The Upside of Being Under Limitations

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For the third time in 4 years, I go on a diet. My weight increased a lot in the past year due to change of lifestyle and stress. Okay, the last one is an excuse.

I go to the same diet clinic that helped me lost 45 pounds (about 20 kg). This time they gave me a slightly different treatment. They gave four different types of drugs instead of the usual one type, and they insisted on a different (in other words, more expensive) intravenous medication.

But on the eating side, the same limitations apply. Red meat in small amount only once a month, fish in moderate amount only twice a month, and chicken breast as much as needed. No processed food, no flour based anything, no fried food, no sugary drinks, and no alcohol. Fruit and vegetables are allowed, except for jackfruit, durian, and avocado. For breakfast, I can only have wheat bread and low fat cheese.

One consolation is that I can drink coffee as long as it’s not instant, and as long as I keep the sugar under 5 teaspoons a day. No problem.

At first, this seemed to be a burden. My wife has to prepare meals for lunch and dinner, which means she has to get up very early. I am very indebted to her in this, because otherwise it would’ve been difficult for me to stay on the program.

Having lunch with my co-workers becomes a challenge. They all either buy or bring tasty meals that when I wasn’t on diet I would’ve had myself. “This fried chicken is good, you know,” teased one of them. And I could only scowled and continued eating my no-dressing salad.

Another problem is when we go shopping. The mall is full with restaurants, cafes and bakeries, all are offering delicious treats. I often must remind myself that I am not allowed to have those for the time being. So much temptations.

On the bright side, having few options make things simpler. Unlike before, I don’t need to fuss about what I want for lunch, and I don’t have to go out to get it. I simply eat what I brought.

When shopping, choosing a place to eat takes less time. It must be Chinese, because that’s the only place where they serve boiled or steamed chicken. No need to decide between Japanese or Italian or Sundanese.

In the morning, I simply prepare myself a cheese toasted sandwich and coffee, and I have my breakfast home. No need to take time to get breakfast at the office. I can use the extra time for other things, like writing this post.

Having less options removes a lot of clutters and allows me to structure my life better.

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Passion, Business and Time

I read an article featuring an interview with Karl Lagerfeld. The article was closed with an interesting question.

Interviewer: Have you ever thought of having your own fashion label?
Lagerfeld: No. I love what I’m doing now. I don’t want to be a businessman. I want my business to run smoothly, but I don’t want to be responsible for the business. I want to be completely free.

Kompas daily newspaper, Sunday, May 15, 2011.

Many people think that you must make a business out of your talent and passion. Nothing wrong with that. There is a great advantage of owning and running a business. You can have full control on your income, and you get to call all the shots. It is a big responsibility, and it may require a majority of your time. When the business side begins to take the lion’s share time, your passion will suffer. And eventually, it will impact your business as well.

On the other hand, there is always a choice of not having to control everything. Like Lagerfeld, you can go freelance, and limit your influence on what you do and love best. Or have a balance of both. Make it a business, but hire the best people you can trust to run the business.

Both ways need you to develop strong relationships and alliances all around you. The key point is to have as many good people around you to enable you to keep as much of your time free for your passion as possible.