Don't let your best friend
grind you down
With friends like that...  Here's an interesting thing. Walk up to a person with a fantastic body, all lean shapely and Biggly, and tell them you have decided to transform your body the same as theirs. Chances are they'll be mildly curious perhaps, take some pains to point out the degree of effort and willpower required and maybe give you an idea of a time-frame you could expect. Really there's no telling just how exactly they'll react or exactly what they'll say but generally the will have one thing in common, a good attitude. 

Now try and do the exact same thing to a close, maybe even your closest fried, referring to the body of the dream-bodied Adonis or Amazon. "I've decided to transform my body to be as good as that".  Give it a try?  Here things get a lot more varied. The primary difference is that the person with the great body will take you seriously, believe you can do it and is likely to be willing to offer tips, advice or outright help. Your close friend may do the same but all too often you get quite the opposite.  "Nah, you don't have the build"  "You're too old"  "What, YOU, like THAT? Hahahah!"  "You eat too much"  "Nah, see, they're just born that way, it's in their genes, the Body Fairy (BF) came from the enchanted forest and sprinkled magic dust on them as a baby and... well, you just can't, see?" 

Of course a deeper reason the biggly-bodied can believe in you is because they've done it themselves, they KNOW it is possible because they've done it. In fact what reminded me to post on article on this important topic was watching the first episode in the second series of the reality TV boxing show (which I love, despite it's minor flaws) "The Contender".  At one point all the contestants (contenders!) were lined up in the gym and got a bit of a pep talk from the previous series' winner, Sergio. He told them they had a great opportunity and most importantly, he told them to take the opportunity seriously.  That kinnda means something from the guy who actually won, who did exactly what they're all trying to do.

Who, among the contenders there, could tell him "Nah, you can't do it"? Who could pour cold water on the idea, dismiss it as impossible and tell Sergio he was wasting his time?   The only person you need to fight is yourself?  There's a major difference between what Sergio had to go through and what you need to do to get Biggly, right? Wrong..  Sergio had to go through a lot of other people trying to hold him back, this is true - BUT SO DO YOU! 

Your first and most important opponent is yourself and it is true to say, and hopefully reassuring, that in theory at least you're on your own side. Don't for a moment though think that means you won't try and hold yourself back, discourage yourself, sabotage yourself and generally try and pull yourself back inside your comfort zone, for you certainly will. In addition you have a lot more experience of that, and a higher success rate, than pushing yourself outside that envelope, so consider yourself a serious and worthy opponent!

To defeat your own defeatism you need a plan and a system, ideally the support of others and you need to measure your progress, for what gets measured and accounted for tends to get done, what doesn't, doesn't.  That's where the Biggly workout software that also tracks your calories and foodgroups comes in. However there are plenty of people out there that are every bit as good as you at holding back, discouraging, giving up, wasting opportunities and generally being negative. It's not entirely their fault but consciously or not they will radiate their negativity all over you. They may even feel they are being perhaps protective, actually helping you by holding you back! Nothing ventured, nothing lost!

For others it is simply insecurity and fear of change, coupled to fear of self-assesment. For if YOU get ahead and transform your body, or succeed in some other aspect of your life while they are standing still, you're leaving them behind. They may not be willing to do what it takes to compete against themselves and better themselves but darned if they'll let you out-compete and beat them. 

Know they enemy  In fairness it takes real strength of character and self-confidence to truly put yourself aside and wish your friends well. Part of that is the self-confidence that no matter how great your friend gets, your friendship is such that they won't dump you for a new set of wonderful friends. And if they are actually going to be DIRECTLY competing, for example if both you and your friend are chubby and they've decided to get lean, then in comparison they're going to make you look bad. That can be tough and not easy to take.  Understanding this and seeing their point of view, the view they are hardly likely to put into words and tell you, even assuming they realise it themselves, can be a fantastic boost. 

Time after time, in my ex world of people management, in sales, in success forums in general and yes, within the slimming and bodybuilding industry, I hear the same advice - dump your negative friends, avoid negative people, if your friends don't support you then they're not your real friends etc. This, in my view, is complete horseshit. Of course they're your friends, and of course some of the "negative nellies" are your family, What, you're going to dump your family for a 6 pack? Lose your best friend faster than your love handles?   No, this advice is flawed, deeply flawed.


