When it comes to losing body fat, gain muscle and strength, and improving one’s health, the lack of this knowledge is potentially threatening.
I believe the greatest threats to your goals (whether it be health and fitness, stress management or productivity) is the lack of self-awareness.
Again, there is no one way to think about this. Using other people for motivation isn’t just good. Judging yourself based on others is not all bad.
It is what it is. And that’s different for everyone. It all starts with you, as an individual. Then, it takes self-awareness and self-regulations to wade through the pool of too much and over information that floods the media we consume and culture we live in daily.
My goal with this article is to help you to understand yourself better, so you can navigate your journey and experience your goals.
Humans are certainly going to make assumptions
Seamanship is the art of directing vessels on the open sea.
First, sailors establishing their position. Next, they plan their course. Lastly, they correct their course based on information they gather on their journey.
I’m making it sound simple, but this ancient art is quite complex. Tools of the traditional practice were astronomy, geometry, and special instruments unique to each culture of people.
Only a few people have excelled at the art as seafarers.
Sailors had to understand many variables like the tendencies of the wind and the rising and setting of particular stars (to only name a couple of examples).
Today, there is so much technology that sailing the deep blue is easier to navigate, but still dangerous.
A few dangers of the open sea are storms, waves, and whales.
If you are wondering about pirates, I’m thinking of a time way before and after the Golden of Piracy (from the late 1600s through early 1700s).
You probably got the hint. I’m talking about icebergs.
Icebergs are large pieces of freshwater ice that have broken off a glacier or an ice shelf and is floating freely in open water.
An estimated 91% of an iceberg is below the surface of the water.
In the Age of the Sail (the late 1500s through 1800s), icebergs perplexed seaman.
Their conundrum could be summed up by this question:
How did the ice float against the current of the wind?
The Tip of The Iceberg
You have to remember, all the sailors could see is the tip of the iceberg. So when sailors questioned how did something that seemed so small in mass defy the laws of nature and science, they were making assumptions.
Today, we know that expression means you have only seen a small part of the whole.
Because of explorers who investigate, we are aware of the larger part of these floating masses of ice is beneath the surface.
Science has taught us the currents of the sea play a major role in the drift of larger icebergs.
A quick recap about what we once thought:
- Icebergs we smaller than they appeared
- Icebergs seemed to float against the wind
- Sailors would crash their boats into icebergs
When looking at a floating mountain of ice from the perspective of a sailor, whose ship sailed because of the wind, it made complete sense that the assumption would be: things in the sea are moved by the wind.
But that was just the “tip of the iceberg.” Sailors only saw a small part of the larger picture.
Making decisions with limited information
You make decisions all of the time. It’s an important, routine part of life.
The key is knowing under which circumstance you are taking action.
Certainty versus Uncertainty
When you put a decision y on a “tree” it would go like this:
Decision = Information —> Certain Event —> Uncertain Event —> Outcome
Combining the information available, the decision you make, and the hidden events along the way determine your desired outcome.
No matter which scenario (certain or uncertain), to make a right decision you must consider:
- The information available and not available yet
- Alternatives and their consequences
- Probability of unpredictable events and outcomes
Your risk attitude or heuristics (how you infer a solution to a problem by reasoning from previous experience)
The Age of Information Overload is here
On the one hand, we are not threatened by the lack of information about our ancestors. At the same time, we have to watch out for “icebergs” more now than ever before.
I mean this in the literal and figurative sense of the word
Here, I’m speaking on “icebergs” as a figure of speech.
The screen you are reading this article on serves you a 24/7 365 all-you-can-consume information plan. You can consume information like no time in history. Ever.
An average American consumes 100,500 words daily through email, messages on social networks, online searches, and digital devices.
Since you sleep, on average, 7 hours a night, that means in the three-fourths of your waking hours you are blasted with information through a digital format.
When I say “consume,” I’m speaking about “media consumption.” It’s like the difference between “hearing” someone or something and “listening.”
In theory, if you are reading this blog post, while listening to a podcast with music playing in the background – you can actually consume more than 24 hours of media in a day!
Too much information is the proverbial iceberg.
What you are seeing, hearing, or reading is only a small part of the bigger picture.
Whether it be the ketogenic diet for fat loss, an HMB supplement for muscle can, or another superfood for health, there’s more that lies beneath the surface.
This is also true for “that guy” or “that girl” at the gym, one of so many Instagram influencers, or your favorite celebrity.
Even if you digest every word and image they distribute, you will never be able to navigate journey based on their curated experience.
So what can you do?
Understand that too little information, as you learned about the sailor, and too much information, in modern times, are both equally threaten your success.
Here’s a framework to navigate your experience and help you along your journey.
MISPIBO GPS (Goal Positioning for Success) System
GPS stands for Global Positioning System, is a radio navigation system that allows land, sea, and airborne users to determine their exact location, velocity, and time 24 hours a day, in all weather conditions, anywhere in the world.
MISPIBO GPS is for personal and professional development. It’s a decision-making system that allows people to determine their position and direction at any time, under any condition, for any goal.
