School shootings affect me greatly, privately. Even more so since becoming a father.
I’m not alone. My social media feed in the hours (minutes?) following these horrific events is a visceral stream of anguish and demands for change.
But while offering sympathy (and thoughts & prayers) is easy, affecting change has proven to be much trickier.
Because even before the victims families could be properly notified — 14 year-old Alyssa Alhadeff wasn’t identified until 2am, long after Facebook was already ablaze — the condolences shift to partisan bickering and policy “debate,” which is nothing more than trading talking points or tacky memes full of false equivalencies but short on facts.
Making matters worse — and it always gets worse — now there’s conspiracy theory websites and even right-wing Russian bots at play, all attempting to further obfuscate and sow social discord.
And of course, opportunistic shit-bags with no skin in the game newsjacking the tragedy to sell books or just get e-famous.
The result? Fuck all changes. Just more rhetoric, more empty shell casings, and more funerals.
I’m a believer that being an expert in one field (or thinking you are) doesn’t make you an expert in another. As such I prefer to stay in my little lane but drive it the very best I can.
So I’m a “build muscle, lose fat, still have a life” guy. Dare I say, I’m an expert at it. But that’s it, and I’m cool with it. As noted Danish philosopher Kierkegaard once said, “it may be shit, but it’s my shit yo.”
Of course I have opinions about all kinds of stuff, and enjoy venturing into areas where I’m WAY out of my depth just to read and ask questions and perhaps learn something new.
What I won’t do though is confuse being part of the discussion with actually ADVANCING the discussion.
Some folks should read that line twice. Others, quite frankly, should get it stenciled across their laptops and mobile devices. Or tattooed on their fucking forehead.
So what advice can a “physique guy” possibly contribute to a problem as complex, contextual, and hyper-partisan as “stopping school shootings?”
Anything. No matter how simple. It doesn’t matter. As long as both sides agree. And it’s meaningful.
Because first you have to overcome inertia.
Not long ago, a former client contacted me. He was in a bad place, having gained 30 pounds after changing careers and going through a divorce.
To re-gain control of the situation and stop the proverbial bleeding, he went through all the old plans I’d sent him and our emails back and forth. He also joined a few mailing lists and began reading newsletters and ebooks from other smart coaches and trainers and experts. Within a few weeks he’d complied enough “tips” to fill a book.
It was getting him nowhere.
Much of the info was conflicting. High reps, low reps; low carb, low fat; interval cardio, low intensity. And each expert argument had plenty of seemingly sound science and anecdote in support, not to mention die-hard social media followers defending them.
He didn’t even know where to even begin. So he did nothing.
So when he finally reached out to me for help, I asked him to ignore all the emails and e-books and just answer one question:
“What’s the simplest thing you can start doing for your health every single day?”
Not “the most effective thing” or “most cutting edge” and definitely not “most complicated.” Just the simplest.
We agreed it was going for a walk on his lunch break. And just like that, he was on the right path.
But not “just like that, he was successful.”
Let’s get real, his daily walk didn’t make a noticeable dent. At least not right away.
But by making a simple shift to stop “researching” and start doing, he overcame inertia.
Soon he was ready for more. He started prepping his own food every night. Then it was seeing a trainer a few nights a week.
And so it went. Last we talked he was following a calorie cycling diet and training on his own 5 days a week. Which would’ve been utterly incomprehensible just a few months ago, when he was paralyzed with internal pathos.
Before he made the decision to do ONE small positive thing he had faith would lead him in the right direction. .
So what does some physique guy “know” about preventing school shootings?
It’s that the eventual solution starts by implementing small, simple measures – things that those on either side with an honest, unbiased (and above all informed) opinion can agree with – and building from there.
It’s not trying to “win” the issue or use bully tactics to force an untenable solution. It’s doing something positive, together, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential, and overcoming inertia.
And like my overweight former client who started by going for walk on his lunch break and is now considering entering a Physique contest, you have know idea how far overcoming inertia might eventually lead you.
I’ve used this concept many times to change bodies. And I honestly think it can (eventually) save young lives.
But what do I know? I’m just a sets & reps guy. Except one with something precious to lose.
Maybe just like you.