I was in the gym yesterday. A guy roughly my age was “working out.” Except he wasn’t.
I thought it was a hidden camera show. What he did was so nonsensical, so wrong and so unhelpful as to be laughable if it weren’t for the fact he thought he was exercising.
My writing skills aren’t up to explaining just how what he was doing wasn’t exercising any muscles. It was a caricature of what exercising should look like: a combination of using body weight coupled gravity to accomplish 2-3 inch movement of the plates on the exercise machine.
But he was very serious and seemingly purposeful and so completely wasting his time. He asked nobody for feedback, including me. It wasn’t my place to tell him he was clueless.
It did beg the question: how often do we take some action that is completely and totally futile? Are we laboring under the delusion that we are accomplishing something when we really aren’t?
That’s why it is important to watch ourselves, or have someone we trust do it for us.
Video isn’t always practical but when it is, it is one of the most powerful feedback tools available to us. A trusted friend or colleague who knows what is correct form or a meaningful effort can guide us. But we’ve got to ask for feedback. Unless you choose denial as a legitimate strategy, it pays to ask someone, “Am I doing this correctly?” Reading a book, or even a magazine about what we are trying to do, is a major step in the right direction.
But despite what Woody Allen said about showing up being 80% of success, the unknown exerciser here is proof even that isn’t always the case.
This morning I saw a White House staffer do an interview on CNN where 80% of her responses to questions began with the annoying use of “Look, what I’m saying..” or “Look, the point is…” Really, we don’t have to LOOK every time and your unconscious use of the word LOOK is beyond irritating. I can only hope this person watches the video and sees their own downfall so it can be corrected.