You’re the worst judge

By Matt Perryman

In the worlds of exercise, there’s a concept called “referred pain”.

Let’s say you feel a sharp pain in a muscle in your upper back, around the neck. You rub it, put that ointment on it, maybe try to hit it with a tennis ball if you’re seasoned.

None of it works. You get temporary pain relief, maybe, but nothing fixes it for good.

This describes the situation a lot of people live with, in and outside of the gym. I’m no physiotherapist, but about 95 times in a hundred, if a somebody’s complaining about bad knees or a bad back, it’s got little to do with the knees or the back.

These phantom pains plagued me for many years until I figured out the game.

The pain is a symptom.

Symptoms don’t always indicate the cause.

Symptoms are liars.

Many years ago when I wrote a book about pounding your body into the dirt with daily max squats, that lightbulb came on.

Everything from pains and aches in muscles to feelings of tiredness are like the “check engine” light in your car.

That light serves a purpose, but it takes a fool to put 100% faith in it.

It’s better to think of the light as a cue. If it’s on, there’s something happening you ought to look into.

But that something might not be what it seems to be. You’ve got to do a little detective work to figure out if the real cause is what it appears to be.

For many years I had what I believed was a knot in my upper back… which turned out to be a tight spot in my upper pectorals.

Get to the real cause and it’s easier to solve the problem.

What to take from this?

Human beings are awful at understanding our bodies.

We’re also awful with understanding the causes of our problems, physical and otherwise.

This is ordinary, you understand. Basic humility says we shouldn’t over-estimate our powers — including our powers of self-deception and delusion.

Mistakes are natural and expected.

What will get you is overconfidence in that self-generated Bee Ess.

So many people are in love with their illusions.

I wonder sometimes if people are stupid, unable to process ideas, or if they’re so wrapped up in self-told lies that they don’t want to think otherwise.

If there is any difference.

In any instance where you’re involved with other human beings, whether you’re taking their directions or the boss dishing them out, you’ll face this stone wall of blindness.

It happens everywhere from personal trainers dealing with clients to customer service reps dealing with angry callers.

It’s easy to spot it in others.

The real sauce is seeing it in yourself… and having the character to let go of your comfy lies.

Matt Perryman 

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