elitefts™ Sunday edition

EFS Classic: Under the Bar – Rumor Mill

“A rumor without a leg to stand on will get around some other way.” – John Tudor

”Rumor travels faster, but it don't stay put as long as truth.” – Will Rogers (1879 - 1935), 'Politics Getting Ready to Jell,' The Illiterate Digest, 1924

”A groundless rumor often covers a lot of ground.” – Anonymous

”A rumor is one thing that gets thicker instead of thinner as it is spread.” – Richard Armour

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it." – The Buddha


n: gossip (usually a mixture of truth and untruth) passed around by word of mouth [syn: rumour, hearsay] v: tell or spread rumors; "It was rumored that the next president would be a woman" [syn: rumour, bruit]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

Who Cares?

Who cares what other people think? If you stick to what you believe and stay true to your vision, then why should it really matter what someone else says about you, your lifts, your business, your school, your team or anything else? The only reason you could really care in the first place is if you're not true to your vision and are instead looking for the reassurance and respect of others to get what you really need. Let me put this into better perspective, let’s assume you tell me your goal is to have the best sports training center in the world (or personal training center, power team, best total, it really does not matter what IT is). As you're building this center, you begin to hear the rumors. Some of these are positive and true, while others are not-so-positive and may be down-right lies or personal attacks. Most of the people I know will get all pissed off about this and begin to form a return attack. How dare they say I suck, my business sucks or my lifts suck! What gives them the right? Then, you spend the rest of the day with this floating around in your head. You may even lose some sleep over it. You plan a strategy for your attack. You could call them, send them an e-mail, see them in person, post on a forum, or use another means of communication. You may even consider pulling a friend into the mix, figuring if you tell them, then it will get back to the source. Two days later you begin to cool off. Maybe you retaliated, maybe you did not. Either way, you are back to your own life now.


My question would be, what the hell happened to the one or two days you lost being pissed off planning your attack? They are now gone forever. That’s right, FOREVER. Could you have used this time working toward your most important original goal? Could you have used this time thinking about your own business, training or life plan? Could you have used the lost sleep? Would you have a better training session without this crap on your mind all day? You see, even if you didn't do anything to get back, you still lost the battle. Who ever started the rumor won the battle. The thing is, they did not only win, they did something worse. They sent you off-track of your original purpose. Sure, it may be only one day (one day, one minute or even one second can make a hell of a difference in your life), but how many times per year does this happen?


What I'm trying to say is that you have a choice. You can either choose your own path, or the path of someone else. We all have to understand that other people can’t make you feel one way or another. We have to decide that ourselves. We decide our own reactions to any given stimulus. If someone says your lifts don't count because they were not done in XYZ federation, then you decide how you will react to it. You can either blow it off, or let it get to you. You decide how you react; nobody else has this power but you. So when you do begin to get stressed out, just remember that you're doing this to yourself. There were many times I got upset about various things (damn Yoda’s) and have tried to take it out in the gym. I remember one time I was all fired up because of a few stories I received about a few coaches – trainers who hold themselves in very high regard. What I was told about them basically flipped me off the handle because I feel you have to live what you preach. For example, if you're going to tell someone how to get a big bench, then you better of had or have a big bench. If you're going to tell someone how to get 21-inch arms, then you had better have some jacked-up arms. If you're going to write a program for someone, then you better make sure you have used the program on yourself. This is just how I feel and what I used to build a business on. When I hear otherwise, it kills me. On this one occasion, I called Jim up and begin my rant. After a few minutes he asked me, “You feel better now?” Hell no, I don’t feel better. So I go on and on for another five minutes and get asked again, “So you feel better now?” Then, it hit me. He could care less about the whole deal. He had other things to do than listen to me bitch about something that really isn't going to make a difference in his life. I must have took him away from a pizza and began to feel bad about holding him back from the pie he needed to eat to get his weight up. Do you see how this works and spins out of control? One person does something stupid to set someone off (in this case they were just being who they are), then that someone (me) gets worked up causing stress and frustration. So what do I do? I call someone else to make the situation worse. At some point, it will always stop. This is always when someone could really care less because they have more important stuff to do. I had the chance to make a decision. Would it affect me or not? I decided to let it affect me and then paid the price for it (frustration and stress).

Who said what?

One huge example of this has to do with internet training forums. Forums can be and many times are a great thing. They provide a community experience where people can exchange training information, stories and experiences. The value in this one aspect alone can’t be measured. These places could very well hold the key to the one thing you were missing for years. There could be one person out there who had to deal with the same training weak points that you're dealing with. If you could find this person, then your training would take off to a new level. In theory, these forums could work just the same as a warm-up room at a powerlifting meet, various lobbies, gyms, hotel rooms, bars and restaurants or anywhere else a group of lifters and/or coaches meet in one place. In my experience, this is where the real learning happens. It doesn't happen in books, journals or articles. It happens in real time...in real life. Forums have the ability to offer the same type of resource. The problem is, it doesn't happen. The reason for this is TOO many people get bent-out-of-shape about how other people feel. Most people would rather gossip than talk training. I quit reading most of these a couple years ago, but I do know that many of the strongest lifters (from every federation) and coaches (from all areas) have read, or at one time, have posted, on a forum. When I speak with these people, I used to always ask if they were ever asked a training question. The answer used to surprise me, but I was told the same thing so many times that I quit even asking. I was told EVERY time I asked that they were never asked a training question, but they were asked what they thought about so-and-so’s squat, or what do they thought about this or that federation. This is the very reason most of them never posted again or left the site. As I stated before, they have better things to do. Now, when I asked them if they would've answered a few training questions and the answer was always yes. So how could this happen? The reason is very simple. Most people aren't willing to look at a situation from any other side but their own. Because of this, they see a post that may or may not agree with what they believe and then have to make their own post. It turns into a cat fight with no real debating going on. Both people have no idea where the other is coming from and the rest of us look on and watch in complete enjoyment (or amazement in my case). This is much like watching a reality TV show. My goal is not to make you stop going to forums because they're great places if you have the time. My goal is to try and open your eyes so you can see it for what it really is. Believe me, if you're one of those who get fired up about what you read, then all you're doing is making life better for many of those who are posting. Everyone has his or her own way of seeing the world. If we all understood this, then we'd all be much happier. Since this will never happen and was the case since the dawn of time, then I guess all we can really do is decide how it will affect us personally.

Will it make a difference?

I used to work for a manager that was great at turning things around in record time. I view my time with him as a huge learning experience in my life. The one skill he used best was listening. If I came to him bitching about a subordinate staff member, he would hear me out, ask probing questions and do his best to see the entire situation for all it was worth. Then, he would repeat the entire story back to me in his own words and then ask me if he was correct in his understanding. I would either say yes or fill in the gaps. If I had to fill in the gaps he would repeat it again and ask if he understood where I was coming form. Each and every time after I said yes he would say, “So what are you going to do about it?” Now it all fell back on me to fix the problem, not only that, but I was also accountable for fixing the problem. Many of these times I did not want to fix the problem at all. Then I was asked, "Why are you so upset about it?" Basically he taught me that I was accountable for fixing my own problems and if I did not want to be part of the solution, to either live with it or shut the hell up. We will still get fired up from time to time (I know I will), it is just a matter of remembering where we are going and if it really will help us get there or not.