Sunday, March 29, 2009

Who Knows?

While one expects to meet many who would like to get into better shape (conducting conditioning classes), one often comes across a person who is already in great shape, but just doesn’t realize it -- because the cultural conditioning and socialization, is the belief that one isn’t, when such individuals may be an exception to that generalization. The presumption is that most people are in bad shape or need to be in better shape, but an invariable rare few, will actually be in quite remarkable shape, with remarkable genetic predispositions, but have no idea of that because those who have been in charge of their conditioning, simply didn’t bother to assess their present capabilities, or were incapable of competently doing so.

This is a very important aspect of conditioning and education that is overlooked -- what the student already brings into that first encounter and assessment of what they should be doing -- regardless of whether that is in fact necessary. Generally, the physical educator just starts in with their arbitrary list of what one ought to be doing -- and few have the ability to assess properly, one’s present capabilities, much less potential and ultimate capabilities, because so obsessed are they with establishing their superiority and dominance in that relationship. In fact, many have been educated to believe everybody begins with the same potential and ends up with the same ultimate potential -- as though individual variation were not a factor, which should be obvious is the largest difference between individuals .

What is most curious, is attending and observing an exercise class in which the instructor, may be the least fit among those in attendance -- yet most lack that ability and confidence to make that assessment. Instead, they will think that the instructor is knowledgeable or they wouldn’t in fact be the instructor, which is like learning to play the piano from someone who is less proficient than the student -- or anything else for that matter.

So one of the things any student should first inquire, is whether the proficiency of the instructor is actually greater than their own -- or what is the point of that instruction? Why would a master take lessons from the incompetent?

This is a much greater problem in education and professional service than is realized. Many just assume that those in their designated roles must know what they are talking about -- because they are the “professionals,” without inquiring much deeper, into should they be?

One of the most common presumptions in the world of information presently, is the question posed by professional journalists if they can ever be replaced, since they presume they they play that vital role of determining the truth -- rather than that they serve as intermediaries for that truth.

That’s a huge and fundamental mistake to make, and why they are so vulnerable to the challenge to that authority they’ve simply presumed they've earned. One is the primary source of truth, and the other is an intermediary in further popularizing that truth -- but he did not discover it, and so lacks the necessary foundation to move onto the next step. And that is the value of any information or insight -- that enables one to proceed to a logical next step, rather than being dead information that goes no further, and so becomes just an accumulation of knowledge rather than a vital process and capacity.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


(Financial) well-being is not about how much money one has -- as though simply having “enough,” will be all that is necessary to enjoy all the days and moments of their lives.

Rather, well-being is derived from how one handles both the good and bad fortune of their lives: some people cannot handle success very well, and so they will fail because that is their comfort zone -- recounting and complaining about their misfortune, while the prosperous person, makes the best and most out of whatever fate has dealt him and so he has to work with -- knowing that by doing well at that, his fortune is bound to improve.

The “failure,” thinks that nothing that he does makes any difference, and so that becomes the self-fulfilling prophecy of their lives. Nothing they do makes a difference, and everything is beyond their control -- and so the only thing they think they can do in life, is to tell somebody else what they should do -- because they themselves, are incapable of doing anything.

Many of course, become editors and teachers -- the countless professions of people, who can do very little for themselves, while thinking they can do everything for everybody else -- because they have no personal interest in the outcome -- not even caring if they make that difference -- because as they were convinced from the start, they can make no difference for themselves. They can only serve others.

And so it doesn’t seem to bother a lot of these professionals that they can get up in front of a class full of people, in terrible condition, and obviously knowing nothing about what they are talking about, and proceed to lead a class of other professional people in any course of instruction -- and nobody is the wiser for it, or notices the cognitive dissonance -- the huge disparity in what they are talking about, and how it actually manifests in this expert giving the advice (instruction).

Of course if it were so easy, everybody would be doing it -- as most people do these days -- not because they really have a great insight into what it is they do, but they know what everybody else knows -- in that category, and if one doesn’t know that there can be any real difference, because they all seem to be saying and doing the same thing, it is because they haven't really inquired into these things but know only what somebody else wants them to know, as the entirety of what can be known.

