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Achievements and Food Scales

Published or Updated On: 
October 17, 2023

I stopped writing! It’s been a while since my last post.

The reason why is simple. My activewear business took off. It stopped making sense to do almost anything else besides work on Paragon. So I cut writing. 

Our recent success can be the subject of another post later. Lots to say there. It’s been very fun.

I’m writing now because there’s a lesson that I want to ingrain. Too important to wait.

If you’ve ever used a food scale, you know most of them have a “zero” button.

Turn on the scale. Put your plate or bowl on the food scale. It shows 12oz or whatever. 

Hit zero. It shows 0oz. Now you can add your food and get an accurate measure of its weight.

The zero button turns the plate or bowl into the new baseline. It’s new measurement is on whatever added afterwards.

The human brain is constantly “zeroing” our achievements, making them the new baseline.

I have known this to be true but just experienced it firsthand and was amazed at how fast it happened. Over the course of about 2 weeks, our new customer revenue went up by 8x. Our business run rate grew massively. I couldn’t believe it, was on cloud 9. Work was the most exciting thing in the world. It honestly felt like being high. I’d wake up each day flooded with energy, couldn’t wait to get started - too excited to sleep. 

Fast forward 2 months. The new performance turned out to be stable. And it is my expectation now. My brain has zeroed it out. I’m no longer high, on cloud 9. It’s the new normal.

Simultaneously, the same thing happened with my weight training. Progress on my favorite lift (bench press) was stalled at a training max of 295lbs for 9 months - long time. Some of this was just illness & injury but my nutrition and program were also preventing progress. I figured this out and made adjustments. I broke a 9 month plateau and made progress, a 5lb gain to my max. Big celebration. The next month: another 5lbs. Then another 5lbs. And another.

They stopped being celebrations and turned into expectations. I thought of my lifetime bench goal (achieved at a much higher bodyweight) and started counting the months until I would break it with my new 5lb/mo progression. The 9mo plateau was forgotten. My ability to progress was zeroed. Now progression is assumed, the new normal.

You might have heard of the hedonic treadmill. It’s the same idea.

I’m working towards financial independence & want to be rich. I think a lot of operators out there have the same goal. We’re in business to make a profit. These last few months have felt like a preview of what it might be like to finally achieve that.

  • Amazing, cloud 9, truly so good I can’t believe it.
  • Then, just the new normal.

For me, this underscored the importance of having a good time on the way to that goal.

If the high from reaching your goals is going to be zeroed out, then your day-to-day experience on your way to reach those goals becomes a lot more important. 

How do you have a good time day-to-day? For me this is:

  • Working with people I like, business partners especially
  • Prioritizing work that excites me [high impact, big opportunity stuff]
  • Expanding my horizons, learning strategic plays, and building a suite of very high value skills
  • Delegating work that I don’t like [things I think others can do more cheaply/effectively]
  • Talking & listening to other entrepreneurs

I did all of these things before my little experience. I’m just trying to do them more now.

Tl;dr: if you’re miserable the whole way up to your goals, I think it’ll be a Pyrrhic victory. Becoming rich might not be exactly what it seems from afar. Try to have fun now in case it’s not.

What if you become rich, and looking back, decide that right now was actually the most fun part? When the stakes are highest, when you’re learning the most, when the challenge seems greatest…

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