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Make Change Work: Staying Nimble, Relevant, and Engaged in a World of Constant Change by Randy Pennington

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CHAPTER 15

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STOP SPINEATING

The 3 Cs of life: choices, chances, and changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.

—Unknown

HOW I GAINED 70 POUNDS

I made a big change after my junior year in high school. Actually, I changed to become big.

The end of my junior year found me standing 6 feet tall and weighing 145 pounds. My high school graduation found me 1 inch taller and weighing 185 pounds. Five years later, I had added another 30 pounds and was out of college and in my first professional job.

I looked like Mister Potato Head—all body and skinny legs. There were two reasons for my weight gain. The first 20 to 25 pounds were biological as I filled out my skinny teenage body. The last 45 to 50 pounds were behavioral. In short, I stopped playing basketball and running a gazillion miles every week and kept eating as if I was still playing. Add late-night trips to the local pizza place while I was in college, and the freshman 15 became the Bachelor’s degree 30.

IT IS BEHAVIORAL CONDITIONING

We taught mice and pigeons to do all sorts of interesting things during my graduate school class in behavioral psychology. The principle is simple: provide a stimulus and elicit a response. The stimulus-response cycle still plays an important role in animal training today. Your pet dog goes outside to take care of his biological business, and you say, “Good boy!” ...

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