The Biggest Loser: A Lesson in Life

Last week, I harped about the way the “red” team treated Adrien, who earned his way back onto the show as he–and sister Daphne–lost a combined 50 pounds at home in 4 weeks.

The rest of the red team was unaccepting of Adrien from the get-go. There was no changing their minds. While Adrien wasn’t Mr. Personality, it was clear that his team–after his first week back–didn’t want him around.

This week, it is likely that they threw the challenge, in order to sabotage their chances for winning the weigh-in. It was obvious that, if the red team lost, Adrien was going home. And that is exactly what happened: while Adrien was impressive in his performance, he did not perform well enough to gain immunity. Ergo, his days on the ranch came to an abrupt end.

But this post is not about the pettiness, cowardice, or corrosive nature of the “red” team, or the failures of the trainers to address the fundamental problems.

No, this is about real life: what happened on The Biggest Loser is representative of what happens in real life, and how one must live if one wants to have a chance at living a good, productive life.

FACT: YOU CANNOT FORCE PEOPLE TO ACCEPT YOU!!!

As a society, we have engaged in well-intentioned efforts to get people to like and accept each other. Examples include affirmative action, desegregation that includes forced busing of kids to schools outside their districts, and various non-discrimination laws.

Unfortunately, these efforts largely breed further racial contempt: many whites and Asians get rejected for employment and college admission over blacks whose test scores and other qualifications were lower. In a market where jobs are already scarce, the tensions only increase.

In churches, older singles–unwittingly in most cases, intentionally in a few cases–are treated like social rejects. While we can rail against those things–and we will agree that this is wrong–it would also be wrong to attempt to correct that by forcing the churches to give deference to singles. Doing this would do nothing to address the underlying problem.

Even then, let’s say you are the one on the receiving end of such discrimination. Let’s say you get put in a job situation, and the folks in your group–no matter how good you are–decide they don’t want you on the team and, when it comes time to cut staff, your number gets pulled.

What can you do?

(1) You could spend your time complaining about how your “team” screwed you. You’ll be absolutely correct, just as Adrien was correct. But you know what? That won’t put food on your table!

(2) You could try to “right a terrible wrong” and take legal action against your “team”, insisting that you were discriminated against. While the facts in your case may not be disputable–Adrien has video evidence–there’s still a problem: (a) proving “discrimination” in a court of law takes time, (b) the cost of victory will probably be greater than cutting your losses and moving on, and (c) in the meantime, you still need to put food on your table.

(c) You could opt to make the best of a crappy situation and make lemonade out of lemons. Yes, what they did to you sucked. What they did to you was unfair. What they did to you revealed how corrosive and petty and cowardly they are. But you know what? IT IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SOMEONE ACCEPT YOU!

If you want to stake the success of your life journey on people like Conda or Kim accepting you, then you had better prepare yourself for a very miserable experience.

To his credit, Adrien appears to have been the grownup in this. He got in his parting shots, but–by all indications–he is moving on with life and is manufacturing some lemonade.

The issue is what will you do when you face a comparable setback? Because, sooner or later, you will.