At the risk of being preachy…
I was raised to think for myself. Which was a miracle when you consider the time, location and general society I came from. By all rights I should have been firmly entrenched in one belief system or another and lived my life according to that system’s particular tenets.
Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave.
But… for whatever reason my family both immediate and extended were all cut from other cloth. Live and let live, choose your own path and allow others to choose theirs. And different paths aren’t wrong just because they don’t align with yours.
This could be due to the fact that all my family and relatives on my mother’s side were voracious readers. They were all dirt poor, too poor to buy a pot to piss in as my aunt said on many occasions but they could beg or borrow or buy (never steal) books. Libraries, book mobiles, each other, discards from stores who would toss books that didn’t sell by their expiration date and send the front covers back for reimbursement, you name it they would find a way to get books.
As a result of all that reading you can’t not be exposed to so many viewpoints and life lessons and the like. I grew up on The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Robert Heinlein, Louis L’Amour, books who’s heroes were heroes. They fought for what was right, righted wrongs and got into wonderful adventures.
I never so wanted to be born a Sackett at that time than anything else in my life.
One of the things I’ve decided for myself at some point in my life is that people like to have their decisions and choices affirmed. I think for a lot of people there is an innate need for affirmation for a choice and this leads to the friction that people have at all levels of societies. No one likes to have a choice be wrong and what better way to be right than to have everyone else agree with you? And if they don’t agree with you? Then convince them to do so.
So you end up with the people who are ‘fanboys’ and go beyond that. Whether it’s which console is better, or which religion is better or which [whatever] is better these differences of choice can create an over abundance of… enthusiasm in a person in trying to make sure everyone else agrees with them and makes the same choice.
“That’s great and all, but why are you writing about this?”
Good question, it’s because I’m watching YT videos about running. And as I dig deeper into the videos available I run across the proponents of “This is the only way to [whatever]”. It could be diet, or stack height, or simply the best way to carry water on a run.
Specifically what triggered this post are the videos on diet I’ve come across today by runners that are telling me that if I’m not [vegan/vegetarian/carnivore/keto/low carb/high carb/fat adapted/non dairy/nothing with a face] then I’m an idiot and wrong.
Obviously they can’t all be right because they’re 100% at odds with each other. Each ‘food base’ points to their individual champions as proof and throws them out there as the end all be all evidence they’re right.
I’m here to say that I bet you could take any of these champions, they’re not even a percent of a percent, they’re unique and precious snowflakes, runners and they would excel regardless of what you fed them. There are pivotal figures in ultra running who only get by on plants or meats or sugars and they’re so far above the rest of us as to be off the bell curve much less at the end of it.
Bottom line, my advice is, if you have a view point, then present it in a calm rational manner and explain how it works for you and do not imply or outright insist that any other choice than your own is wrong, only that it’s different.
You’re not going to convince the people who already agree with you, by definition. And your rabid insistence you’re right is going to turn away far more people than if you just presented your opinion as a personal choice and not one that if the listener doesn’t follow they’re idiots.
Let me reiterate, people do not like to be told their choices are wrong, doing so causes them to immediately shut down their thinking and listening centers and at best you’ll get polite nods and blank stares. The human version of the “Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave.”
I’m perfectly willing to listen and learn and re-evaluate my choices but I don’t respond well to people who aren’t willing to return the favor.