Notes From Ed Text

The Lopsided Bet I Won, and How the Stick Can Motivate As Well As the Carrot


Goal Achievement Motivation Notes From EdWould you make a bet like this with me? If I lose the bet, I owe you $5,000, and if I win the bet you owe me zero dollars.

Sounds pretty dumb, right? For sure you would take that bet! 

Well, I recently made this bet with my wife and won zero dollars. And I was a big winner!

Here is how it worked, and how you can use lopsided bets to your advantage in reaching for Bold goals:

In August, I bet my wife $5,000 that I would not have any sugar desserts or candy for 90 days. If I ate any sugar desserts–even once–I would lose $5,000. I even wrote out the check payable to my wife, cashable instantly, if I ate any sugar desserts.  

The result…

I “won’ the bet. I won zero dollars and my wife did not get to cash the $5,000 check made payable to her. But I was the real winner, as I also lost five pounds over those 90 days as a result of changing my nutrition.  

Can you see how this lopsided bet benefited me? 

I needed the pain to be big enough to insure that I would not lose the bet. I understood I needed some extra motivation–financial pain in this case–to insure I would stay on track. It worked! And this strategy of leveraging a lopsided bet can work for you, as well. It could apply to saving money, workouts, nutrition goals, or pretty much any goal that you have the ability to control. 

Obviously, it does not work for things outside of your control. But when you have control, you can tilt the odds of success dramatically in your favor. The financial pain and bruise to my ego I would have suffered if I “broke” and ate sweets kept me focused on not losing, and it was a winning strategy.  

As I wrote in my book, one of the cornerstones of successful goal accomplishment is to have a really inspiring goal–a positive focus–that keeps you going. But a really strong consequence (a negative focus) can serve as an inspiration as well. You’re familiar with the notion of motivating a horse to move by tempting it with a carrot? A whack on the hindquarters with a stick is another method, and both approaches can work

By the way, my wife was happy I lost the bet. Her husband is five pounds lighter and much healthier as a result of her losing the bet, and that’s a good thing. 

Of course, I knew she would’ve no issue cashing the check, and would’ve deposited it the second I put the first bite of a dessert in my mouth, but that knowledge only helped me. As per the steps laid out in my book, a healthy dose of accountability made this goal accomplishment a reality, and my wife was certainly going to hold me accountable!. 

What Bold Goals are you struggling with? Could you create a lopsided bet to help you win? Is there an instance where accountability, and utilizing a stick instead of a carrot can motivate you?

Give it a try, and keep living Bold!



P.S. PROJECT BOLD LIFE: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success is a complete system for planning your life to get what you want, and has been a top seller in three categories: “Motivational Growth & Spirituality”, “Personal Success & Spirituality” and “Management Skills”. I hope you check it out if you have not purchased a copy.

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Ed Kopko

Project Bold Life

Ed Kopko with his book Project Bold Life
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