My Journey

You don’t know my journey. Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, who is well worth following on social media by the way, said something recently that really struck me. Now, I’d considered it before, but maybe what he said really drove it home. We don’t really know what people are going through, or have been through, especially strangers. We don’t know where they are in their journey. Something that really pisses me off, for example, is people mocking overweight people doing exercise. They’re literally right in front of you, trying to change things, and you’re belittling them and their efforts. Think about the logic there.

What Dr. Nadolsky actually said was that, he’d conducted an informal survey on Instagram to highlight our biases. He asked, “If you saw someone who was 300 lbs walking down the street, what is your initial reaction?” 50% of people thought the person was lazy. Which, on the face of it, maybe it’s not nice, but you’d possibly think that that’s a reasonable assumption. Really though, there are any number of reasons people can be overweight; food addiction, all sorts of stress, from monetary to family life, a basic lack of knowledge, poor access to healthier foods, an injury, an illness, a lack of free time (say they’re working two jobs), and a sedentary job probably won’t help either.

Now, here’s the interesting bit. He then asked, what if you found out that this person has just lost 100 lbs, and this is where they’re currently at? The number of people who thought the person was lazy dropped to 10%. That means 40% of those people very likely unfairly judged that person, and labelled them as lazy, purely because of what they saw, rather that what they knew. Out of context, that’s how our bias works. Put things into context, and it can shine a whole new light on everything. You assume they’re lazy, when in fact they could be working incredibly hard to change their life, and succeeding.

It’s very easy to make snap judgements of people, particularly based on what we see, but when you dig a little deeper, you’ll probably find that what you discover totally changes your point of view. Think back to a time when you were struggling with something, maybe it was your weight, maybe it was a class or exam, maybe it was a sport, and maybe it was through no fault of your own. It wouldn’t, or didn’t, feel very nice if someone accused you of being lazy, or stupid, or talentless, when really they knew nothing about you, or what you were going through at that time. Perhaps, we could all stand to be a little nicer, a bit more understanding, and maybe reserve judgement, until we have as many facts as possible. If you want to know about someone’s journey, walk with them for a while, and talk to them. You’ll probably make their day. And I’ll be back next week.

Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer