The most dangerous word in the world...

Hopefully that’s a good enough hook to get you reading. I’m back with another blog and this time I’m going to talk about the most dangerous word in the world. Before I tell you what I believe is the most dangerous word in the world, why don’t you have a guess, see if you come up with the same answer as I did. …I’ll wait while you think…

What did you come up with? If you answered things like terrorism, war, hate, Collingwood, Justin Beiber, fear, extinction, global warming or apocalypse – well, you’re barking up the wrong tree, although I can see an argument for Justin Beiber. For my money, the most dangerous word in the world, as it relates to any person or situation, is: TOMORROW.

I attended a talk once where someone put this idea in my head, so I can’t claim full credit, but the more I think about it, and I’ve thought about it for years, the more I can’t find any fault in the logic. A lot of you may initially disagree with me that tomorrow is a dangerous word. After all, it’s got a lot of positive connotations, “Tomorrow, tomorrow…I love ya, tomorrow”. It’s full of hope and promise and anticipation and after all, “tomorrow is only a day away”. But that is where it becomes a problem. Tomorrow is ALWAYS a day away. Nobody in the history of the universe has ever done something tomorrow. Everybody in the history of the universe has told someone they are going to do something tomorrow. You should probably start to see where I am going with this now. Tomorrow isn’t really all that full of promise, it’s actually more like fools gold. Tomorrow is an excuse to do nothing today. Tomorrow is the ultimate enabler. How easy is it to put all your goals and hopes and dreams into the soft reassuring embrace of tomorrow and continue in the same pattern, today, as you always have? Tomorrow is a smiling assassin. It will look at you, flash its pearly whites and without offering any resistance at all, you will surrender your drive and determination to get things done to the promise of tomorrow. It will seem like a harmless transaction and leave you feeling good about all the things you’re going to get done. Tomorrow is the house though, and the house always wins. It is not a harmless transaction, every time you surrender to tomorrow, you build a stronger barrier to progress and you waste time. Tomorrow is a parasite, it cannot sustain itself on anything tangible, and so it has to feed on your willpower to survive. Of course you wouldn’t knowingly let it do this, so it has to seduce you by making you believe in all the wonders and promise that it holds, it has to make you believe that it is real, that tomorrow is only a day away.

Tomorrow is not real. Tomorrow is ALWAYS a day away.

I remember the first gym I signed up to. I was so positive and loved the staff and was having a blast going there and doing the circuit class and I was happy. Then I got injured and after coming back from my injury I put my focus into training up for competition karate- I didn’t want to be too sore and overloaded, I was training minimum 5 times a week anyway, I didn’t need the gym anymore. So I said to myself, “Self, tomorrow you will go and cancel your membership.” It was somewhere in the vicinity of 18 months to 2 years later when I finally went in and cancelled it. Believe me; it is much more awkward to cancel a membership you haven’t used in at least a year and a half then to cancel one for legitimate reasons within 2 weeks of last attending the gym. The face I got from the receptionist when she looked up my membership is not something the makes me feel good about myself. But hey, tomorrow is only a day away.

I can’t say I’ve completely beaten back the allure of tomorrow, but I’m getting better. I’ve found that taking “tomorrow” out of my vocabulary when it comes to planning has helped. I don’t do things tomorrow. I do things on a date. If that happens to be the next day, so be it. If I can’t do something today, which happens all the time – welcome to the world – I don’t put it off until tomorrow. I acknowledge that I haven’t managed to do something today and think about when it needs to be done by and when I can fit it in. Wednesday is not ALWAYS a day away. At some point it will be Wednesday and I will have to do what I said I would on Wednesday. It’s even better if you can put a date on it. Wednesday the 10th of September. That day will definitely arrive. I’m not saying to put a total embargo on the word tomorrow, but just acknowledge that when it comes to doing something, if you say you will do it tomorrow, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up paying 18 months for a gym membership you never use.

This has an absolute correlation to changing your lifestyle, changing your diet and sticking with an exercise program. There are so many reasons to put off exercise or eating better until tomorrow. I do it from time to time. Everybody does it. But you will invariably find that the more times you put something off until tomorrow, the easier it becomes. The harder it becomes to actually take action. There’s a theory out there which I tend to believe in when it comes to developing your muscles. It basically says that your muscles are never set. They are either growing or they are shrinking. If you are exercising regularly, even if it’s less than microscopic, your muscles will be growing (hypertrophy is the technical word for that…it’s not just a word for the muscle bound meat heads looking to get swole at the gym). If you are not using your muscles they will begin shrinking (atrophy). I think this is basically true. These are very small and gradual changes, so don’t worry if you miss a week’s exercise for a legitimate reason, you won’t lose your gains- it’s an adaptive process that happens over time. I think you can also apply this to your willpower and your brain. The old saying “Your brain is a muscle, use it or lose it”, is pretty much spot on. I believe it also applies to willpower and determination. I would guess that most, if not all of you who have gone from not exercising to having sessions with me have noticed a huge change in your ability to push yourself. As you push yourself, your ability to keep pushing yourself grows. The reverse is true as well. Every time you give in to tomorrow or don’t push yourself, your resolve erodes a little bit. So, is your willpower growing…or shrinking?

I could go on about this forever, as I’ve thought about it a lot but I think I’ve made my point. Let me know if you agree with me that tomorrow is the most dangerous word in the world. Let me know if you don’t agree with me also, because I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. But either way – do it today!

See you soon,

Dan