“Think….in new categories.”


In his book “The Magic Power of Self-Image Psychology” Dr. Maxwell Maltz tells a story about a Russian philosopher and mystic named Pyotr Ouspenskii. Maltz tells a tale of Ouspenskii taking psychedelic drugs in an effort to further his research into the nature of consciousness. During this alter state Ouspenskii takes out his pen and writes down one line before falling asleep (passing out?). Upon waking he finds a pen and paper by his night stand with the following sentence.

Think…in new categories

Clients often come to me because they have a problem (health, weight, nutrition, etc) that they would like me to solve. One of the things that I work with them to do is to think…in new categories.

My private nutrition/lifestyle coaching is primarily with executives. I work with them to think about their health and health driven behaviors in new categories. Instead of thinking about diet and exercise as things that they must do (and sort of dread), we position them as things that will allow them to be more focused at work, more readily able to handle the rigors of bouncing across time zones, and a way to keep their brains and bodies sharp to extend the peaks of their careers. Optimal nutrition and regular exercise are then viewed in a different light as they are now assets that help improve performance, worth to the company, and personal bottom line.

This puts nutrition, exercise, and deliberate stress management in a new categories in their lives. This yields a new level of commitment and motivation as the healthy habits that we work on are aggressively embraced and implemented rather than begrudgingly deployed (as they too often are).

What area of your health and fitness are you currently struggling with? How can you change the way you are thinking about this problem?

This could be a tactical shift. For example, if you think your weight loss has stalled due to a calorie or macronutrient issue..could you look at it as if it were an execution problem?

This could be a mental shift. For example, if you think of yourself as someone who is not a fit or athletic person, what would happen if you worked on shifting that view of yourself? How would the fit/athletic version of you behave? Start some of those behaviors right away!

There is definitely something to be said for persistence but sometimes persistence is just insanity – stop the insanity and think in new categories.

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