Thin, Rich and Happy: Take 3 Minutes to Start Your New Life

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9780743289375: Thin, Rich and Happy: Take 3 Minutes to Start Your New Life
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The creator of the Real Life Management Program recounts how he successfully lost one hundred pounds, paid off five credit cards, and saved his marriage, in a guide that draws on the author's "3-Minute Survey" plan to counsel readers on how to overcome negative decision-making practices. 50,000 first printing.

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About the Author:

Wayne E. Nance is the founder of Real Life Management, Inc. A vibrant speaker whose unique style, emphasizing humor and interaction, educates, motivates, and entertains organizations across the country, Nance's "ABC's of Real Life Management" program is currently used by top corporations, institutions, and church groups throughout the United States. Born and raised in Texas, Nance still resides in the Lone Star State with his wife, Shannon, and their three daughters, Christel, Melissa, and Kara.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

INTRODUCTION A Crisis in America

Iwant you to let your mind indulge in a little bit of fantasy for a moment. Imagine yourself in a very successful career. You're making quite a bit of money -- well into six figures. You've got a gorgeous 6,000-square-foot home with a fancy pool and a waterfall in the backyard. Parked in your three-car garage is an imposing Mercedes-Benz sedan. On your wrist is an enormous Rolex watch, the one with all the diamonds on it that dazzles everyone who sees it. Sound like a life you'd care to have?

It did to me. It's the American Dream, after all. And in 1984, I had that dream and more. I was the kid from the poor side of the tracks who had raised himself up by his bootstraps, got a good education, went to the big city, worked hard, and eventually met with success.

And you know what? There's not a thing wrong with that. If that picture is similar to a dream you've always had, or a dream you've actually attained, I say, "Great! Don't give up on that dream. Keep that dream alive."

But know this: if you had seen me living that dream in 1984, you'd have said, "Wayne Nance has the perfect life." But you'd have been dead wrong! Because the truth is, my life was out of control. Meaning that I was making bad decisions that created serious long-term consequences for my happiness, health, wealth, and family.

Do you ever feel as if your world is spinning out of control? A lot of us do in the post-9/11 world, with the economic downturn that followed, the disaster of the stock market and the loss of many people's retirement funds, the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks, the downsizing of companies and the offshoring of Ameri can jobs, the erosion of value as corporate scandals have come to light, and so many other things that make us worry about the future.

Those are serious matters, for sure. But did you know that there's a crisis in America that actually affects more people on a practical, daily basis than any of those "world-class" headline-grabbers? It's a crisis that shows up all over the place but can be seen most graphically in three areas that all of us deal with every day: the lifestyle issues of food, money, and relationships. To put it bluntly, way too many Americans are fat, broke, and unhappy at home and at work. Consider:

  • 67 percent of Americans are estimated to be overweight or obese by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards.
  • 85 percent of Americans will retire with Social Security benefits as their only means of support. In other words, they're broke.
  • 51 percent of Americans are divorced. Many others remain in marriages that might be called "psychological divorce."

Clearly, something's wrong in America! Especially if you overlay those numbers on top of each other. Just imagine three pie charts showing the 67 percent of Americans who are overweight, the 85 percent who will retire virtually broke, and the 51 percent who are divorced. Stack them on top of one another, and what do you see? That a lot of Americans are all three -- fat, broke, and unhappy in their relationships. But that's not the worst of it. The saddest thing is that many people struggling with one, two, or even all three of these problems don't even think they have a problem! Take obesity, for example. A 2004 Associated Press poll found that six people out of ten who qualified as overweight by government standards said their weight was just fine -- healthy, even.

Or consider this observation from the national sales manager of a company that helps small businesses and individuals facing bankruptcy work out settlements with their creditors: "From personal experience, I see that as people get further into debt . . . they start making short-term decisions and don't prioritize their debt correctly. Eventually, they start feeling overwhelmed, give up and go into denial."

What happens when someone goes into denial about their debt? They go deeper in debt. They may also start eating. Indeed, The Toque, a satirical Canadian website, imagines a VISA card issued by McDonald's called (you guessed it) the McVISA. The idea is that people will be more likely to eat at McDonald's if they can charge their Big Macs.

With that premise, the site invents twenty-two-year-old Josie Amblin, a student who uses her McVISA card at least ten times a week! "I can't stop," she confesses to a fictitious reporter. "It's just so easy to purchase a burger and fries with credit. I know I can't afford to eat at McDonald's this often, but I can't help myself!"

