I typically don't talk about my background a great deal because it makes me uncomfortable. Not so much that I've done evil things but because my occupation brings with it a set of assumptions that pretty much pigeon holes me by just about everyone I meet. I'm an active duty military member. So 90% of the people that read that assume that I eat my food from a little pouch, I scream every other word, and I strut with a confident determination that can only be instilled by years of working side by side with the highly motivated, extraordinarily disciplined, cream of America's finest. When I mention that I'm in the Air Force reactions will shift somewhere between "Oh, you must be a pilot"¯(cue the Top Gun theme) to "Ignore all previous assumptions, that's not the real military"¯. Then I'll toss in that I'm a computer guy by trade and that statement just puts the whole world in a fiery tail spin of weird and to be honest I just really don't like working through this process any more often than absolutely necessary.
So I told you that story to tell you this story. I'm a computer guy in the military. I've been stationed (lived) at 4 bases throughout the United States, Germany for three years, South Korea for one, and have had extend vacations to the Middle East twice, and Africa once. My day to day work has ranged from a first call help desk, network administrator, heavy equipment operator, warehouse clerk, to ditch digger. The key take away from all of this is not that I'm awesome but that I've been in a large variety of situations and through this large pool of varied experience I've picked up a nugget here and there that helps me be effective at doing misc stuff that needs to be done.
So I told you that story to tell you this one. What my job has been regardless of the title for the last 4 or so years has been to "un-fuck"¯ work centers. There's an assumption that the military runs with efficiency but the military is a Govt product. Does anyone think the Govt. runs efficiently? Anyone? So we have a system that's layered in bureaucracy and being operated largely by 18-24 year olds who have a minimal education and most of which still aren't entirely sure how to shave. If you think I'm making light here, go to the mall and look at your average teenager or early twenty something and imagine little Johnny with a smart haircut, 6 or so weeks of military education and a loaded weapon. See where I'm going here? My job is to lead and manage a group of folks to do whatever it is that needs to be done, in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of bitching.
So how does one take a group of people and turn them into productive citizens?
Key Concept: The Machine Produces What the Machine is designed to Produce
- In the 60's Honda was thinking about breaking into the US car market and they famously went to a Detroit plant and had a tour of productions. They came to the last station where it was explained that the worker would open the door and close it and use a mallet to adjust the door so that it would open and close smoothly.
- A few months later the Detroit executives visited Japan and took a tour of the Honda facility and upon completion of the tour the executives asked why they didn't see the door adjuster. Noticing this oversight they asked how could you know if the door would open and shut correctly if you don't test it? The Honda executives replied, "We tested the door operations during the engineering phase of the vehicles design. As such we know it operates correctly now."¯
Application: So what is this machine and why do I care?
The machine is your life and is the cumulation of your decisions and the framework that you live your life within. The harsh reality of life is that you have a great deal of control over you and if you are unhappy it odds are it IS your fault. You will succeed at your personal goals based on life patterns that you implement in order to create opportunity for success or failure. Your daily patterns ARE the machine and the result, your present state, is exactly what that machine is designed to produce.
The goal for any behavior modification is to create a situation where it's more inconvenient or takes more energy to make a bad choice than it does to make a good one. People are lazy, I'm lazy, you're lazy, that's okay. Embrace the lazy. Make some rules where success hits the overarching qualities that you're striving for. Implement training, communicate openly with anyone involved, and do not accept complacency.
Step 1: Training. Learn to cook"¦from scratch and throw away anything that has more than 2-3 ingredients on the listing. It doesn't matter what you cook really, not to begin with anyway. Most premade items (or restaurant for that matter) start with less than stellar ingredients. In order to make it taste like food the companies add fat, sugar, and flavorings to make it taste like what you think it ought to taste like to begin with. The simple act of cooking food eliminates a ton of calories right off the bat. You don't need low-cal\fat\versions of your favorite food, just don't go completely dumb while you're making it (aka the Paula Deen series might not be your best guide).