Dump the dumping idea

To understand why distancing yourself from your "negative" friends can be seriously counter-productive let me give you three main points to consider - then tell me if you still think it is good advice!  Sharing  It has become such a cliche since the world shrank and we've been able to travel more that one UK travel program actually carries the title "Wish you were here!".  As someone who has emmigrated to another country myself I'm certainly aware of how often I see something of great interest, beauty or humor - and my first thought is "Wish my mate Dood could see this". Often that is because I know he'd appreciate it in the same way I do.   In fact quite literally one could say this is because he would be "coming from the same place"!  As an actual example, my closest friend in the UK grew up with me while we both had a keen interest in motorcyles, buying and selling them, working on them and of course riding them. From little 50cc mopeds to gut-wrenching superbikes, if it was on 2 wheels with an engine we could chat about it for hours.  The step-thru moped is generally regarded as a pile of pants. It's the starting point, the lowest of the low. 

Imagine how I felt then, when I came across a moped here in Borneo that had all the usual hallmarks, the leg-mudguards, the enclosed chain, sit up and beg riding style, step-thru design with the fuel tank below the seat - but a few subtle differences. Was that a ventilated disk brake? Oh my lord, a power-pipe expansion exhaust? Check out the alloy wheels and low profile tires.. hey Dood! This thing has a rev' counter and... my eyes aren't lying, that's a ventilated REAR brake disk!!? OhmyGod, this thing's a 250cc..!!? 

But "Dood" was not there. Dood was, and is, thousands of miles away, and staying there. Hopefully you don't need to know or understand motorcycles to appreciate the power of the above example - I know my friend would be astonished, amazed and all-round amused by the weird bike. But it gets worse, for the majority of motorcycles here are similar, from 50cc to 500cc, most are of the "step-thru" design and look like the miserable commuter 'peds of our youth. Yet a great many of them have the same "trick" features and components as serious racing machines - and some of them are exceptionally quick.  Upon telling my friend of these crazy machines he insisted I send him photographs, which I did. But now imagine if as well as leaving the UK I had dumped him as a friend? It would be torture!


Audience


In the Richard Gere movie about ballroom dancing Gere's wife, chatting to a private detective she's hired to tail Gere as his secret dance lessons made her suspicious of where he was going at night, came out with some very profound lines on the topic of love and marriage. I don't recall the exact words but she explained the beauty of marriage as both partners sharing each other's lives, being an audience for the other, the someone that the other would wish were there if for any reason they were not. 

As I've said many times, a great tool is to measure progress. It has all manner of subtle and less than subtle benefits. Consider this - if you were to win a body building competition, beauty competition or whatever, which would feel best - with your social network among the audience, your friends, family and work colleagues there - or a room full of complete strangers you'd never met before?  If you really want to "show" your friends, colleagues or family, show them, show them that you can do it and you've done it! Thats a great deal more "measured progress" than merely presenting yourself as a finished project to people who will not appreciate the struggles, the sacrifices and the transformation. All they'll see is someone with a great body, admirable for sure but they won't be seeing YOU with a great body.  That's priceless.


Complaining

One of the key characteristics of a negative thinker is that they'll complain. Their job sucks, their pay sucks, their car sucks, the traffic sucks, in fact life in general makes this huge slurpy sucking sound. Suck suck suck!  Complaining need not be negative, it can in fact be "gloriously constructive", providing it is matched by ACTION. Some things are difficult, verging on or actually impossible to change, at least by yourself. However, complaining about something you CAN actually improve upon is a good thing. By putting it in words you help clarify your thoughts and can begin work on a plan to improve things. So before dismissing complaints merely as "negative", consider them sources of energy for change.  

All it takes to turn this "negative" into a "positive" is to ACT on it! So don't dismiss your friends as hopeless just yet. The only difference between them and you, when it comes to a great body, is that you've decided to act on your own complaint, for improving your own body is certainly something you can actually do. In fact many credit their success to the very fact that their own physique is something they could take charge of, even if they cannot solve the problems of the Middle East, world hunger or AIDS!  Put simply, your friends are still the same people they were before YOU decided to take responsibility for your body. You have changed, don't blame them for not changing, instead feed on it, use them to measure your progress, to motivate you. Ultimately, consider the satisfaction of proving it to them, showing them, impressing the living daylights out of them! 


Fear 

Finally, consider fear itself. It's where the very word "discourage" comes from, to remove or dampen courage with it's opposite, fear. I'm guessing you already know that the last thing you need is to be discouraged, right? After all, isn't that usually the very thing put forward to encourage you to dump your friends? To prevent them discouraging you?  But consider this - which is actually more scary, maintaining your usual life but with some changes to your routine in order to delvelop a Biggly body - or throwing away the very foundations of your life that give you a sense of continuity and security, ie your friends and family? 

The journey to a Body that's Biggly can be daunting enough without burning the bridges and cutting the safety lines that help keep you cosy in other areas of your life. If the fear of failure holds you back, how much more scary is doing it alone and lonely as you seek new buddies?  In summary, YES, seek out positive people, YES, block out negativity but no, don't dump your friends


Alan

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