Cold. Unfeeling. Unflinching. Robots get a bad rap. Too bad robots don’t care how you feel about them. Robots just do what they are programmed to do, again, and again, and again, and again…
However, robots have some positive traits too: Consistency. Efficiency. Precision. Robots are typically though of as unstoppable, as long as you keep them oiled and don’t pull the plug.
What are robots good for?
Robots are really good at doing things that humans cannot do, don’t want to do, or can do–but far less efficiently. While a big upfront cost, an efficient robot will save money over the long haul due to increased production without the need for a salary and a pension. A robot doesn’t come to work late, drunk, or mentally checked-out because it is going through a divorce. A robot never asks for a raise, or for time off.
A robot is a special type of machine with one purpose: A robot performs work automatically, without the constant need for a human operator.
A robot is nothing without a program
The robot is just the machine, the physical device that executes whatever it was programmed to do. For a robot to actually do anything useful, it needs to be programmed.
Depending on what the robot has to do, programs can be very simple two-step commands (pick this item up and place it down over there), or highly complex (observe situations happening in real-time and learn how to complete a complex task several different ways depending on various inputs).
Simple or complex, a robot’s programing must be clear and concise. The program must work to serve the purpose it is designed for, as there is literally no point in having extraneous information in the code that runs the robot. For complex robots, the programmer must run through multiple situations and program the robot for all of the possible scenarios it may encounter.
How does this relate to fitness?
Unless you live a life solely based on comfort, that is, avoiding anything uncomfortable at all costs and focusing only on increasing your comfort level, you could benefit from acting like a robot sometimes.
At this point in the program, you should realize the importance of doing things that are not immediately gratifying, to reap the benefits of your actions in the future. Brushing your teeth is a simple example of this concept–not fun while you’re doing it but you know that it is worth it in the long-term so that your teeth don’t all fall out.
Exercise and healthy eating are more complex expressions of this same concept. You must do things that are not comfortable or easy in the moment, to access innumerable benefits in the future.
The future can be just two weeks away, at the end of this program when you meet one of your short-term goals, or it can be three years from now when you meet one of your major long-term goals–either way, it doesn’t happen immediately while you are performing the painful tasks of daily exercise and disciplined eating.
Therefore, you could benefit from what factory owners have known for years: Get a robot to do the hard work! Only this time, the robot is YOU!
Learn to split your mind in two
Think of yourself as having two operating modes: Programmer-mode and robot-mode.
Programmer-mode is the way you should think most of the time. Actually by definition, it is the way you should think all of the time, because when you are in robot-mode you are not thinking at all…you are just executing orders!
Programmer-mode is what you use when you are planning your meals and making your shopping list for the week. You are not in the actual grocery store when making your list, you are sitting at home with time to think rationally about your goals and how to reach them. At home, you can think logically about all the things you should be eating this upcoming week, and make a list that includes all of the good stuff and none of the bad stuff. This list is your program.
Same goes for exercise: Your logical programmer-mind can pre-plan all of the exercise sessions you want to do this upcoming week. You can look at your schedule and figure out exactly what time to perform your workout. You can figure out what time to wake up to make sure you have enough time for exercise. You can have a plan A if the weather is nice, and a plan B if the weather is not nice enough to go outside. You can have a plan C if the kids kept you up all night, and a plan D if you are called into work early that morning. The more situations you can anticipate and think around, the better your program is.
Who does all of this programming benefit? Why YOU of course! You are the programmer and also the CEO of the company, so it is in your best interest to create a strong program that will not fail under any circumstances! Your CEO-self must trust that the program, if carried out, will accomplish the intended goal–in this case, a healthier and happier life.
Oh, and one more thing I should mention: You are also the robot.
Unlocking your robot mind
When it is time to act, you must flip the switch and become the robot. Your only job as the robot is to execute the program. Robots do not think. They do not modify their code unless they were programmed to do so. They do not dread performing work because they do not feel fear or pain. Robots do not waver, and are not capable of performing different actions than they were programmed for.
When you are in the grocery store, switch to the robot mind. Look at the list you made when you were thinking clearly and logically and stick to the list. Good healthy whole foods? Affirmative. Sodium and fat laden packaged garbage? Negative. A different brand of rice than you had on your list is on sale and looks equally good? Buy it. Saving money is in your mission parameters. Ice cream is on sale but it’s not on your list? Negative, item not found in specified mission files.
When the robot hears its alarm clock in the morning, the robot wakes up. There is no snippet of code that contains a snooze option. The robot is programmed to begin a warm-up sequence at precisely 6 AM in preparation for the exercise mission that commences at exactly 6:15 AM. A robot cannot think that maybe it will skip its exercise program today because it doesn’t feel motivated. The robot cannot think and does not know what “motivation” is. The robot executes the workout program and performs all of the prescribed exercises in its program before switching off at 6:45 AM.
Become the human robot
The best time to think and plan is when you are well-rested and well-fed, using logic and the objective parts of your mind. Clearly focus and make a solid plan in the light of day while you are fresh and separated from the task in question. Then when it comes time to take action, switch to the robot mindset and execute the plan!
The robot has no choices to make, thinks no thoughts, and feels no pain. The robot just acts.