Growing up as a huge fan of Professional Wrestling, my Saturday morning must-see television viewing as a child quickly moved from cartoons to syndicated wrestling shows like “WWF Superstars of Wrestling”. Unlike the wrestling shows of today where the biggest stars wrestle one another, these programs were full of the worst matches you could imagine. The big name Superstar would just throw around some local guy for about three minutes – rinse, repeat. Though the matches left a lot to be desired, I think what first drew me to wrestling back then was the announcing. In fact, years later when I made the decision to go into broadcasting, I realized that at least a small part of the influence was from watching those wrestling shows in the 80’s.
My favorite announce team from that era was composed of two former wrestlers – the late Gorilla Monsoon and wrestler-turned-actor-turned-Governor-turned-Conspiracy Theorist Jesse Ventura. “The Body”, as he was nicknamed back then, was a brash and arrogant villain in the wrestling universe. His commentary was brash, witty and laden with catchphrases. I quickly developed an affinity for Ventura and adopted many of his regular trademarks quotes into my playground interactions. My favorite of the lot was always, “Win if you can. Lose if you must. But always cheat.”
Now, before you tune out thinking I’m about to drop 1000 words on the glory days of the WWF, I promise, there will be no Tito Santana or Junkyard Dog references. I will not breakdown the title reign of The Iron Sheik. And I swear, I will not state my case that Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat is the most underrated wrestler of his or any generation (though I could).
I shared the quote from Ventura to share this… I’m a Cheater.
Yeah… I said it. I cheat.
I don’t cheat on my wife. I don’t cheat on my taxes. I don’t cheat in monopoly. I don’t even use cheat codes in video games. But, I cheat.
You see, when I was 426 pounds, there was no cheating. When I was living that lifestyle, there was nothing off-limits to me.
Drive-thru in the car on the way home to have dinner? Yes please.
A second 2-liter of Mountain Dew? Don’t mind if I do.
Pizza for here AND one to go? Pay the lady.
Nothing was off-limits because there were no limits.
[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]The guy who never told himself NO is not the guy I wanted to be… but neither is the guy who never told himself YES.[/pullquote]One of the consequences of changing a lifestyle that was so out of control is the institution of limits. To save my life, I had to learn to live within limits. I had to adopt a lifestyle that had boundaries. You can never win, if there aren’t any rules.
What you learn, however, is that, just like spending your entire life out of control, spending every day trying to be perfect doesn’t work either. And, for most people, screwing up just one time completely knocks them off the path to changing their life.
That one cigarette.
That one drink.
That one extra dessert.
That one mistake.
You convince yourself that you’ve failed. That that one mistake shows that, not only you can’t do it, but that it’s not worth trying. That you just can’t live within the limits, so why even try.
So I cheat.
Sometimes I’ll have that extra slice.
Sometimes I’ll have a candy bar just because I want it.
Sometimes I’ll have a meal with so many carbs that my family thinks I have an ultra-marathon in the morning.
Sometimes I have entire cheat days.
Sometimes I have cheat weekends.
I cheat… but I don’t fail. I don’t quit. I don’t use it as an excuse to stop living the life that I want to live. The guy who never told himself NO is not the guy I wanted to be… but neither is the guy who never told himself YES.
The perfect life requires that you embrace imperfection.