Early morning phenomenon

Defeating the objective?

Its 6 in the morning when I arrive at the gym for my daily self-induced commitment to fitness, copious amounts of fluid loss, constant affirmations to press through the fatigue threshold and onto the uplifting feelings of having achieved one of my goals.

Turning into the parking lot, a red Toyota has arrived just before me and is now driving around and around the lot. I have already found a parking spot, locked the car and arrived at the entrance to the gym. I cannot help but be bemused by the person in the red Toyota.

She is still circling the parking lot, clearly looking for a parking spot as close to the entrance as possible even though there are plenty of open bays five or ten meters further from the doors. She isn’t the only one. I have seen this strange phenomenon before with other people.

“What’s the objective anyway?”

There is a thought that will just not leave my mind, “are you not defeating the objective of coming to the gym?” After all, fitness training is about movement and activity. Why are you trying to park as close to the door as possible?

Am I missing something. Perhaps this person gives it everything and trains so hard that by the time she has finished training there is only enough energy to make it to the exit doors and collapse in an exhausted heap straight into the car that is right outside the exit doors.

Perhaps the reasoning is that if the car was any further away, she would not make it and be left sprawled like a gutted whole chicken on the tarmac for the rest of the morning.

I guess it all comes down to how we all perceive the universe in so many different ways. Sadly there are many flawed perceptions that people have of reality, and this gym parking lot marvel is clearly one of them. If you have conditioned yourself to always look for the easiest way out, you will perceive most everything you do from this viewpoint.

It will manifest itself in many of the things you do in life. These are telltale signs that perhaps the reason you fail to succeed at some things, is that you are oblivious to the fact that you are subscribing to flawed perceptions and the resulting actions and habits are the reason for this.

“Check to ensure you are not working against the things you are trying to achieve”

Bottom line – you need to take stock of how you perceive things and then change in order to get a different result.

The final twist in the tale is that when I left the gym the red Toyota lady was also leaving, looking fresh as a newly planted daisy. So there goes my theory about her being someone who trains herself to near exhaustion and therefore needs to be parked right by the doors to the gym in order to make it back to the safe refuge of her chariot.

From the outset it should have been obvious that her propensity for carrying an obvious amount of excess body mass that she was not an extreme or hard training athlete. Going to the gym was clearly not working for her, and that perhaps by parking ten meters from the door instead of as close as possible (like in the handicap spot), and walking the extra distance would be a good start to achieving what you were there for in the first place .

Regularly evaluate what you are doing to ensure that it is not in conflict with the result you are trying to achieve. Be honest with yourself – be introspective and don’t find excuses to justify things.

If it’s not adding value it’s useless. This approach will go a long way to avoiding the disappointments and disillusionment that goes hand-in-hand with expectations that fail to materialise as you pictured them to be.

A word of caution – don’t be too smug or find this too amusing – there are many other examples that are equally as ludicrous when it comes to self-sabotaging behaviours,. You may just be doing the parking lot phenomenon in a different way.

The Soapbox is just a way of me letting off a bit of steam and using it to highlight some of the things that I categorise as “Self-sabotage” and the reason so many people are failing to achieve what they intend to.


Steve Derek is a management consultant and life coach, helping people and organisations to move from where they are – to where they want to be. See more at www.stevederek.com

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About the Author : Steve Vanstraaten

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