“Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” — Sun Tzu
This lesson goes beyond war.
I recently spoke with a client about the problems his wife was going through. While they had originally interviewed me to be her trainer, they wanted someone right away and thought I was too expensive for what they needed. Unfortunately, they currently find themselves buried in costly health problems that I am now solving for them with overtime.
Was this a poor choice or just bad luck? If we play out the same scenario 100 times — where a couple rushes through the selection of an architect and builder, picking the cheapest immediately available option — how many times do you think it ends poorly? 80? 90? 95?
While most of us would never choose to play life on hard mode, that’s exactly what we do when we put ourselves in a bad position. One way to visualize this is through the lens of billiards. We become so focused on making the first shot that we fail to consider how we position the ball for the next shot. When we go to take the next shot, it’s harder than it had to be.
Consider a few simple ways we put ourselves in a bad position.
We borrow too much money. Everything works great until it doesn’t. When things inevitably change, we find ourselves ill-positioned. What seemed like an advantage becomes a nightmare.
We try to save money in the wrong places. We balk at the $500 an hour lawyer with years of relevant experience and opt for the $200 an hour lawyer who says the right things. Inevitably, we find ourselves paying for them to learn the lessons that command the $500 an hour. We do the same when it comes to purchases. Often, we opt for the ‘cheaper’ option only to realize our mistakes. As the saying goes, buy it right or buy it twice. Cheaper in the moment rarely works out to cheaper overall.
We win the moment at the cost of the decade. Examples of this are everywhere. For example, we skip necessary maintenance on core assets to juice returns, we accrue technical debt that goes unpaid, and we monetize buffers and margins of safety. In the process, the smallest shock can cause massive damage.
We fail to take care of ourselves. We don’t eat healthy, sleep right, or exercise enough. When problems come, we’re ill-positioned to deal with them.
We try to save time. We cut corners on a job and cringe when we must fix our mistakes.
Being able to capitalize when times are bad requires doing different things when times are good. This goes against human nature — we don’t want to look like an idiot when times are good even if doing so offers an unstoppable advantage when times are tough. Good times eventually come to an end. As Warren Buffett says, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”
The main lesson here is to always put yourself in the best position possible no matter the future conditions. Not only does this mean avoiding costly problems, as the couple above learned, but it also means putting yourself in a position to perpetually play offense.
Brilliance might appear to win in the moment, but positioning wins in the end.
That is why at DBF we are always busy fixing everybody that in the beginning complained that we are much more expensive than their discounted vitality rates.
Quality never goes on sale. It costs what it costs what it costs. Let us wait and see when Gucci and Rolls Royce goes on sale. DBF is the rolls Royce of fitness. We give more in value than what anybody that walks through those doors ever parts with monetarily.
Price is what you pay and value is what you get. Please don’t mistake the two.
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