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Driven or Lazy…

August 6, 2009

I was talking with my wife today.  She had met a person who helped me out about a year ago.  She was seeing the physiotherapist that I had seen for a back problem I had suffered with for most of my life (at least that part of my life when I was overweight).  I was helping a friend lift an elliptical trainer (those things are ridiculously heavy by the way) and my back began to hurt like it had when I was overweight.  To make a long story short (or at least to shorten it a bit), I will save the details of my back problem and the easy, yet miraculous assistance I got from my physiotherapist for now and get back to the issue I was hoping to write about.

So, my wife tells me that she has met the physiotherapist and she was not impressed by her.  I asked her why and she says, ‘She must not be very good at understanding people because she described you as very driven.’

I was surprised for two reasons.  First, I am a lot more used to people thinking I was lazy.  I have spent most of my adult life overweight and I believe that because of this, everyone believed that I was lazy.  It is just what people have been led to believe.  Fat people are lazy.

So now I have lost all (or most) of this weight and people don’t see me as lazy any longer.  Sure, I have done a bunch of runs and I have successfully lost a lot of weight, and I can see why that alone would make someone appear to be driven.  After all, weight loss is hard (it really is), but when you discover how to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way, you don’t need to be driven to achieve it.  In fact, I haven’t changed, but I have found a way to lose weight that works with my life.

In any case, I have never thought I was lazy, but I also know that I am not driven.  I start a lot of projects, and many of them I start with a certain zealousness, but by the time I get to the end of the project (if I even get that far), I have generally lost a lot of that energy.  So here I am with no change in myself, yet because of my physical appearance, people see me totally differently.

Second and more obviously though I was surprised because of my wife’s opinion of all of this.  It really is amazing how hard it is for the people you know to let go of their opinions of you.  As I point out in You Are Not A Fit Person, the people around you really don’t want to see you change.  It upsets the balance of your relationship, it creates concern and interpersonal conflict.  Another thing it creates a conflict in is between how others see you, new people who only know the new you, and others who have developed their opinions based upon the old you.  You probably didn’t change as a person, I know I haven’t, although I have gotten better at finishing things I start-like this book, but not only have first impressions of you changed (massively), but in a ripples in the pond kind of way, this impacts the people who have known you all along, who may have an equally skewed opinion of you.

So remember, you are who you are, fat or thin, lazy or driven.   These aren’t connected and don’t let people make you feel that they are.  Once you shake off this image that society has put on us, you will start to see things a little clearer. So, am I driven or lazy?  I am going with I am just me…

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