Learn. No matter how good you get, you don’t outgrow listening. Here, we’ve got the strongest man in the world and easily the most consistent injury-free fitness fanatic on planet earth both saying, “I don’t know it all; I can learn from anyone” (video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B5m-o9ijkAt/). If the strongest man on earth and a guy who hasn’t missed a day of lifting in 43 years can say it, who the hell do you think you are?
7 days per week I spend 1-2 hours reading published scientific research in the morning. I've done this consistently since 2009. It was a little less consistent from 2004-2009. However, most days, the most insightful new ideas I learn come from clients and peers with less experience than I have. All of the time I catch a new concept or angle on an old idea from novices, laypeople, and fitness professionals with just a few years under their belts.
So I have to marvel when people avoid listening, when they discontinue seeking guidance and input, or when they actively reject any possible feedback from others, especially seasoned professionals. In fitness efforts, people trap themselves in their own echo chambers of failure, rather than listen to new perspectives. There are people who hit challenges and then go out of their way to shut out anyone who's faced a same, similar, or greater challenge. In conspiracy theories, people invent complicated storylines to avoid learning from the vast experience of experts.
Don't mishear me. I've done it too. Through repeated life experiences, I've been let down many times by experts. Leading infectious disease specialists were completely incorrect about my later-confirmed Lyme infection. Medical specialists of every persuasion were the opposite of helpful with every health problem which my family members have faced. Some of the most experienced and most educated people I've known were proven dead wrong in expectations, diagnoses, and beliefs so many times that in our family and friend network we have suffered deaths and near-deaths dozens of times. Dozens. Based on empirical truth, experiential firsthand knowledge, I'd be a fool to unthinkingly accept the directives of authoritative organizations and experts. Their one-size-fits-all paradigms and abuse of averages and normative statistical metrics aren't just blunderingly corrosive, they're acutely destructive.
But we have to check ourselves. There is an embedded logical fallacy in this fact. Even a 100% fail rate track record doesn't mean that the next piece of advice contains NO value. I'd be a fool to unthinkingly accept some of the input. True. I've lost loved ones thanks to expert opinions. Also, true. That doesn't mean I should shut out all new ideas. Wrong people does not equal nothing-to-learn.
In fact, that so many experts or so wrong so much of the time merely means there's so much more to learn. We have FARTHER to go in our understanding. Backtracking and avoiding input isn't going to improve the situation. Increasingly going superficial in our approaches to systems doesn't get it done. Instead, we have to go deeper.
But that means we have to get humble. I too have heard many unhelpful pieces of advice. When it comes to fitness, I received nothing in return for abiding by the calories-in-calories-out hypothesis. I gained only orthopedic pain from that paradigm, and never got lean. Only when I focused on sufficiencies, stress management, restoration, and specific INCREASES in eating did I ever get super lean or muscular. Does that mean I never listen to ANY ideas coming from the cult-leaders who still preach the calorie religion? Absolutely not. I still listen. I'm searching for where they may have a new insight, even if their fundamental axioms are demonstrably without merit.
It's about practicality. Is there something worth hearing in the noise? Can a different point of view awaken within me creativity? Does the input of others challenge my problem solving skills to go deeper? The answer is "of course," but only when we get humble. We don't need to be served the answers any more than we must have all the answers. It isn't about the "true knowledge." No one has the "true knowledge." It's about expansion of the toolkit. When we check our egos, we find that anyone can help us expand our life toolkit.