I have recently taken the opportunity to attend a 2 day seminar that featured one of my favorite coaches in the fitness industry: Nick Tumminello. I’ll be posting a blog about that experience soon. To be honest, I don’t attend seminars often. I know a bunch of people who do and hey, power to them. For myself, I need time to take the information I learn, let it digest, compare it against what I’m doing currently (including what’s working), assess and test the new information and then eventually it becomes a part of the Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “system.” If I were in seminars more than a couple of times a year, it would quite simply be a waste as I don’t have the capacity to digest that much information and make use of it effectively. It’s also why I’m also very picky about where I get my information from.
Being the series is about the things I find important and the quest to do them every day, in this instalment I’m going to talk about reading for educational purposes.
A small part of my fitness education
When people think education they usually think classes, certifications, degrees, tests, writing papers and other homework and of course, time. And it’s true, if you want to get good at anything in life it comes down to education. That doesn’t always mean a formal education, it could simply mean a trip to your local bookstore to purchase and read a book on a subject that you then apply the knowledge since gained. Some people don’t read. At all. To be honest, I’m not much of a book dude. I don’t make the time for them as much as I should. With the internet, the world of information has changed, and while physical books will always be a great part of gaining knowledge and experience of learning it’s not the only tool.
I do take time every single day to learn. I read for educational purposes every day. It improves my job, it improves myself as a person, as a spouse, as a man, as a friend to those in my life.
You are always moving forward in life. Always. Time is linear, meaning that even when you think you’re just maintain the status quo, “same ol’ same ol'”…you’re not; ask yourself if you’re wasting time. I’m all for a little mind numbing television before bed, but really…what season of Survivor are they on? 23? And Bart Simpson still hasn’t grown in 23 years.
What season is your IQ, common sense, street sense and wisdom “years” working on? Or did the series finale happen a long time ago? I don’t mean to sound harsh or holier-than-thou…just shooting some introspection your direction. I’m just a quiet dude who’s into sorta thing.
It doesn’t matter what your interest is… just do you. Learn. Find people who inspire you (role models). Challenge ideas you have set in your life. As one of my favorite quotes in the Hagakure says:
“It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his own.”
So you see, learning about other systems, learning about contradictory ideals and having others converse and “challenge” your beliefs is the single best way to become more in tune with your “way.” Don’t have a “way?” Wrong, you’re living it as all life is a choice or at bare minimum a choice on how to react to situations that occur.
Learning for Educational Purposes Daily
1) Be both open and picky: I have a half-dozen fitness industry coaches I follow. When they blog, Facebook post, put up a YouTube video, produce a DVD or book, I buy it, read it, digest it, and apply what works for my system. But there is such thing as information overload. Or quite simply the collecting of facts and information with lack of action. Choose an amount of information you personally feel you can digest and use on a regular basis. How? Choose a time limit. For me it’s about an hour. I set about an hour a day where I visit my favorite sites, blogs, etc. Start at 10 minutes. If you start wanting more, go longer. In regards to being picky, there are times I’m just seeing junk and talking for the sake of talking. If I’m no longer paying attention or listening I just stop visiting those sites, listening to those coaches and continue focusing on what’s working for me and my clients.
2) Learn about numerous topics all at the same time. Ever met someone who can only talk about one subject? Gets real annoying, real fast, right? Every met someone who can converse about many subjects? And do it well! They’re just more interesting. But again it’s a fine balance between mastery and just information collecting and regurgitating. Your brain needs multiple stimuli. I don’t mean to say have 10 books on the go at one time but maybe two or three so when you “turn off” for a moment on the one subject, the learning can continue about another subject. Personally, I bounce between fitness/health/training stuff and personal development stuff. That’s just the training geek and introvert I am happy being. I’m not big into fiction but I will say many a fiction book have enriched my life.
3) Read the entire way through! This is a big one for me. It’s something I’m working VERY hard at. I tend to run across 3-10 good articles a day. So when I would go to read one I would read the first paragraph, get half way down then immediately skip to the end for the summary. “Yep, got it,” I would think to myself. But I had to admit to myself I wasn’t really listening (a subject I’m going to cover in detail in another blog for this series). The point is. If you’ve chosen (or it’s been chosen for you perhaps as you did land on it?) to read an article, book, blog or email…read the entire thing! Every word. There is something to be learned in that process alone.
4) Give time to digest. I’ve said it three or four times now, but information is useless if not applied. The only exception to the rule is small-talk and really, who recalls that sorta chit-chat as life altering?
What’s your favorite song? I have about 200 favorite songs it seems. But do this: Google search the lyrics to the song (just punch in song name, artist and “lyrics” and you’ll get it). Now try listening to that song as you read the lyrics. I think you’ll come to find, as I do, that it builds an greater appreciation for the song (unless we’re talking most pop songs on the radio, in which case I hope you may realize are complete crap and have nothing to say). I tried it with a couple favorites of mine: “World Citizen (Taylor Deupree Remix)” by Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Sylvian as well as “Patience” by Nas & Damian Marley.
It changes things. Getting deeper into anything you enjoy will change a great deal for you. It could be information about your job, about your children, about the other sex (you know, that alien you married!), about someone on the other side of the globe.
It’s that level of depth I feel we should investigate via daily education.
“The average man can’t prove of most of the things he chooses to speak of / And still won’t research and find out the root of the truth you seek of” – Damian Marley & Nas, song: “Patience”