Amblin racks up $2,100 on her McVISA card, even though it only has a $1,500 credit limit.

The whole story is a spoof, of course. But it hits the nail on the head. "I can't stop! I can't help myself!" That's the cry of someone whose lifestyle is out of control. Someone who is making bad choices that will create serious long-term consequences for their happiness, health, wealth, and family.

In 1978, I was a poster child for being out of control in all three of the lifestyle areas I've mentioned. I weighed 315 pounds (that's fat, by the way, even if you're six feet, one inch tall). I was a financial advisor, but I had five credit cards maxed out. And at home, my wife, Shannon, wasn't exactly happy with me because she and my daughter never saw me because I was too busy making money for the family. At least that's what I always told them (and myself): "I have to work this hard to provide for our family." Yeah, right!

I was in total denial. I was caught up in a crisis that I didn't even see. I was succeeding and making lots of money, and by society's standards I was doing just fine. Only I wasn't doing fine. You're not doing fine when you can't bend over and tie your shoes without being out of breath. You're not doing fine if you're giving great financial advice to other people, but your own financial condition is a house of cards just waiting to collapse. You're not doing fine if you never spend time with your family because you've got to keep one step ahead of the hounds that are chasing you.

Because I didn't have any boundaries, I let other people's opinions determine my opinion of myself. I looked fine to them, so I thought everything about me was fine, too. But it wasn't. My life was out of control.

Some people hit bottom and then finally wake up. I had to hit bottom three times before I woke up! (I've always known I was a slow learner.) The first wake-up call came in 1978, when I was twenty-eight years old, with a beautiful wife, a one-year-old daughter, and another baby on the way. I was just at the point when a young man should be enjoying life to the full. Instead, my doctor was warning me that if I didn't stop eating, I'd never see my fortieth birthday. Was that what caused me to change my ways? No! Guess what I did when I left his office? I headed straight across the street to a pancake house. I'm not kidding! And I charged the meal on a credit card. (You see, I do understand someone like Amblin!)

So what was my first wake-up call? It happened during my annual visit to the "Big Men's" store. I was packing on so much weight that every year I needed new clothes -- in the next larger size. You can imagine how embarrassing it was to make that trip. So it became my style to shift attention (and blame) away from myself by complaining about the clothing manufacturers in Asia and how they were cutting their styles too small, or to joke that my wife was shrinking my clothes in the washer.

But on one trip, when I started mouthing off, the old tailor spoke up. For ten years he had listened to my bull and said nothing. This time around he had had enough. He was getting ready to retire, so what did he care? Right there in front of my wife, he turned to me and said, "It's not your wife or the Taiwanese, pal. If you weren't such a fat slob, you wouldn't have a problem!"

I was stunned. I'd never been so insulted in my life. How dare he! Boy, was I ever mad! So I showed him. Why, I walked right out of that store without buying so much as a dime of new clothing!

But in truth, that guy did me a favor. Because what he said was true. And it hit home. I was fat. Overweight. Obese. Whatever you want to call it, it doesn't matter. What matters is that I finally faced up to a cold, hard reality: my weight was out of control.

At some level I'd known that for years. But I had been in denial about it for years, too, really since I was a boy. You see, I come from a dysfunctional family on the outskirts of Houston, Texas ("dysfunctional" means you can get away with anything if you'll just deny reality). Our family was the kind where Momma cooked everything in bacon grease. And if somebody didn't have a third helping of pie for dessert, she'd feel totally offended. But guess what? In spite of Momma's cooking there wasn't a single "fat" person in the family. No, sir! We weren't fat, we were just "big-boned." That extra 50 or 60 or 90 or 100 pounds everyone was carrying was just the result of a "slow metabolism." Just a "large thyroid." And so Momma always told me that being fat just runs in our family. We had that "fat gene" going, don't you know? (You see how denial starts early?)

With a background like that, it's no surprise that early on I became the fat kid. Eventually, the fat kid grew up to be the fat man. Only I wouldn't admit that I was a fat man. I had all kinds of excuses to say I wasn't. I was in total denial. "Justifiable denialism" is what I call it. I lied to myself to justify my poor decisions. But the scales don't lie, and your waist doesn't lie, and your health doesn't lie. And by the time I was twenty-eight I was getting sick and feeling tired. And to be honest, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

So I did what almost everyone does when they finally accept the truth that they're carrying too much weight: I went on a diet. In fact, I went on lots of diets. The grapefruit diet. The water diet. The low-carb diet. The six-meals-a-day diet. You name it, I tried...

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