For new readers

To get an idea of what I'm trying to do and why I think it's possible, check out the following entries, they'll help get you up to speed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Power of Decisions (You Are the One)

I was turned on to a blog entry (before i took my FB hiatus) by a guy named Frank Forencich.  The post was/is brilliant and echoed many of my own ideas about 'training' and the problems that arise from our assumptions about health 'sciences'.  I highly encourage you to read the whole thing.  But what i want to talk about stems from one particular passage -

From Frank's site - "the exuberant animal"  -
a fresh take on healthy living 
In fact, we might even go so far to say that the proliferation of health information, advice and expertise is actually having a negative, disempowering effect on the very people it is supposed to be helping. Intimidated by the apparent complexity of health, fitness, nutrition and training, we balk. Afraid to take matters into our own hands, we give our innate intelligence over to others. Afraid to move our bodies, we hire personal trainers to hold the clipboard and count our reps. Afraid to make our own food choices, we hire nutritionists to tell us what to eat. At every decision point in the modern world, we come to a grinding halt, unwilling to take a chance with our own judgment. Awash in information, study becomes a substitute for authentic action. 
Now maybe I’m writing myself out of a job here, but I’m trying to make an important point, which is: You are the ultimate authority on your health and your life. No one knows your body as well as you do. No one knows your life story as well as you do. No one knows your predicament, your stress profile, your passions or your dreams. Your nervous system knows millions of times more about your body than any trainer, physician or computer ever will.
This got me thinking about decisions and the idea that 'deciding' plays a critical role in human potential.  What i'm suggesting is that once someone decides that they can do something, they've got a pretty good chance of being right.  Now i anticipate the immediate criticism that this is simply absurd - but this criticism is semantic: it hinges on the multiple interpretations of 'decide'.

In the above statement i'm using decide in a very strong sense - a genuine whole body and mind type belief in ones ability to accomplish a task.  Wishful decisions - the "i'm going to decide that i can run a marathon because i want to run a marathon" kind - don't count.  My strong sense of decision is based on the full information of this nervous system that Frank mentions - and as he suggests - is pretty much the ultimate authority.

Facts and observables about one's preparations are such a small part of the picture - they contain a fraction of the totality of things.  And so it is no wonder that taken in isolation they often lead to incorrect conclusions.  If I asked almost any fitness expert/trainer whether i could prepare for the AH135 bike race on 1 hour a week of training (only 40 minutes of biking), they'd, dollars to donuts, tell me that i couldn't.  Some of them (the good ones anyway) might come around if i explained in detail my history and my confidence in my abilities.  They'd recognize the unsung importance that this 'self-belief' - this genuine decision making - brings to the table.

But most would continue to bet against me - thinking that the body of objective, external knowledge based on observable, quantifiable data was the only thing that need be considered.  This knowledge isn't unimportant, but again, it is a fraction of the information that helps to determine my ability to accomplish any particular task.  I don't fault them, however - this is the story the health sciences and the general fitness community at large believe, and thus it is self perpetuating.  For the great multitude the belief - the act of deciding that they are capable of doing something, comes as the result of traditionally prescribed training - training which also produces this quantifiable data (training hours, miles biked, etc etc).  We learn, as Frank suggested - to put our trust in the numbers - to place our decision making power in the hands of others.

But i for one am not interested in such a model.  My life story speaks far more powerfully to me than the cacophony of voices shouting their wisdom at me that are happy to ignore it.  And so I agree with Frank whole heartedly -

I am my own scholar, my own expert, my own coach. 
I am the motivation.
I am the authority.
I am the trainer
I've got enough information.
Now is the time for action.
I can do this.

No comments:

Post a Comment