Posts Tagged ‘TED Talks’

What does being unpopular mean?

The thought of being unpopular used to be one of my biggest fears. It may come as a shock to you, but throughout my life I have struggled with feeling as though I should do whatever it takes to be liked by most people. This belief has allowed me to maintain friendships far longer than I should have, it’s encouraged me to give far more than I knew I’d ever get back from people, and it’s lead to me to being walked all over by others because I felt too awkward to stand up for myself. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve realized that most of those relationships have helped mold me into the man I am today. I’m proud that I’ve been able to learn and grow from many of those moments.

In the video posted below, Rethinking Unpopular: Erika Napoletano at TEDxBoulder 2012, Erika describes her difference between being “unpopular” and being “unlikeable.” Being unpopular, she explains, means making decisions based on honoring two groups of people: those who will love us for everything we are (and everything we aren’t), and ourselves. Being unlikeable, however, stems from the belief that everything revolves around us. When applying that distinction to my job as a personal trainer, it means although I may not always make the most popular decision in the gym, I’ll always make the one that has the best interest of my athletes at the forefront of my mind.

My goal in coaching the way I do is not to try to impress other people. In fact, the older I get, the less I try to impress others, and the less apologetic I am about my desire to add value. Relinquishing the need for validation of any kind has allowed me to truly give as much of myself as possible, simply to try and improve the lives of others.


If you watch the video, you’ll hear her hilarious story about the graphic above. For the purpose of MY post, let’s change the word “Swear” to the word “Care.” I can’t explain why I care so much about my athletes, but I do. When I lead a class, my style of music may not be the most popular, but I’ll rarely play songs with lyrics that offend an entire room. I often stop athletes from adding weight to their bar when form starts to break down, which may lead to some not wanting to take classes I lead. (I think that it also leads to fewer athletes getting injured on my watch, however.) I regularly suggest that the volume of a workout be reduced or movements scaled based on an athlete’s ability or experience. While this decision may bruise an ego here and there in the short term, it usually leads to those same people being able to come back the next day instead of being so sore they can barely move. They’re not always popular decisions, but they always ones that come from a place of caring, and a place that prioritizes safety over everything else.

To some, these choices are logical and expected by a coach. To others, they’re an attack on the abilities and character of an athlete. I’m not able to control how others react. When I lay my head on my pillow at night, though, I know that I tried to help every single person I came in contact with in the gym that day. Being so unapologetic in those decisions makes me feel really good about what I do.

Every day I hope that through my actions over time, I will build the trust of those around me and prove to them that I always have their back. For those who don’t feel that way, over time, they’ll slowly move on. While that scenario doesn’t always make me happy, that’s how it goes, and it’s alright to let those people out of my “blanket fort” of life.

Please take the time to watch the video below. Let it inspire you to reassess and remind yourself why it is that you do what you do. Today, I’m more comfortable with the thought of being unpopular than I ever have been, because I know the choices I make at work are made to try and help others.

Love me, hate me, just don’t be indifferent!” she says. I feel the same way!

This. Kid. Is. AMAZING.

At 11 years old, Birke Baehr knows more about nutrition, the source of much the food we’re fed each day, and the message the media tries to deliver to us, than most adults I know. Animal and Produce Farms often times follow “less than desirable” practices with their food and livestoc, and Birke shares just a few of them with us, too.

I’m not sitting here suggesting that we boycott “The Man”, and only shop through local co-ops and higher-priced supermarkets. That is an unrealistic overnight change to make for most of us. What I am suggesting, however, is that we take the time to learn a little bit more about the food we buy and eat, and realize that spending another $1 per pound on chicken that was treated in a much more humane and natural way could end up paying itself back to us (in nutritional value your own health), far more than that one dollar we could have saved!

Please watch (and SHARE) this video so more people can hear his powerful message.

“And that, my friends, is how we can make a difference… one kid at a time!”

Today’s thought of the day is about “knowledge”. Many people (in our context, let’s say personal trainers), will make claims about knowing “more” than someone else, and state that their value which they can offer you is more than that of another trainer or gym.

Now while I 1000% believe in the constant expansion of a trainer’s knowledge base, and I think we should learn and try and read and consider other and new ideas constantly, I do not believe in ever trying to compare yourself to anyone else. There are so many different things that we can learn about and focus on, yet quite frankly, those things have little to no bearing on one’s effectiveness as a coach/trainer of actual people.

I know some INCREDIBLY knowledgeable individuals with allll sorts of letters after their name (Certifications, Degrees, etc) who couldn’t teach someone in layman’s terms how to pick something up off of the ground. Conversely, I also know people who have watched a 4-minute how-to video on the YouTubes, yet could probably lead a complete newbie through a safe clean and press after a few minutes.

The key for me, is to be someone who knows how to safely teach movements we perform, and do it in a way that makes sense to each individual athlete! Some people can hear and adapt concepts to their own actions. Other athletes need hands-on instruction of the “trial-and-error” sense until they can FEEL the movements themselves. That is what I love about coaching so much. You may need to explain the same concepts in 20 different ways to 20 different people in order for the message to get through effectively.