A person who has not experienced failure and frustration, is very fearful, unsettled and distraught when it does present itself for the first time in their lives -- so much so that they may kill themselves or others, or more likely, blame everybody or only one other, for everything going wrong in the world and their lives. Obviously, that is not the entirety of what can be known, and if one is not prepared in life for the many different outcomes, they will surely be disappointed at most every turn.

Thus, well-being is this capacity to deal with both the good and bad, and to be able to transform the current conditions to that which is more to one’s liking and desires. Undoubtedly, it begins with simple practices, until one is quite used to the more difficult -- as easily.

Like in all things, the first step is the hardest, and so should be made as simple and easy as possible -- and not the barrier it is beginning participation as the "experts" try to make it seem.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

First Things First

For a body to become strong, one has to locate the critical weakness and strengthen that -- rather than increase the disproportion between the strength and weakness thinking that will be the best way to strengthen the entire system. It actually increases the chances for an inevitable failure.

And that is why the current fashionable emphasis on exercise and conditioning to strengthen the heart and major muscles is precisely the wrong way to go about it, and ensures an unhappy outcome. Every breakdown in the body, begins at its weakness, and never its strength -- and why to focus on improving the human condition, one is misguided to believe that further strengthening the strengths, makes any sense at all.

But that is what you would expect from the strong -- to maintain their advantage and decrease the possibilities of greater balance and equality -- while maintaining the weaknesses and vulnerabilities for continued exploitation, of the strong at the expense of the weak. That is the unfortunate model for conditioning programs that do nothing for people but exploit those most capable of paying for such misguided instruction.

The limiting factor for all human beings is brain functioning -- and not the lack of oxygen to the heart -- which the brain monitors as its greatest priority. So immediately, one should recognize that optimal brain functioning, determines the limits of every other functioning -- and would rightly design that enhancement as its primary objective in improving the condition and functioning of the human body.

Yet we seldom take the time to review these fundamental realizations of how we hope to accomplish ultimate objectives by beginning with first things first. Modern information systems analysis and programmers begin with this methodical and systematic approach, that one has to proceed in the precise and proper order for anything to turn out right at the end. It is not enough just to do as much as one can in any order -- or to proceed by the most inefficient manner, with the thinking that there is any great virtue in wasting time, energy and resources -- which seems to be the important emphasis of many misguided and misinformed conditioning and learning programs.

Many are convinced that it is these expenditures that ensure the benefit -- and not the results, if such things are even possible with their system and manner of going about it.

Instead, we see people going through the motions with no particular order and purpose, thinking there will be a miraculous great result because they wish it to be so.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Is Five Minutes a Day Really Enough?

The current promotion in the fitness industry (personal training) is the pronouncement that a full hour three times a week is what is required to receive the full benefits of their instruction -- on a longterm contract of at least six months -- and of course, if you can endure such a rigorous training workload over that time span, one will be tremendously fit, and if not, one needs to work harder and do even more -- much to the horror of their already exhausted client.

Such workloads might be appropriate for an athlete peaking for well-planned and well-spaced all-out efforts, but would be exhausting and ruinous otherwise -- because with every maximum all-out effort, comes the risk of injury, depletion, and focus diminished over too great a time. A world class effort lasts less than a second -- for virtually every event. And that is what their whole training program attempts to accomplish and summarize. It doesn’t matter how many sub optimal attempts they are capable of; all that does, is a singular best -- even if they never duplicate it again.

That is peculiarly the focus of an “amateur” athlete, while the “professional” is capable of maintaining a notably high level of proficiency on a daily basis. But even for such professionals, there is a yearning and desire to peak at their best -- and what sustains their interest enough so that they might.

Those who study human behavior and motivation call that the “peak experience,” also known as the flow, or oneness. At such moments, everything is focused as though that was the only thing that mattered in the world, and it is such matterings, that are the joys of every life. It may not matter to anybody else, but it matters to you, and that is all that matters.

If one could achieve that state of achievement and grace every day, that sense of completeness, serenity, peak, flow, oneness -- then life for that individual would be a renewing source of refreshment, rejuvenation, re-creation, each day, beginning each day. Then having attained that, how bad can one’s day go? The ultimate strategy in the game of life, would be to achieve one’s victories (exhilarations) as soon as possible and that will be one’s base level of experiencing subsequently everything else.

