Today’s column will have seemingly unassociated, far-flung diverse topics ranging from isosceles triangles to Poltergeist to Cold Pizza to management of a Japanese car company.
Stick with it though; it all comes together.
Now, let’s begin…
From the moment I entered Mr. Carrington’s Geometry class in tenth grade, I knew I was home. The concepts of rays, lines, and planes came naturally. Homework, oft times consisting of doing “proofs,” was to me, what drawing was to an artist.
“What is a ‘proof,’” you ask? Fair question. One is presented with a diagram and certain “givens” (truths) and then building on the “givens” and utilizing one’s knowledge of Geometry, has to step-by-step logically prove the conclusion is indeed accurate. For example, “If line BD is a perpendicular bisector of line AC, prove that triangle ABC is isosceles.” (Don’t worry; you’re not going to be tested on this at the end of the column.)
Hard cut to our topic for today: Poor choices are not isolated events; rather they are the result of a series of behavioral links leading down a path to said decision.
Let’s take late night eating as an example, a problem for many.
It’s not like you’re sitting on the couch at 10:00 and suddenly — as if pulled by some invisible tractor beam — yanked forcibly against your will into the kitchen where your mouth is held open and an obesity poltergeist pushes leftover cold pizza in it. That’s a “given,” correct? Something else had to happen before what we shall call the “unfortunate pizza episode” actually took place. So, let’s build on that.
In order to prevent future recurrences, it’s essential to understand the sequence that led to the behavior and find ways to break those links.
One of the coolest tools I’ve recently discovered is called the “5 Whys.” (Remember however, that I also liked to do proofs.) According to Wikipedia, it is “an iterative interrogative technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem… formally developed by Sakichi Toyoda and used within the Toyota Motor Corporation during the evolution of its manufacturing methodologies.”
Boiled down to basics, when presented with a problem, one asks “Why” five times and will unveil the root cause. Resolve that and the end result adjusts accordingly.
Let’s use our Pizza Zombie as illustration.
“I ate too much pizza last night.”
“Why did you do that?”
“I was bored.”
“The TV show I was watching wasn’t holding my attention.”
“Why didn’t you watch something else?”
“There was nothing I found of interest.”
“Why didn’t you go to bed?”
“Because then my day’s over and I have to get up and go to work again so I like some time to myself at night.”
“Why not find some time for yourself during the day so you don’t stay up late and eat and feel bad?”
“I never thought of it.”
At first blush, we think of eating as the problem, but in reality, not taking time for oneself is the true culprit. Finding time to “play” during the day could lessen the desire to eat too much late at night.
Although the 5 Whys were developed as a business tool, it’s highly applicable in unscrambling most problems ranging from “my husband and I got in a fight yesterday” to “we’re having trouble making ends meet” to “I cannot seem to lose weight.”
Will it work every time? Definitely not. But if what you’re doing now isn’t working,
it’s a given that something else has to be tried.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a nationally known weight loss expert for baby boomers and the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. He is available for coaching and speaking. His new book (co-written with his sister), “The Busy Baby Boomers Motivational Guide to Weight Loss” is now at www.BabyBoomersGuides.com