Challenge Popular Thinking

quote-when-in-doubt-observe-and-ask-questions-when-certain-observe-at-length-and-ask-many-george-s-patton-78-84-68I would consider myself someone who goes against popular thinking.  I have my mother, a couple of amazing teachers, one coach, one doctor, my husband, and a very few close friends to thank for that.
I have chosen a small, but very exceptional circle of friends in my life so that I can continue to learn and grow throughout life.

I do not value popularity over good thinking, and I’ve made that very clear all my life by the decisions and actions I’ve made, some of which were the most unpopular of all.

Going against the grain, stepping off the beaten path, and asking questions requires a lot of backbone and big balls, because there is a good chance it will upset the masses, and make you very unpopular.  People will walk away from you.  People will judge you.  People will blame you.  Let them.  The only way to fly higher is to let go of the extra weight.

A lot of people do not like change, and they especially do not like when their comfortable level of thinking (or lack there of) is disturbed by a higher level of thinking that requires confrontation and action.

Popular thinking is safe and comfortable.  It involves little to no thinking for oneself.  There are no questions asked.  No education required.  It’s quick, easy, and accessible.  It can be impulsive, and have instant gratification.  There is little to no effort or hard work involved.  There are no risks.  And, it takes the burden of personal responsibility away.

It is much easier to do what other people do, and hope, or assume, that they have already thought it all out for you.

Popular thinking is following.

Popular thinking is strength in numbers…It is also how people like Hitler came into power.  It is how elections are won, bills get passed, donations are given, groups are formed, movements get established, and businesses gain profit.

And, I already know what many of you are saying to yourself right now, “OMG!  Hitler is an extreme example!  We would NEVER repeat history like that again!  I would NEVER do something like that!”

Actually…We are repeating history, in many forms, just in other ways that we tell ourselves are acceptable because we’re not actually putting innocent people into ovens this time.

Remember the whole case against vaccines and Autism?!  We were once told that a study proved the relationship between children getting vaccines and developing Autism, and suddenly there was a worldwide protest against vaccines!

Almost everyone eagerly jumped on the bandwagon.  It became popular thinking overnight.  We accepted it as truth without question.  If a doctor says it, and has a study to go with it, than it MUST be true, right?!  That’s how popular thinking works.  We willingly follow, and hope that this doctor has done all of the thinking for us, and got it right.

And then…This came out (click on the link):  http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/autism.vaccines/

And yet, even despite this blatant truth and confession, many, many people still choose to follow popular thinking that vaccines cause Autism to this day.  The damage has been done.

Now, I am NOT here to debate the topic of vaccines.  I do not have a science background, nor will I pretend to know enough about it all.  I have no idea what causes Autism.  And, unfortunately, none of us really do yet.  I’ll leave all that to the experts!

What I DO want to point out, though, is the ease at which we, the masses, were so willingly convinced of something with little to no questions asked, and little to no further education.  So many people adamantly and passionately supported the notion that vaccines caused Autism, and yet if anyone who was able to think outside the box asked a question, they didn’t have the answers, just the words of this one doctor and study.

But, they wouldn’t hesitate to cast stones at those who challenged this popular thinking.  You were considered a horrible parent if you gave your child vaccines.  You were an idiot if you didn’t believe it.  How could we possibly question this doctor and study?!

And so, the painful separations, strong judgments, and harsh behaviors were thus formed against each other – Vaccines versus No Vaccines.  Nazis versus Jews.  Yes, very different stories indeed, however, exact same manipulation of popular thinking by one powerful man.

Popular thinking means not thinking for oneself, offers false hope, is very slow to embrace change, and brings only average results, at best.

I have a challenge for you now…

THINK before you follow.  Unpopular thinking is severely underrated, unrecognized, and sorely misunderstood, and yet, it is the doorway to opportunity and progress!

Learn to seek out different ways of thinking, and appreciate thinking differently from your own.  Expose yourself to people different from yourself – People with different backgrounds, education levels, professions, personal interests, etc.  And, be mindful, because the people you spend the most time with are the ones who are creating the way you think.  So, if you spend more time with people who think outside the box, than you’re more likely to challenge popular thinking and grow.

Always ask questions.  It is too easy and tempting to stay in one mode that has proven to work for ourselves.  Sometimes, the greatest enemy to tomorrow’s success is today’s!  Challenge your own way of thinking, and challenge others.  Try something new in new ways.  Yes, that requires risk, mistakes, and possible failures.  But, it can also lead to huge success and change for the better.

