“That guy works hard, but he has looked the same for the past year,” was the remark. It was true. The man at the gym we were watching was no slacker. He had been hitting the weights hard for nearly an hour and the sweat dripping down his face was proof of his commitment. Sadly, however, he had not made any gains in muscle size, weight loss, or definition for a long time. While there are a lot of factors that go in changing one’s physique–from genetics, to diet, exercise form, etc–one thing stood out to me: he has had the same exercise routine since I had first noticed him. As I contemplated this man’s dilemma, I thought of all the effort we put in other areas of life with seemingly little or no return.
It’s part common sense, part human nature to press on towards a break through. If we are not producing at work, we just work harder, longer hours. If our organization is not growing, we work the same plan harder. It seldom seems to occur to us that “more” or “harder” might not be the answer. Sometimes the only thing that works is “different.”
It’s the old definition of insanity that’s so overused these days but that still works: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.” I’ve tested this theory several times. Most recently I did it with my workouts and diet. I have always been active, but in order to get to single digits body fat and put on about 10 lbs of muscle I had to completely change my diet and exercise routine. Same effort + a new plan = different results.
It sounds so obvious and elementary as I write this, but much like the man who is stuck on a no-change routine, we get stuck more often than we care to admit. I know there are other areas of my life that I need this lesson. If I were completely honest with myself I would have a self conversation that says, “you’ve got to do something different. Quit the insanity and change strategy”
Have you ever been in a high-effort, little-result situation? How did you deal with it?