As I sit on a plane home, having now been groped by 3 different members of TSA, as well as having my carry on bag taken hostage, I think back on this past weekend in Canada where I spoke at the Okanagan Strength and Conditioning Conference.
First, the hosts, Greg and Chris, did a ridiculous job making my stay comfortable and went WAY above and beyond reason—I think Canadian Hospitality may be the secret to world peace. I really hope I get to come back.
Not only that, it is so obvious that they strive to get an awesome line-up of speakers from all over the world and I know how much time and resources that can require. All of the attendees (and myself) benefitted from all the lectures and hands on sessions.
I learned the importance of flexibility, not only in your body, but your mind and your actions. My presentation was the 2nd to last one on the first day, and as I was watching the other lectures, I had to laugh. The presenter before me, James, went off on the importance of the diaphragm and breathing for the better part of 30 minutes. My plan had been to discuss the importance of proper breathing in setting up a solid foundation for the shoulders, hips, spine, and neck, but that was the cornerstone of his talk. Given that, I adjusted my lecture and used that additional time to go into a little more depth on the shoulder.
Rather than continue to beat the point of proper breathing into the ground, I adapted. I think this provided significantly more value to the attendees, and provided everyone with much better utility.
I didn’t agree with all the other lecturers, and that was OK. Some people tend to have such fanatical blind faith to an idea or opinion that it clouds their ability to even think anymore. Fortunately I was dealing with professionals and our tactful dissent was met with conversation and questions rather than name calling, and eventually physical violence, as is the norm for most interactions regarding differences of opinion in the strength and conditioning industry, politics, or religion.
I was also reminded something else that is maybe the most important.
Be a student forever.
A lot of people say this, and it’s true, but there is one additional component:
Be a student forever and learn new things frequently, but don’t be quick to abandon what has already been working.
A common problem I see when any professional attends a course is that they leave so fired up that they have finally “found” “THE” answer. That they completely abandon what they’ve been doing and dive headlong into this new idea. Instead I want us to continue to take the Bruce Lee approach and instead simply “absorb what is useful.”
It’s normal for you to listen to a speaker and think, “oh that’s cool, I’ll definitely do that—but that other thing, no chance.”
Here’s the truth folks, a lot of things work. Many different roads will take you to the same place.
Traditional PT works.
Breathing exercise works.
Joint mobility works.
Nerve flossing works.
Eye exercise works.
Trigger point therapy works.
It’s entirely possible that a person could try using every single one of the above options to help someone overcome some lower back issues. Your commitment to “Better” is the important step in the right direction.
Remember at the end of the day, to just get a little bit better than you were before. What you do to get better is part of your journey—and what makes life worth living: that self discovery.
To sum up, never stop learning, absorb what is useful, and go to Canada because it is awesome up there.
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