Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Change Your Attitude; Change Your Life

I don't usually plug TV shows, but I feel the need to mention one in particular, and how it translates to writing.

I'm talking about the show Biggest Loser. If you're not familiar with the premise, it's a contest wherein people with a large amount of weight to lose leave their lives and hang out on a ranch for, I believe, six months. While they're at the ranch, their diets are strictly monitored and they exercise heavily. At the end of the six months, the person who has lost the largest percentage of weight wins $250K. But that's not the most important thing - as one of the final four contestants indicated last night. For Roger (who needs your vote to make the finale), it isn't about the money. He wanted to get on the show because he needed to lose the weight and live long enough to be a Dad to his kid. In short, he did it because he wanted to improve his life.

Now, some of the contestants on the show have other ideas. They're in it for the money, and the weight loss is secondary to that goal. Oh sure, they pay lip-service to the health benefits, but you can tell from the gleam in their eye that the want to moolah - maybe so they can afford the doctors they'll need after they gain their weight back.

Don't misunderstand me. From my own perspective, I have no idea what these people are going through. Sure, I weigh 20+ pounds more than I did 15 years ago, but that means I went from 135 to 155. (Okay, I went from 135 to 165 to 110 (don't ask - I looked like death warmed over) to 155, but I've hovered around 155 for the past 4 years, so I think I'm staying here for now.) Anyway, despite my average weight, I do have some understanding of being overweight. My sister was over 300 pounds when she graduated from highschool, and she lost enough weight to equal a whole other person all by herself. Lord knows, I wasn't any help at the time, but I was a kid and a twerp back then. I'm so proud of her now, I could burst.

What did it for her? Mulish stubborn tenacity. (It runs in the family.) She hated how much she hated herself, and she made up her mind to change her attitude. And along with it, she changed her life.

I'm guessing the real contestants of Biggest Loser experienced the same thing. Sure, they may not have changed their attitudes by themselves, but somewhere along the way, they had to make the choice alone. The trainers, while helpful, couldn't change their attitudes for them - they only pointed the way.

It seems like every season, you have one or more contestants who constantly kvetch about the work. They don't put in the effort; they don't want to follow their diets; they miss their families and whine about it. Whatever. Some of those wally and wanda whiners get an epiphany during their time on the ranch. It's almost like you can see the little lightbulb over their heads, it's so obvious. Once their attitude changes, they see they can change their lives. And at the finale, you get to see which ones kept that attitude after they got kicked off the show, and which ones didn't.

It's like writing. (Bet you were wondering when I was getting to that.) Some people kvetch and moan about how hard it is to sit and write. Other bitch* and whine about the query process (myself included, so don't think I'm throwing stones from inside my crystal palace, here). Some just sit and think about someday writing a book, and either never begin one or never finish it. And a few change their attitudes.

The ones with the changed attitudes? They're not just people who want to write, they're writers.

Tell me, have you ever had a change of attitude that was like a little lightbulb? Did it change your life - even it was only in some small way? Let's hear some positivity out there. =oD

Oh, and did you vote for Roger yet? Didya didya huh?

(*Bitching every once in a while is totally acceptable, but making a habit of it is unproductive. Bitch and then get over it - and get back to work.)


WordVixen said...

Total mini-epiphany. I got back from Walt Disney World, and was bemoaning that I'd put on all the weight that I'd lost from walking around all day for over a week.

And then I realized- I can't walk around all day, every day (day j-o-b), but I can get off my duff and exercise. Even if it's only an extra 1/10 mile. Anything. It's more than I was doing.

And then there was the moment that I realized that some foods are worth the calories and some aren't. It's just a matter of figuring out which are which.

Helen Shearer said...

I haven't voted for Roger because I can't. Apparently you have to live in the states to vote. But if I could vote for anyone it would be Roger, or rather, anyone but Mark. Is it just me or is everyone else tired of watching Mark bawl like a baby every time the wind blows? Don't get me wrong. I'm all about sensitive men showing emotion, but come on! We get that you love your brother and Bob and just about everyone else who crosses your path but enough is enough. Little girls all over the continent are asking their mommies if this guy is for real. Phew! Glad that's off my chest. And now I'm going to change my attitude and write.