Everything I ever needed to learn about how to live a successful and balanced life I learned from eating cheeseburgers. The average person needs to eat 2,000 calories a day. A Double Quarter Pounder Meal, super-sized, from McDonald’s is 1,840 calories. This is the reason why McDonald’s no longer gives you the “super-size” option, because eating that, plus anything else over the course of the day, will cause the average person to get fat. It’s not one trip to McDonald’s that makes a person fat however; it is the continued trips to McDonald’s over time that have a snowball effect. We can apply this “Cheeseburger Model” to any area of a person’s life to discover the path that will lead to ultimate success or ultimate failure.
The model is easy to understand. Imagine two people eating at McDonald’s over the next 12 months. One of them, Bob, will start tomorrow by eating lunch and dinner there. The other one, Abe, will also start tomorrow by eating lunch there. By the next day, Bob has had enough McDonald’s to last two weeks and begins eating other, healthier food. Abe loves McDonald’s, and continues to have lunch there every weekday because it is right across the street from where he works. Abe tells us that it is “just so close and convenient.” After one month, we see that Bob has eaten at McDonald’s only three times, while Abe has eaten lunch there 20 times. After one year, Bob is at 10 meals while Abe has eaten at McDonald’s 248 times. At this point, do you think Bob looks much different from how he did a year ago? No. How about Abe? Oh baby, did he get fat! The point of the Cheeseburger Model is to illustrate that success or failure in your life tends to be a snowball effect.
One day of sluffing off followed by a year of hard work will not doom your prosperity any more than one day of hard work followed by a year of sluffing off will guarantee your success. It’s a matter of consistency. Here are some practical examples of applying this model in real life.
Starting a Business. It takes a matter of only hours to start a new business. What most people don’t realize, however, is that spending a Saturday ordering business cards and setting up a website is only the first step. You will not have much of a business if you only work on it when you feel like it. There is quite a bit of trial and error when you start a new business, and you will find that it’s mostly error for the first few months, or even years, which will leave you wanting to give up. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to start-ups. If you have an idea that you truly feel is worth it, devote one hour or more, five days a week, for one year to it.
Finding a Girlfriend. The average guy asks out fewer than three girls per month and is heartbroken when his rare attempts fail. This is the same guy who isn’t comfortable talking to women because, quite simply, he never talks to women. Finding a girlfriend isn’t about making one approach every few weeks, it’s about talking to every woman you can, every time you leave the house. You get comfortable talking with them by, quite simply, talking to lots of them. This increases your chances of getting a date by not only learning to talk with them, but also by asking more of them out. Don’t fish with a spear gun, use a net. You can always throw back the ones you don’t like.
Party Time. I grew up in an environment where I was told that listening to music with friends would inevitably turn me into a heroin addict. To this day I cringe when I hear idiots say things like, “if you never take that first drink, you cannot become an alcoholic.” It’s not the first drink; it’s the seventh before noon, every day for a month that wrecks a person. Humans are social creatures and that is why we group together to have fun. It is in our nature. It’s ok to have some fun, and the right amount of fun will actually make us more productive once it’s time to get back to work. Be an adult by knowing and respecting your limits, then enjoy life by playing like a child. Everything in moderation.
Getting in Shape. Every athletic club makes the majority of their money because of January 1. If it were not for New Year’s resolutions, most gyms would go out of business. It is the same thing every year. A tidal wave of people sign yearlong contracts in that first week of January, and by the end of the third week, half will never walk into the gym again, until next January. Now, for the people like me who actually keep going regularly, we love new sign-ups because without them we would never get new equipment to play with, but we do laugh at them. These people do not realize that one week at the gym is not going to get them into shape. This is the opposite of eating at McDonald’s. If over the next year they would come to the gym 248 times, they would have the bodies they want. If you want to look like the people who work out all of the time, you are going to need to work out all of the time.
Life is a Journey. One step in the right direction followed by a few hundred in the wrong direction will not get you to your goal, but it is fine to take a few steps on the scenic route from time to time.
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