elitefts™ Sunday edition

It's Not You. It's Them.

This is going to be a little bit of a rant about life (something of which many people will contend I know very little about), but it's something I've thought about lately, and some thoughts that might be helpful to athletes, coaches, and regular people who get up in the morning and go to work every day. I saw this quote last week, and I thought it was perfectly applicable to a lot of the stuff we talk about on this site:

"I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn't weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird." – Paul McCartney

Normal vs. Weird

If you go to the park, strap an iPod to your upper arm, crank up the John Mayer, and jog for 45 minutes, you're normal. If, instead, you're a 275+ pound guy who runs up and down the hill in the middle of the park until you throw up, you're weird.

If you go to a commercial gym and stand in front of a mirror doing dumbbell curls for an hour, you're normal. If you spend an hour in a power rack, stacking plates on the bar, and then go outside to the parking lot and push a metal sled around that was in the back of your truck, you're weird. Society takes a look at you and simply decides that you don't belong.

This also extends to the rest of the world, and it can give you a complex if you let it, especially with regard to work. You can get into situations where you go to work every day, and you're labeled as "different" by the people you have to work with. Maybe you don't interact the way they think you should. Maybe your standards for what's acceptable and what's not – in terms of the quality of work – are different. We've all been there before – in situations where the theme from the Twilight Zone should be playing as soon as we walk through the door first thing in the morning.

You're Awake. They're Asleep.

And you know what? It can make you seriously question yourself. On bad days (and we all have them), you can walk into those situations thinking it's YOU who have everything wrong, and you wonder if you can ever get things right before you get shitcanned. If you're thinking that way, here's my advice to you:


Even though you might be right, and you might be some f-ed up individual whose perceptions of the world are all screwed up, there's a better chance that this impression you have of yourself is totally wrong. It may NOT be you, and it may actually be THEM. Think about this in gym terms. Look around the gym and see what people are doing. Who's the f--k up? You? No, it's not you. It's them. THEY'RE the ones who have no clue what they're doing. So much so, in fact, that it's comical to you. It's like you're awake, and they're all asleep, right?

This can work the same way in life, I'm finding. Whether you put yourself there or not, it's possible to be in the wrong environment where everyone BUT you is a complete f--k up. I'm not saying this is always the case, and you need to do some serious introspection in order to figure out what the real issue is, but my point here is that FAR too often, we write ourselves off as the cause of the problem – when, in fact, we're not. The "everyone here is f-ed up but me" hypothesis is one that SHOULD actually be on the table sometimes, because thinking and acting differently is how shit actually gets done in the world.

Life's Process

Look at any innovator in society – from inventors to great athletes to world leaders. It seems to me that life has a two-step process for guys like this:

1. Ridicule the shit out of the guy when he's trying to do something, and make him think there's something seriously wrong with him for not being a lemming and conforming to everything everyone else is doing.

2. Give the guy a ticker tape parade when he accomplishes something, and canonize him for not listening.

It seems to me that we could skip the first step and allow people to innovate in peace when they're a little bit off the beaten path from the rest of society, but I guess we don't know what people are working on until we see a finished product. My point here, however, is that it's not always you. You're not always wrong, and it's possible for the majority to be the f-ed up ones, and not the individual with a goal and a plan to achieve it.