This year, I lost about 20 pounds.
I did it intentionally, as I wanted to feel better about how I looked, and also feel more in control of my health. It took me about 6 months, and eventually I got to my goal, and felt good about myself.
One thing I noticed is that when you lose weight, people comment on it openly.
“You’ve lost weight”, they say, “You’re looking great.”
It’s interesting how weight loss is probably the only thing that most people associate as a positive loss. You don’t hear people congratulating you for losing money, losing a relationship or losing a job.
Yet sometimes, those kinds of losses are just what you need to progress. We’ve all looked back in hindsight and seen how something that we lost actually led us to something better.
When I moved to America several years ago, I believe I lost something significant. I lost the influence of my culture. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the way I was living my life was invisibly influenced by the people, place and culture I lived in.
Australia as a culture is known for being laid back, for having a lot of fun, and for being friendly. Australians are loved all over the world for their easy going nature. However, the Australian culture I was born into has risk aversion built in. There is a deep-rooted fear of making waves or creating a large change. The desire to stand out, to take risks or push oneself is not encouraged. It seems to me that this fear comes from a concern that we might lose what we already have.
As I have challenged myself in different ways the past few years, I have noticed that some people have told me to be ‘careful’ or ‘take it easy’. A lot of these comments came from people who loved me. What is interesting is that as much as they want me to win, its more important to them that I don’t lose.
‘Don’t lose’ is a game that you can spend your whole life playing. It’s a safe way to bore yourself half to death.
The reality is you can’t keep what you have if you want something more. In fact, the very act of holding on to what you have is what stops you progressing, growing and succeeding.
Positive losses create new breakthroughs. The more I’ve focused on what I want to be, the more the world seems to reward me with new challenges and new breakthroughs. But when I try to play it safe and maintain what I have, I feel like I somehow shrink.
The next time you want to progress, embrace the positive loss.
It will lead you forward.