The key here is to take ownership of the creation of what goes in your mouth and unless you're making food for the week (lunches\breakfasts) only prepare enough for 1 sitting (practice this). "This is mine. I made it. I made the decision to make it. I made it out of things that I know what they are. I am master of this decision from cradle to grave."¯ Cooking forces you to think about what you're doing. You're required to plan for it. You're not going to grab a bag of chips and nosh while you watch tv if you have to slice, soak, and deep fry the taters first. It's not practical. You might grab an apple and by golly apples are okay.
Exercise is movement. Move every work day. Minimum of 20min. Doesn't matter what it is. If you want to run, run. If you want to lift, lift. If you don't know what you want to do then get off your ass and try new things until you find something that sucks less than the other things that you've tried and do that. Do something though. Train this activity and don't kill yourself. If you're a runner, learn how to be a good runner. If you lift, be good at it. Use this movement practice to learn to be better at moving.
Step 2: Communicate. Health can be a selfish goal. It's selfish for you because you want to look good and live a long time. It's selfish for your peers\family because would rather you have the ability to live your life as you choose without their intervention and ideally spend quality\happy time with you for many years to come. What you need is for everyone involved in this little puzzle is to be on the same page.
Assume at your own peril. 90% of my professional success has come by way of me walking over to someone and saying "Hey, this is what I think but I don't know if it's right. What do you think would be best for both of us?"¯ By communicating effectively with your support structure you give them a part of the process and you can simply tell them. "Hey, I want to be better than I am today. You're important to me and what you think is important to me. I want you to help me. Can you do that? What can I expect from you?"¯ Let your situation dictate the HOW's of success. If you want to exercise in the morning, fast, bike 50mi on the weekend. Whatever. Make it fit your life and the lives of those it's affecting. Get everyone on the same page and press forward.
Step3: Do not accept complacency. The hardest part of any plan is showing up. You need to take the first step to do whatever it is that you decided that is important to you. Once you're in the middle of it, it's normally not that big of a deal really but starting can be a pain. This is where discipline and tough love come into play. This is important to you. Do it. If you don't do it then it's obviously not important to you and you need to mentally accept that you're happy with where you and that's okay"¦unless it's not. It's up to you to decide"¦and act.
Ultimately the goal is to change a persons patterning. What is normal and acceptable can and must be molded to meet the needs of the cause. You aren't necessarily required to agree w\ the company line, you don't need to like it, and it certainly doesn't have to be fun but you are required to comply. Non-compliance shall be met swiftly and harshly. This is applicable to you as well.
Go back and look at what you're doing and why. You're giving yourselves opportunities to be successful because being successful is important. Putting yourself in a situation that will limit your ability to be successful"¦limits your opportunities to be successful. Do not tolerate this. YOU ARE the mission. YOU ARE the goal. YOU ARE the number 1 priority in the whole damned world and YOU WILL comply.
This isn't to say that you're going to walk the straight and narrow every second of every day but when something doesn't go to plan you need to identify and own the failure. Don't mask it. Learn from it. Don't repeat it. Perform an after action report (AAR) "I did something that's taking me further from looking good and living long. Why? Do I have control over this? Can I GET control over this? Is this a situation that is likely to occur in the future? What can I do to prevent or minimize damage upon the occurrence? This situation really sucked, can I make it suck less?"¯
Is this the answer to your prayers? No. It's a step towards efficiency of operations. It's a step towards making you a better person and giving yourself opportunities to succeed by default. Eliminate contaminates from your lifestyle and eliminate items that distract you from what you hope to achieve and you will find yourself stepping closer and closer to what you never thought was possible and it will be effortless.
I think that I can walk into any production center anywhere in the world and can bring it in line in 45 days. You can take control over you.
Original Article can be seen on my site: http://www.otpproductreview.com/?p=1272