Sonder: We are all egomaniacs—and that’s OK


My friend Brian used a word the other day I had never heard before. It was called Sonder. Essentially it means “the idea that everyone around you has a life that is just as intricate, detailed, and complex as your own.”

This isn’t earth shattering information, but it’s something that we aren’t consciously aware of during our daily lives.

The complexity of each individual life is the reason that we have to look out for ourselves. Think of the logistical nightmare of trying to manage every person’s life. This is why it’s imperative to lay out a system of ideas that we can all individually operate within.

Things like: “Do not kill,” fall pretty high on the priority list of societal rules.

Logistically we can’t spend all of our time addressing each individuals unique set of problems/concerns.

When it comes to fitness, to reach a large scale change, it’s not going to happen by simply telling everyone what to do, because there are too many answers for too many individuals.

What we CAN do, however, is to lay out some ideas and let people discover what they need as individuals the most. We need a fitness framework the same way we need a simple social framework.

What works for one person might break another person. One issue I have with many personal trainers is that they don’t respect the differences between individuals. If I say that some people are allergic to peanuts, everyone is cool with that, and it makes sense. But if I say there are exercises out there that have a chance to break certain people I’ll be called a heretic who just doesn’t understand how to coach whatever that exercise is. There is always risk vs reward and cost/benefit to everything you do. If you give people THE answer, you’ll never be able to help them find THEIR answer.

This is why we can’t put every individual in a box and give them all the exact same exercise prescription.

We typically gravitate toward people who share our same beliefs, and with exercise this is no different. One person may prioritize moving massive weights while one may favor doing gymnastics or surfing. Another may not have found anything they enjoy yet.

[bctt tweet=”If you give people THE answer, you’ll never be able to help them find THEIR answer.” via=”yes”]

You can’t force square pegs into round holes. Imagine if we were assigned our jobs based on a lottery. Some of us would be painters, and others would be lawyers, doctors, and welders. The problem with a system like this is you have taken away the freedom of choice, and with it, the ability for a person to maximize their total utility and happiness. When a person is able to choose what they want to do, they are able to achieve their maximum potential. Remember the example of the USA gymnastics and gold medals?

It’s not wrong to own a powerlifting-specific gym or a gymnastics-specific gym. It is wrong, to tell someone that everything but the thing that you do is bullshit—especially as an authority figure.

Exercise is a supplement…for most or us.

A long time ago, people realized that if they exercise their physical bodies, that life was better.
Life was better.

We later realized that with exercise, we were better at sports.
Better at sports.

The vast majority of the population are not interested in solely cultivating their physical bodies for the sake of doing so. Most of us want something more.

Look good
Feel good
Perform better

Being active should be fun, and when you take the fun out of it, those of us who don’t love exercising just for the sake of exercising are doomed to fail.

This is why people need a clear path to movement IMG_0313and activity in a general way that allows them to explore their options. Exercise should be fun and provide a foundation of movement for that exploration. This is largely why I created 5 Minute Flow and Ultimate Athleticism. Both provide a path that gives you the foundation for that exploration, regardless of where you start.

Don’t close any doors, you might be an amazing tennis player or love kayaking. You’ll never know unless you have a solid physical foundation that gives you the opportunity to explore your options and open as many doors as possible.

Better every day,
-Max

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