A Story of Inventing No Excuses

In an upcoming issue of SUCCESS, we’re devoting the monthly Corner Office column to a prolific inventor who says his secret to ingenuity, which has led to some 80 patents, is to “try to learn the source of a problem.”

I would like to think those words of wisdom led me to the smart solution I recently discovered.

See, I’ve always dreamed of inventing a great product everyone can use, but I’m not really mechanically inclined. Rather than tinkering with things when I was a kid, I spent most of my time with my feet propped up, playing video games. And that hasn’t changed much in adulthood, either.

My problem is this: I’d like to be in better shape. I don’t feel the need to look like an action movie star, but I also don’t like having to suck in my stomach while I’m around my girlfriend. I could afford to lose about 20 pounds. And after losing those 20 pounds, I want to be able to have a cheeseburger here and there without feeling guilty—and still keep the weight off.

But as you might imagine from hearing my plight, I don’t make it to the gym very often. Exercising before work would be ideal, but I’m not a morning person. And my schedule makes it difficult to get to the gym any other time during the day.

So as our inventor advises, I tried to find the source of the problem. After a lot of thought, it came to me, and the solution is actually pretty simple. I have free time for exercise almost  every day, but the only thing stopping me is that instead of working out, I spend that time… with my feet propped up, playing video games.

It turns out there’s no reason I can’t while away all those same hours on my PlayStation and, at the same time, get some low-impact exercise. A lot of people watch TV while walking or running on a treadmill. So why not hook up the PlayStation to the TV?

Even walking at a slow pace, say, 2 miles per hour, I’ll burn 250 calories every 60 minutes. In a given week, I might spend 15-20 hours on my PlayStation. Now I can make use of that time—pretty inventive, I think! A pre-owned but perfect treadmill arrived last night, and I’m thrilled to have it.

As I learned in writing a story on human longevity, some of the world’s healthiest, longest-lived people are those who do lots of walking throughout the day. And a lot of folks who live to be 100 don’t make a point to exercise; it just comes natural for them to move around town.

They also don’t eat too many cheeseburgers, but that’s another problem for another day.

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Josh Ellis is the editor in chief for SUCCESS magazine. Before joining SUCCESS in 2012, he was an accomplished digital and print sportswriter, working for the Dallas Cowboys Star magazine, the team’s gameday program, and DallasCowboys.com. Originally from Longview, Texas, he began writing for his hometown newspaper at 16.

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