So it’s not about how much you know. Once you can ensure that your athletes are being as safe as possible, then it’s about your individual ability as a coach (and human) to communicate with whoever it is that’s in front of you. So to get better at coaching, I would absolutely recommend reading and learning more. At the same time, however, spend time in front of your athletes and focus as well on improving your craft. In that sense, we are all our own unique people. No two coaches will ever be the same.

This all ties into our video below somehow, believe it or not! Read the summary, which is copied directly from the TED Talks description for the video:

“Gravity. The stars in day. Thoughts. The human genome. Time. Atoms. So much of what really matters in the world is impossible to see. A stunning animation of John Lloyd’s classic TEDTalk from 2009, which will make you question what you actually know.”

John Lloyd opens the clip by, basically, telling us that we (as a people) actually know very little… about anything! Check out the video below, and try to put “knowledge” into perspective a little bit after watching. Hope you like this one!


My good friend Molly King is amazing. You know this if you’ve followed my blog because anything she’s shared with us has been mind-blowing and awesome. Ok, enough about her, let’s get onto the next incredible thing she’s shared via facebook.

Today’s Thought of the Day:
The ‘pursuit of happiness’ is often backwards in our culture. Watch this video and see if you fall into that trap, or if you have “correctly” prioritized things to help make you as positive as possible… every day!

I am a huge fan of talks and presentations that ask people to question things. Big things. Topics like “How can my actions, thoughts, and beliefs fundamentally impact my true state of happiness?”

Shawn Achor (Positive Psychology Expert), delivers this TED Talk at TEDxBloomington called “The Happy Secret to Better Work” and it is awesome. Aside from delivering some VERY funny material, the issues he brings up ring oh-so-true with me, and I hope with many of you, too.

A few highlights of his presentation, and some of my summary/thoughts about them:

“If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average…”
~ He explains how instead of ELIMINATING the “outliers” to cater to the average in the world, as our culture likes doing (that whole one-size-fits-all mentality), that we should instead spend more time focusing on people who excel in things. The goal shouldn’t be to bring everyone DOWN to the average, but instead to raise the average UP to those people who are great!

(When asked what Harvard students could possible have to be UNhappy about)
“What that question assumes is that our EXTERNAL world is predictive of our happiness levels. When in reality, if I know everything about your external world, I can only predict 10% of your long-term happiness. 90% of your long-term happiness is predicted not by your external world, but by the way your brain processes the world. And if we change… our formula for happiness and success, what we can do is change the way that we can then effect reality.”
~ Funny how that works, huh? The old American saying of trying to “Keep up with the Jones'”, or… the family that “looks” the prettiest, happiest, richest, etc… is FUNDAMENTALLY flawed. Instead, that actually has just as much truth to it as “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.” Does money/success/wealth (in whatever sense you mean wealth) lead to happiness? Potentially there could be ZERO correlation between the two. So yeah, the poorest family on the block might have the house filled with the most love and happiness imaginable. Take ANY situation (person with the nicest car/job/clothes/things) and put those material items into perspective. At the end of the day, true happiness is found within your head and your heart.

“We need to reverse the (current) formula for happiness and success”
~ Exactly true. As he points out, right now the goal is to get THE BEST of everything. The reason for that is because we think that WHEN we get “that thing”, that we’ll be happy. What ends up happening instead? If and when we do get it, we just set the bar even higher. You grow up, grow old, and then die… potentially never having been happy or proud of ANYTHING you’ve done. Only because you always wanted more. So sad.

Stop for a minute and think of THREE THINGS you’re proud of RIGHT NOW in your life.

Seriously… do it. You can post it in the comments section here for everyone to see and discuss, or you can keep it to yourself. But smile and be proud of yourself for a minute.

Three Things I’m Proud Of/Grateful For:
1- That I get the privilege to coach AMAZING people everyday and see the positive changes they choose to make in their lives!
2- That I have several jobs, my own car, a place to live, and food on the table every day. So many people may never experience that “comfort” a single time in their entire lives.
3- That despite how immature I was growing up at times, that I have an absolutely amazing family filled with love and support for one another. Without them, I would be nowhere. I love them!

See? Man, that feels good!

I got this video from a buddy of mine, and had to share it with you guys. For those of you who have had the distinct privilege of visiting me in one of my apartments, one theme has been consistent: Boxes.

I’m a bit (understatement) of a “Pack Rat”, and believe it or not, it’s getting MUCH better every time I move. BUT…. it still needs to be addressed on a much larger scale.

The Thought of the Day for this Friday afternoon:

With MOST things in life, can “Less” truly = “More”?

Let me know what you think.

Ric Elias was on board the flight that landed in the Hudson.

Here’s the description from the TED page of what this video is about:
“Ric Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? At TED, he tells his story publicly for the first time.”

The reason for this post is for me to ask you all…

What would it take for you to change your outlook on life?

I ask because we always see these shows and specials and hear these stories of people who experience near-death events and how their lives change forever. Why does it need to take such a big and potentially tragic event for so many of us to change the way we act?

Why can’t we identify things in our lives that we want to change… and change them now? Since it’s August 1st, I am challenging everyone to pick ONE thing that you want to change, or improve, and start working towards it.

What are you going to work on? I’m interested to know!

Click below to see the entire page from the TED Website:
Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crashed