cancer was back.
He said that he had gotten off of his maintenance diet and had gone back to his favorite foods. He asked me what he should do. I told him that he knew what to do – get back on his recovery eating plan. Two months later he wrote to say that he was again cancer free. I hear from him now and then. He is doing well and he is still cancer free. The ‘moral’ of the story is that you cannot afford to relax control of your desire for gratification.
Another life wasting passion is over-involvement in sports. Some people live for sports. I remember those who cheated their employers by pretending to be working as they listened to the ‘World Series’ on their radios. This is a gratification that is a very real and expensive deterrent to success. Maybe you think that I am too harsh. Maybe you say “Baseball is our national pastime.” Maybe you are addicted and it is such a common waste that you think that it is normal, proper and good. It is certainly natural for people to do these things. It is also normal and natural for people to not achieve their potential. If you add up all the hours that some people spend in pursuing sports, do you think that this would be enough time to get a degree in correspondence course? I am not suggesting that recreation is bad. I am saying that excessive indulgence can cost you more that you would want to pay if you were aware.
This concept extends to social relationships and activities. It may be that you can’t afford your peers because they lead you into expensive gratification practices. This is very difficult to do if your identity is linked to your peer group. In such a case, you should carefully understand the destructive nature of these relationships and take careful and active steps to establish a new social atmosphere. Find peers who support your values and ambitions. They will encourage you to be a better and more successful person. I heard a report just 2 days ago saying that if most of your friends were overweight, you were likely to be overweight too.
You will not likely find much support and you will likely find much ridicule if you express the need for change your relationships. This is a judgment against your peers. You may lose some of your ‘friends’. You must be prepared to establish new life rules as you seek more supporting relationships. This can be the most difficult and the most rewarding challenge that you face in your lifetime.