Such a program of conditioning would be tremendously reinforcing -- rather than the negation of all one’s efforts and being otherwise -- if one cannot complete one final exhaustion on top of everything else. And in fact, one will understandably be too exhausted even to make those attempts and so those glorious plans for dedicated marathons every other day, are quickly abandoned -- as what one knows they ought to do, but have really no intention of doing it if they can avoid it.

Time and energy is too precious to waste it exercising to get into shape. All that one has, all that one is, should be sufficient, and so the effective conditioning program must necessarily be as brief and noninvasive as possible -- yet conducted on a greatly enriched level of understanding beyond simply obeying the instructions of another.

That is the essential failing of such programs directed by others. The most beneficial conditioning program for anyone, would be the highest understanding of themselves, discovered by themselves -- and not these misguided generalizations and conjectures of how everybody ought to be. That is totally meaningless, erroneous and counterproductive to any mature actualization of any individual wanting to achieve their best -- the ability to peak.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Recognizing People Who Know What They’re Talking About

People who don’t know anything about investing of any sort (money management), will reflexively advise, “Buy low, sell high,” as though that indicated a deeper understanding and mastery of the subject. Likewise, those who know next to nothing about human physiology and exercise, will tell one that they need to exercise to get their heart pumping -- having no idea that it is always pumping, and doing so unfailingly (autonomically). The last thing that will not work, will be your heart.

So logically, any program to improve one’s physical conditioning, would attend to those matters of the human body that aren’t programmed to work so well automatically and unfailingly, and in too many, not to work anymore at all voluntarily, or thoughtfully -- and that is their problem.

The problem, or challenge of circulation is not that the heart is not pumping, or is not pumping fast enough, but that space is not created to direct/allow that flow. The blood flow doesn’t go equally to everywhere but directs itself to those areas that create a need for that flow -- to remove waste products from the breakdown of cells when energy is released, and then to provide fresh nutrients to those tissues to maintain that functioning at those highest levels.

How does that happen? Does one merely think that flow to happen -- or does one produce the physical requirements to do so? Many haven’t given it any thought but like any system, one has limited resources, and for any task or purpose, one wishes to direct one’s efforts maximally to that very specific requirement for which one hopes to achieve a particular favorable result.

That’s what very skilled, not to mention specialized people do -- not everything all at once, but one very specific thing, at precisely the right time -- and then properly identify and move onto the next. But assuredly, even the world’s strongest or most intelligent person, is not one telling themselves to work as hard as they can randomly and indiscriminately, as though that were a sensible and wise manner to do anything, and had any success (survival) value at all. Such a creature would assuredly be the first to perish because they wouldn’t know what was important and what was not a priority to address and deal with.

That is the first rule of survival and fitness, that one must first observe and be aware of what is the proper thing to do before arbitrarily getting one’s heart pumping maximally, sweating as profusely as possible, and sprinting up a steep incline as fast and as long as possible before their body gives out at its weakness.

So before we impose arbitrary standards on how the body should perform under every circumstance, the intelligent person first determines, how is it presently functioning, and how to get it to change most effectively, productively and safely.

In order for circulation to an area to improve, it is seldom necessary for the heart to work any harder than it already is. Rather, the critical question is, how does one improve that circulation to the area one specifically is interested in enhancing for an immediate and dramatic beneficial effect -- as with brain functioning, or for changes in appearance and performance, and then, if more is needed beyond that present capacity to provide adequately, the body would then direct itself (automatically/autonomically) to do so -- and not that one makes those provisions without that feedback absolutely demanding it.

Thought is not the primary function of the brain -- as it is, providing for the health of the organism first, and then the other capacities are produced -- and that’s why, the person without this critical understanding, thinks that they must exercise to get their heart pumping, and then their brain will function, etc. The heart is pumping long before any thought could have arisen otherwise. So that is not its problem and essential task.

People who obsess about their health in this deliberate way, are obviously not healthy -- because the energy and thought devoted to those concerns, are a drain from its capacity to do anything else, and it is the doing of anything else rather than to be morbidly and wholly preoccupied with one’s conditioning for this ready capacity, that is health.

It is not that difficult -- but has been made to seem extremely laborious, difficult and complicated by those who wish to monopolize the gateway to well being from every member of society to master these things rightfully and properly better on their own -- rather than being deceived into thinking they know something of validity, that makes absolutely no sense when analyzed by even those with the most simple powers of observation.