Here is the 8-step process:
- Define and frame your position
- Identify your options
- Explore what will happen after your decision
- Decide your best course of action
- Assess assumptions associated with your decision
- Appraise the quality of your decision (if quality is low, choose another option)
- Assess the benefits of additional information
- Implement your decision
(I’m going to use a hypothetical client named “Sarah”)
1. Define and frame your position
Sarah is a 31-year-old homeowner, and mother of two young children with a husband. She weighs 228 pounds and has a body fat percentage of 43%. Her primary goals are fat loss, improved health, and increased strength.
She has a membership to a local fitness center. Her job also offers an extensive corporate wellness program.
Her husband and parents are supportive, but it’s hard to make healthy decisions when she spends quality time them because they all enjoy spoiling her.
To reach her goals, she is going to have to: either avoid social and family gatherings or resist the temptations of food and drink when she’s with friends and relatives.
2. Identify options
As mentioned, she can:
- Avoid people and places that tempt her to eat unhealthy foods
- Use her willpower to resist temptations would they arise
But that’s not it. She has more options. Sarah can:
- Talk to her friends and family and let them know she loves their company but finds it hard to resist the urge to go against her diet in their presence
- Host events at her home where she can control what food and beverages are served
- Eat before she meets up with friends and family
- Bring or request healthier food options in the presence of enablers
3. Explore what will happen after decision
Each decision has its consequences. For the sake of this example, I’m going to illustrate apparently opposing outcomes of a couple.
What can she control (certainty)?
Note: The research around willpower is interesting. Once thought to be like a muscle that grows stronger and get tired with use. Now, willpower is thought of as an emotion that gets more expressive when used and less when suppressed.
Sarah can control:
- What she buys at the grocery store
- What meals she preps for the week
- Where she decides to eat when she’s not at home
- Whether or not she goes out with friends or attends family gatherings
What can’t she control (uncertainty)?
Note: You can not control other people. If fact, you have very little conscious awareness of what you actually do. About 90% of your behaviors are ruled by your unconscious mind.
Sarah can’t control:
- People inviting her out for a night or over for dinner
- Where people eat or drink
- What people choose to drink or eat
- People asking her to “loosen up” by offering her food and drink
When you look at it like this, it’s easy to predict what will happen in both scenarios. Sarah is better of deciding to keep her control than give it away to other people.
4. Decide the best course of action
Sarah needs to decide: to be in control (certain) or not in control (uncertain).
5. Assess assumptions associated with decision
You already know what will happen if Sarah continues to make the same decisions that have led to her current situation.
I’m sorry, but willpower is NOT an emotion (or muscle) I’d depend upon in her case.
6. Appraise the quality of decision
If Sarah decides to be in control she still needs to check the quality of her decision and events that are certain:
- Grocery shopping – Is the house stocked with good, real food?
- Meal planning – Are meals prepared BEFORE hunger kicks in?
- “Restaurant Roadmapping” – Do you have a list of healthy restaurants and a way to customize diet friendly meals?
- The “power of no”: Can you say “no” to people, places and things that don’t serve you?
By this point, you may be nodding your head or clutching your heart.
I never said this would be easy. But, it is relatively straightforward. Shopping and planning for nutrition are simple. You can learn the “how-tos” with a quick online search.
The “hard work” lies in the reality that health and fitness are also social and emotional.
I don’t know how you tell your friends you can’t drink with them. I don’t know who you turn down your mom’s home cooking or refuse to accept your favorite dessert from you grandfather.
I don’t know another way other than saying “no” to them and “yes” to yourself.
7. Assess the benefits of additional information
Everyone’s not able to act on the decisions that lead to success. Even when people have all the knowledge and skill that comes with the task. All you have to do is look at professionals. Every professional has a coach.
Maybe you don’t need a coach; maybe you enlist the support of a friend. It could be a co-worker or a workout buddy.
Sometimes people need the right information. That’s what my goal is here. To cut through all the noise and give people the information they need to be successful. If you think you require more information, here are two resources I made just for you:
Whatever you do, don’t get stuck. I call that “paralysis by analysis.” That’s when you keep hoarding information, but you never take any action.
That leads to the last step.
8. Implement decision
Just start now.
You have to start somewhere. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it never will be perfect.
“Perfect is the enemy of good enough.”
Wherever you are, with whatever information you have, is good enough to start making better decisions and take control of your life.
You are the captain of your ship.
“Turn the tide.”
Here’s another idiom for you.
To “turn the tide” means to change the direction of something completely. It’s a reversal of the direction one is going. Both by way of opinion and events. Afterward, a situation is never the same as it was before.
I love sayings like these because when looked at individually, they are just a bunch of words. Even when put together, those words don’t mean much.
My favorite sayings are one with both figurative and literal meanings like the “tip of the iceberg.”
Now, you know what lies beneath. A huge mass of past experiences, habits, motivations, and systems, you see you can’t expect to sail your ship by the currents of other people or ideas because that’s just a small part of the whole.
Use this MISPIBO GPS system to orient and direct yourself on your journey to health and happiness.
Also, use it to dig deep. Find the undercurrents that will move you against the wind, in the face of popular opinion, dogma, and in most cases your fear and self-imposed limitations.
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