Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Everybody's an Expert

"Like a group of blind men, led by a man who is himself blind" (Mundaka Upanisad, Ch.1, verse 2.8)
In a previous post I said there's a lot of information available in the world. But it's a problem when you get the wrong information. Usually, this occurs when it comes from another person. It happens a lot in regards to exercise & nutrition. People are so enthusiastic to get in shape (which is good), but they will almost listen to anything they find/hear/read and then to make matters worse, this faulty knowledge gets passed along to someone else. Let's take a look at some silly things I've heard.
  • At the salad bar, "you shouldn't eat tomatoes, they have sugar" and this is while they both have chicken fingers on their plates.
  • Girl giving advice to her friend says "Only eat complex carbs. From the cereals here, you can eat Special K."
  • "Running is the best exercise."
You get the picture.

Where's all this come from? Can whatever you were told be properly explained? can sources be cited for it? If not sources, at least a credible person with an established name in the field?

People don't do enough questioning, but instead plain follow any advice. This article explains how personal trainers need stricter standards before being hired. Why? Because it's dangerous to allow any hired joe schmoe being able to tell you what to do with your body. Ask to see some credentials and what's their education background. How do you even know if they're going to do a good job if you don't take time to learn about them?

This trend, unfortunately, plagues any field. I'm done with the bulk of my psychology major (1 class & 1 lab left) and even I don't give advice to other people on the matter. Yet, I constantly see others give help to someone else. Sure, their intentions are good, but the fact is, they're not educated on the subject. Even if you might not have a degree in it, do you learn your material from successful professionals in the area? It's good to learn from others, but only when they are good at what they do.

In closing, don't be a dumb-dumb. You hear something, double-check with it. Don't be silly enough to believe whatever is tossed your way. You don't want to be like the group in the Upanisad quote, be better than that.

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