Get used to being uncomfortable.  I can easily relate this to CrossFit and our workouts.  Popular thinking is comfortable.  It’s a snuggly old blanket.  Walking on a treadmill is comfortable, too.  However, if you want real results and success, you HAVE to get uncomfortable.

Challenge popular thinking.

Unpopular thinking leads to uncommon results!

Against-the-Wind

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P.S.  If you are still hung up on Hitler and vaccines, than unfortunately you completely missed the point of my blog, and I encourage you to read it again, please.  🙂

The Power of Acknowledgment

kitten_hugsac·knowl·edg·ment

akˈnälijmənt/
noun
noun: acknowledgement
  1. 1.
    acceptance of the truth or existence of something.
    “there was no acknowledgment of the family’s trauma”
  2. 2.
    the action of expressing or displaying gratitude or appreciation for something.
    “he received an award in acknowledgment of his work”
    • the action of showing that one has noticed someone or something.
      “he touched his hat in acknowledgment of the salute”
    • a letter confirming receipt of something.
      “I received an acknowledgment of my application”

    (SOURCE: Google Search)

Acknowledgement can go a very long way.  It is such a simple gesture, and yet all too often we fail to take the few seconds that it takes to actually give it.  Not intentionally or maliciously.  We just get “too busy” and wrapped up in our own realities.  We are human, and life is crazy.

But, if we can remember to slow down for even a few seconds each day to acknowledge someone else, it will literally change your life.

And, I don’t mean the everyday, repetitive acknowledgments that we give, like, “Good job,” or “Way to go.”  While those are nice…They go into the same category as the everyday, “Hey, how are you” line we give everyone on the streets and in the stores.  They are just “fillers.”  Well intended, but not enough.

I’m talking about genuine, thoughtful acknowledgment.

When a client finally breaks parallel in their front squat after months and months of mobility and consistency, we need to take the 5 seconds to say, “Oh my gosh, John, I’m so proud of you!  You broke parallel finally, and it’s all because of the months of hard work you put in!”

When your son puts his dirty socks into the laundry hamper, instead of saying, “It’s about time,” take the 5 seconds to say, “Thank you for putting your dirty socks into the hamper.  That is very helpful to me every time you do that.”

When a stranger holds the door open for you, instead of giving a quick hand gesture and walking right by him, take the 5 seconds to look at his eyes and say, “Thank you for holding the door for me.  It’s nice to see that chivalry still lives!”

When the janitor keeps the bathroom spotless and running, rather than taking it for granted and saying it’s his job, take the 5 seconds one day out of the blue to shake his hand and say, “Thanks for always keeping the bathroom so nice.  It really makes a difference here and everyone notices and appreciates it, including me.”

When a friend gives your kids a ride home from school for the millionth time, take 5 seconds to give her a hug next time she drops them off and say, “I really appreciate you always picking up my kids after school and bringing them home for me.  I wouldn’t be able to do the things I do without your help, so I hope you know what a difference you make in our lives.”

Next time you’re walking the dog, pick some flowers from the field and give them to your wife, and take the 5 seconds to say, “I love you and thought of you when I saw these flowers.  You’re a great mom to our kids, and I appreciate how hard you work for us.”

When your husband takes the trash outside like he always does every Tuesday night, rather than comparing how many more chores you do around the house than he does, when he comes back inside one night, stop him and say, “I hope you know that I do notice the little things you do around the house, and I appreciate it.  I love you.”

And, next time you’re checking out at the grocery store, and the same sweet lady who has checked you out for the past year greets you and remembers your daughter’s birthday, be sure to take 5 seconds and say to her, “You know, I always love coming here because of you, and I appreciate how invested you are in your job and the community.  We only ever talk during these brief encounters, but you still manage to remember my daughter’s birthday among the hundreds you see every day.  Thank you!”

Acknowledgement takes 5 seconds.

But, it can last days, months, years, and even a lifetime for someone.  It really is that powerful!

In a world of can’ts, won’ts, don’ts, didn’ts, shouldn’ts, and haters, it is easy to fall prey to negativity and self-righteousness.  Lots of criticisms and opinions to be given.  It’s easy to nit-pick others, say that we could do it better, and how it “should” be done.

But, most of us are doing the best we can with what we have at that moment!

So, here’s a positive challenge for you…

Every day, take 5 seconds to genuinely acknowledge someone.

And then see the magic happen…

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