Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before.
~Lord Alfred Tennyson
Somehow I stumbled into a Seth Godin book that claims that all marketers are liars. That ‘revelation’ actually came from the cover of the book, which we’re technically not supposed to judge, but it led me into the book, and for some reason, that level of judgement passes everyone’s acceptability test.
A few pages in I learned that not all marketers are liars, rather, all marketers are storytellers. It is we the consumers who lie to ourselves, or maybe just bend our willingness to believe what we’re willing to believe based on what we need or want. Good enough, but what about our muscles? What does marketing/storytelling/Seth Godin have to do with muscle, strength, fitness, diet, nutrition, all the things that make our heads stop spinning and line up just behind ginormous smiles of well-being?
We would probably all do a lot better if we disregarded at least half of the stories we’re told. When I say ‘we,’ I mean ‘I.’ Maybe the self-assessment belongs to you as well, maybe you’re more enlightened than I am, and have no problem sorting through some of the cockamamie we’re force fed through the power of text & spoken word. Everyone has a hot new diet tip, everyone has a snazzy slick trick for gargantuan gym gains. Stories. If you trace any of these stories back far enough, even the ones I tell you or myself, there is someone with an agenda who originated some variation of the story we coax ourselves into believing.
The best stories are the ones we make up through experience. The quick weight-loss story is just a fabrication until we try it and determine whether or not it works for us. Even though I say ‘us,’ I mean ‘you.’ Eating my carbs before consuming my protein after a workout works well for me. That’s my story. Does my story work for you? You can choose to perpetuate the story as story, or you can find out if the story is true . . . for you.
What about Kettlebells? P90X? CrossFit? Power Lifting? Heavy/Light lifting cycles? Supersets? Treadmills? Group bicycle rides? Everyone seems to know someone, or at least read something that colors their view of the above mentioned activities. Sometimes we hear their stories and accept them as fact. Sometimes we hear from doctors, real or televised, that eating more carrots causes/prevents cancer, blindness, x-ray vision, or enhances/diminishes our libido.
Stories will work for entertainment. Action is the process of verification/nullification. Stories are good for bedtime, but never should we ever live our lives by them. Not without testing them.
What’s your favorite story? Is it the one about 15 pounds of muscle in 15 days? Is the the one about losing 15 pounds of fat in 15 days? Everyone is a skeptic when confronted with these stories, and in the process of living, which sometimes involves other stories, more stories, detailed stories, and even far-fetched stories, we continue to be skeptics or we take action to confirm or deny. There’s nothing wrong with being skeptical, but we must know that there are two types of skeptics . . . Active & Passive. Some stories, such as the 365 days with no water & no food for a skinnier Hollywood body, are okay to be passively skeptical about. The it takes a lot of work but you will see results story deserves a more active skepticism.
In the end, all of this is just my story. Maybe it relates to you, maybe it doesn’t. Do you accept either answer, or do you find your answer, and as a result, create your own story?
Take stories for what they are, guideposts leading the way, or signs as similar as Dead End, One Way or No U-Turn. Have faith in your God-gifted abilities, your dedications, your disciplines & determinations to be more than stories can offer, for that is how our lives become living Poetry . . . that which transcends story and becomes inspiration through action & deed.