Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Critics and Learning

I love the following quote by President Theodore Roosevelt:
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
I'm pretty sure this is applicable to some of the "circumstances," for lack of a better word, that I have found myself in since Friday.

Let me paint you a picture:

Imagine that someone attends a kettlebell seminar for 3-4 hours. She gets some level of proficiency with the KB, but it's rudimentary at best. In her mind, it should be easy to use, to master even, because she's familiar with other exercise modalities such as dumbells, barbells, bands, etc. She then trains a client using a KB borrowed from a friend and the client has a negative experience. However, she is still interested in "understanding" the kettlebell, so she posts the comments of someone using KBs very effectively (touting the use, actually) within his own full-time business(es) and her experiences on a private forum of highly proficient dumbbell users for their review, thoughts, and subsequent critique. The only catch is these people have never used kettlebells.

What do you think the outcome would be? All you have to do is "google" kettlebells and I'm sure you'll have your [negative] answer.

What's my point?

Unless you are actually in the trenches, day in and day out and derive a healthy income from particular training modalities, you are really an amateur and haven't earned the right to criticize that which you don't understand. It's like someone advocating the use of the Olympic lifts for, well, anything, if they can't snatch their bodyweight. Or like me criticizing NASCAR drivers because I too can turn left. There's a credibility gap. Spend some time with that which you are questioning or with people who are using a particular method you are interested in.

Anyone can be an armchair expert and quote all the scientific studies in the world to justify whatever it is they want to justify (Low fat/high carb diets, anyone?) However, it's the doing where one really learns (Thank you, Dr. Robert Atkins).

If you want to learn about something, go spend time with someone who has some expertise and a large amount of success (financial, preferably--money talks, everything else walks) using that which you wish to learn. I did this with my weightlifting coach, Alfonso. Every Saturday, occasional evenings too, for almost 4 years, I went to see him, watch him work, pick his brain. The only thing it cost me was my time (and gas money...and espressos...).


Blogger Franz Snideman said...

Love the quote Geoff. We have on the first page of our Revolution KB Fat Loss book.

It is so true, so so true!

5:52 PM  
Blogger Tim Anderson said...

Geoff, I'm in Fuquay. Can you evaluate/educate me sometime on Z? I'm very interested.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Franz--that's right. I still owe you a testimonial about that book. It's awesome! It's on my bookshelf at work.

Tim--no problem, I'd love to. Just email me.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Tim Anderson said...

Thanks Geoff! It is done...

8:06 PM  
Blogger Franz Snideman said...

That would be great Geoff! A testimonial from you means alot!

9:06 PM  
Blogger Iron Tamer said...

Amen Brother...

9:01 AM  

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