Red pill, blue pill, black pill, white pill.
It’s the age of the pill.
They say that illness is a multi-billion dollar industry. If you thought that such judgments belonged to the realm of the fringe conspiracy weirdo, the last 2 years ought to have cured your skepticism.
Back when I was big-time into lifting, this was always on my mind. You might be one of my old-school readers from way back, when I had regular verbal knife-fights with “fitness professionals” for hucksterish and clown-like practices while hawking their wares to the public.
Truth is, I don’t hate marketing. I didn’t then and I don’t now.
I sure don’t begrudge anyone for making a living by building their own business. With bruise-black economic and political thunderheads crackling and booming on the horizon, having your own source of income and wealth might be the only way to keep your head above water in coming years.
In saying that, there’s another side to the coin. A lot of that stuff I used to pick on really was junk.
Paying $49 for a PDF full of workouts… that were just like the workouts you’d get for free at dozens of online websites… which were themselves near-identical to any workout of the month you’d pick up in a print magazine 30 years ago.
Yeah, look, there’s a mindset shift that comes when you pay money for something. A free workout might be free as in beer… and you’ll probably value it just as much and for just as long.
Drop a fitty on that same workout and you’re paying a lot more attention to it. I get that part.
There’s a more sinister angle. I called it the “treadmill of shiny things”.
If you’re working in Silicon Valley, you want innovation. It’s a great thing.
If you’re trying to build a great body (whatever that means for you), innovation is catastrophic. You don’t need to “change it up” with a fresh workout routine every four weeks.
You need to organize your mise en place — get your plan sorted, tools in position, ingredients handy — and get set for the slog.
Hard work toward a concrete goal is the only honest answer… but just try paying your rent with honest answers. Marketing health and fitness products is all about selling the fast, easy, simple, and painless.
The marketers need to sell you more stuff, and they do that by pitching you the next no-brainer quick-win.
You, the poor lost soul looking for guidance, need a plan, consistency, and the mental discipline to consistently stick to your plan.
It’s a clash of incentives. Human psychology likes new and different. We buy cures, not prevention. Marketers know that and give it to you, good and hard.
That makes your un-wellness into somebody else’s business model.
You can’t sell a cure to the healthy person.
Yeah, I know I said I wasn’t writing about working out anymore, and in truth I’m not. Take a bigger-picture perspective.
What are you being told, and by whom? What is their incentive? Is it really to help you… or is it to keep you sick, frail, fragile, and… dependent on them?
One of the best lessons I ever did learn was this:
Look at capabilities, not intentions.
A promise from a total stranger is just words. Empty suits flapping their gums. You don’t know what’s really going on in another person’s head unless your name is Charles Xavier.
What do they have the power to do to you?
Unlike people, power tells no lies.
The people who should have the most interest in keeping you healthy, wealthy, and wise have every incentive to do the opposite.
Be wary of those who tell you that they care about your well-being and the “greater good”…
… while having the power and the incentive to keep you sick, broke, and compliant.
Take it easy.
– Matt P