In the movie, Lone Survivor, one of the characters mentions the idea that “moderation is for cowards.” He could have said moderation is for wimps, pussies, or pansies but no; he used the word coward.
This statement has helped me crack a riddle that’s been bugging me for a while. When someone says “all things in moderation” I want to smash my head through a plate glass window and then skin dive into a pool of lemon juice. It’s just one of those cliche’s that doesn’t seem smart for some reason.
Now I finally know why.
Moderation doesn’t mean a certain amount of something. What it usually means is it’s a habit that keeps you in your comfort zone. It’s whatever you perceive as normal. It’s all nice and balanced. The notion of moderation is nothing more than an excuse to hold tight onto your comfortable habits. If you smoke a pack a day then a pack a day is “moderation.” If you eat like crap most of the time, then doing so may also be your perception of “Moderation.”
Moderation has nothing to do with balance and health and everything to do with latching onto old habits that make you feel warm and comfortable.
If you want to make any changes happen you simply have to get out of your comfort zone which means you’re going to have to take the notion of moderation and smash it to smithereens. This is why many folks will back peddle when I tell them what they need to do to change. The 2-a-day beer drinker will go down to 2 beers a week. The pack-a-day smoker will cut to a pack a week or no smoking at all. The person who’s used to lifting 100 pounds will have to go to 140 or do 50 reps instead of 10.
“WHOA! That’s crazy! That’s insane! I can’t do that” are all phrases said by someone being asked to get a bit out of their comfort zone. That’s someone who’s about to go out of balance, It’s someone who’s doing anything but using moderation.
So when we embrace moderation, we embrace comfortable and easy habits we are used to. Sometimes we simply don’t want to change because we are scared to. We are scared of what would happen if we work too hard or make too big a change. When we fear change and challenge we embrace moderation and cling to it in the name of balance and sanity.