There’s too many gurus or self-proclaimed “experts”
It’s not so hard for me to remember being a kid and having that overwhelming sense of accomplishment and winning whenever I’d learn something new. I had just found out that the sound of thunder was actually caused by the shock wave of the now heated and rapidly expanding air molecules hitting the cooler molecules. This shockwave, like an explosion, carried with it a sound. I wanted to tell everybody about the new cool stuff I knew. Like a two year old wanting to count to twenty. That sense of beginning. That sense of wonderment at learning something new. The humility that it brought when starting to realize that if I didn’t know that, what else did I not know? What else could I learn?
That sense of humility has since been lost. Watching people, specifically influencers, use the internet these days and it’s clear that there are more so-called gurus than I would have ever guessed in some of the multiple fields I study. Humility is a lost art. I see more arguing over minutia and semantics when at its core some of these people barely understand the concept to begin with. This isn’t just aimed at the fitness industry but a multitude of disciplines. People miss out on being the perpetual student. Experts, real experts, don’t have to argue over minutia or semantics. Masters of their craft aren’t worried about other masters. They’re able to have clear and reasoned discussions. Notice that word “discussions.” The true experts, masters, don’t argue. They discuss.
I took guitar lessons years ago. My teacher was extremely versed across a host of topics. We could move from note reading to theory to fun to scales and progressions with seamless fluidity. They was a measure of how well these topics corresponded and each played a part in making the other beneficial. Leaving each lesson, having learned something new, I always and I do mean it when I say that, always, left with a feeling of gratitude. I had learned something new and my teacher had a way of sharing those lessons that made me thankful for having been there to receive the lesson.
*As a side note, I particularly loved this guitar teacher because she was constantly learning. She was always communicating with other artists, playing with other musicians and taking new courses. She was always challenging herself to learn more. Despite having been doing it for years, she knew that she wasn’t done growing and could learn more. That is the sign of a true master.*
Taking that to heart, it’s frustrating to watch a guru try to relay information that they just don’t’ understand. It’s more of a regurgitation of something that they had heard before. It wasn’t something they had learned but simply something they had memorized and albeit pretty poorly. There was no sense of gratitude because there was no sharing where they had learned it. Gratitude from learning means that you realize you didn’t come up with the concept. You didn’t develop the idea on your own. We see what we see because we are standing on the shoulders of giants (a la Sir Isaac Newton). The concepts we have today about our understanding of fitness, nutrition, philosophy, whatever is because we have gleaned that information from the intellectuals before us. Unless you’ve had skin in the game for years and have the research and submitted journals to prove it’s your idea, all it is is a minor theory without proof (if even a theory).
Wannabes are quick to come down and judge others. They’re quick to throw shade and delete comments. They lack the skills to have a meaningful and amicable discussion. There’s often rants and tirades when they’re “attacked” for missing the mark on a point they were trying to make. It’s easy to delete and block. It’s tough to defend one’s position when they don’t understand where they stand to begin with. They don’t even know what giant they’re standing on to even begin to know what hill they’re trying to defend.
As much as I hate complaining, it’s cathartic. I also want people to be more open minded about how they follow and who they defend. Ask questions. One of the things I always told my clients was that if I couldn’t explain to them in more detail why we were doing something, then we had no business doing it. That also meant that I should be able to point my clients to better resources other than them simply relying upon some big bald meathead. I should be able to give them the same proper resource where I learned my subject manner. I shouldn’t have to hide anything.
I can remember all the coaches I’ve had that I truly learned something from. From football in high school, to pole vault in college to my most recent powerlifting coach. They were also quick to point me in the direction to do my own learning. They knew where to get more available resources to help me answer my own questions. They had the knowledge base to give. It wasn’t just me blindly following something. It was a true transfer of information. I was a kid again. I was learning something new that I wanted to pass on. I was humbled that after years and years of learning, I still realized how much more I needed to learn. And I was grateful.
That’s the power of information. That’s the power of knowledge. It’s not simply a mother bird spitting up a half eaten meal to feed to chirping chicks with their mouths wide open and unquestioningly swallow whatever they’re given. It’s the true hunt and digestion of something completely all your own. What follows is the humility to realize there’s more to it, but the gratitude of having been able to continue to learn. Don’t get stuck in the simple repetition of crap. Break the cycle and actually learn from something other than a meme or a short posted by an influencer. (If they have “influencer” in their name, are they trying to convince you, or themselves.) Remember to be humble and be thankful. The internet can be a glorious place. Just make sure you have your waders on because you’re going to have to get through bullshit to get to the gold.