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I have been re-visiting a lot of books recently and one of my favorites that appears in the Mental Fitness Challenge is called Rascal by LIFE founder Chris Brady. Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady are both best selling authors, sought after speakers and leadership experts that have an incredible gift of teaching through humor.

One of my favorite sections of Brady’s book appears in Chapter 4 where he talks about The Productive Loop. I can relate to this process as I have been through every stage at some point of my life in some category of my life. As I was re-reading it, I felt inspired to share it because it is just so good! Take a look at the diagram below and feel free to refer back many times throughout this article:

While I would encourage everyone to either purchase the book or go back into their library and re-read the book, I understand that many won’t right away so I will take captions directly from Chris’s book to explain the process he describes (all quotations and italic sentences in red below are cited directly from the Rascal book by Chris Brady). To stay as neutral as possible I will take this process and the information from Brady’s book by using the example of someone wanting to lose weight; but keep in mind that this process follows the same suit in any Rascal’s life so feel free to replace weight loss with any category you wish.

“Rascals start out ignorant like everyone else.” Most people lack the knowledge required to lose weight in a healthy manner and that is why many ‘dieters’ typically follow this process over and over again because losing weight is not a short term fix, it’s a long term lifestyle choice. So before making the decision to lose weight they often become skeptical because they have seen other people fail and possibly even themselves (in the past). “But then new information finds its way into their consciousness, either through a good book, a friend, a life experience, or whatever… this leads to curiosity. The rascal begins asking ‘what if?’ questions, considering possibilities.” In the case of weight loss, the most successful people fill themselves with knowledge on what to eat, what are the best calorie burning exercises, ect. They then enter the learning curve where “learning becomes extremely fun, because it is so relevant. This leads to excitement…this excitement, in turn, leads to the overcoming of fears…which leads to action and eventually progress.” When a person makes the decision to lose weight and commits to it, the best motivation is seeing progress… it is seeing the numbers on the scale get smaller. “Progress lets the Rascal know he is on track, his efforts are making an impact, and his learning has merit.” This is where He enters the productive loop or as Chris Brady calls it “Being In the Zone.”

The person in the zone who’s goal is to lose weight makes no excuses for missing workouts. They have the discipline to eat healthy and not ‘give in’ to cravings or temptations.  “Being in the zone is one of life’s most rewarding, fulfilling, memorable moments. It’s a natural euphoria… the zone is where Rascals live. They love it there.” As Brady says, many people have never experienced being ‘in the zone,’ only Rascals do. But everyone is invited and encouraged to find their way there.

But… Brady describes a character who he named Obstacles. He is Greek and he is the enemy of all Rascals. To witness the birth of obstacles, take a look at this short but entertaining video Brady shared at a TEAM leadership convention:

As you can see Obstacles can be very intimidating for a Rascal who doesn’t know how to properly destroy him and “Obstacles succeeds in coaxing a Rascal out of the zone. It could be any of his weapons to do the trick, from fear of distraction to low self-confidence to a failure in character, relationship challenges or any of the others. Where once the Rascal was overcoming fears and learning and doing with excitement and enthusiasm, now the Rascal caves in to fears and falls into inaction.” The person wanting to lose weight all of the sudden allows Obstacles to distract them from their initial goal where they become inconsistent in their habits and their thinking. They stop weighing themselves on a regular basis, avoid exercising regularly and give in to temptation more easily. “The less action he puts forth the more his mind intellectualizes, becoming some elite thinker and never accomplishes anything… This leads to paralysis as fear sets in even further. Paralysis then leads to frustration. The Rascal starts looking at his or her lack of results.” Because the Rascal is no longer following their initial game plan of consistent exercise and healthy eating, a negative result becomes obvious and they become frustrated with themselves for not sticking to the plan.

The Wimpification Process:

Frustration is the moment of truth, of peak danger, a fork in the road. It is at moments of peak frustration where many Rascals leave the path of excellence never to return. This is where Rascal ‘wanna-be’s’ turn into Rascal ‘has-beens.” They stop exercising altogether, start over-eating and often times gain more weight back then what they initially started with. “They slip back into old ways, embracing the old vices and convincing themselves that it really isn’t so bad.” Obstacles is at his worst in this process. The Rascal convinces himself that his dream isn’t important; that things are okay as they are.” The final steps of the wimpification process is justification, blame and excuses. “Losers must always provide an excuse for their lack of winning…It is a search for an excuse plausible enough to hide behind…this justification rarely involves any responsibility on the part of the has-been Rascal.” In the case of our weight loss Rascal, they begin justifying how their weight really isn’t that bad. They tell themselves and others that they just have bad genetics and it runs in the family. “People will justify almost anything to themselves, when it serves their cowardice and covers their failures. Justification is the door through which character departs.” 

“There is a name for people who were once on the path to becoming an official Rascal, but instead succumb to the slippery slope of the wimpification process and scorn Rascals and the principles for which they stand: Jackals.” These ‘has-been’ Rascals throw stones at anyone who resolves to lose weight or attempts to succeed past them. They are the ones who go to all the online sites that talk about weight loss and leave negative comments on product and information websites that encourage healthy weight loss. “Jackals become the natural enemy of Rascals everywhere because a Rascals example eliminates a Jackal’s excuses…the bigger the Rascal’s accomplishment, the more obvious the Jackal’s failure.”

No Rascal ever wants to become a Jackal but Obstacles can be pretty tough if he is not handled properly. “Let’s go back to the fork in the road where it all went wrong to see that even when things appear their darkest, a true Rascal still has a choice. Remember that the Wimpification process was cause by inaction, over-intellectualizing, analysis paralysis and peak frustration…Understand that there is no shame in getting frustrated, falling into inaction, or having doubts and discouragements. It happens to everybody. Champions, however, keep those moments to a minimum and always find a way to pull out of them. They take the other side of the fork in the road.”

Many times while on the weight loss journey, one finds themselves losing strength and control – the holidays are coming, winter is near, an injury takes place, etc and that’s where the Rascal is challenged and encouraged to overcome Obstacles and take the other side of the fork in the road. “At this moment we see the courage of the Rascal tested to the limit…they remember why they started out in the first place and refresh those dreams and causes in their minds until they reconnect with them emotionally… Having made the choice not to wimpify, a Rascal seeks the association of other Rascals within whose company he can be strengthened and rebuilt.” This refreshing of the dream leads the Rascal back to their original goal or dream where they are given a new chance at entering back into the zone where they live and hunger for.

I love this Productive Loop that Chris Brady created because it is so true of everything a Rascal goes through in life. If you don’t understand what I mean by a ‘Rascal’ then I highly encourage you to read Brady’s book – it is incredible. As Orrin Woodward states in the Foreword, “I have named Chris Honorary First Rascal” but I know Chris is not the only Rascal out there. In fact, I know of a large community of people who associate with the LIFE business who are all rascals in their own right because they have the ‘courage to pursue their own dreams.’ Are you a Rascal?

Please comment below! I know a lot of Rascals out there who have gone through this productive loop (of being in the zone) in not only the-life-business but other areas of their life and we would love to hear your stories! Are you the type of Rascal that Chris Brady would be proud of? Can’t wait to read your feedback!