Presupposition 1: The map is not the territory
*NLP has a concept they call “The map is not the territory”, which
basically boils down to the fact the people build their own view (or a map)
of reality (or territory). What we think we see, we do not see.
Unfortunately, we spend so much time and investment drawing our maps that
we tend to trust them exclusively, and forget our cartography skills when
dealing with reality.
When new points in reality get built but are not reflected on our map, we
tend to forget they exist. We run into things and get baffled and dazzled
by things we weren’t expecting to be on the map. At the end of the day,
realizing that our view of reality is only one representation goes a long
way to efficacy in the world.
In light of this concept, I was wondering how it applied to my fitness
goals. As a former certified personal trainer and competitive athlete,
tempered by a perpetually poor body image, I held onto many beliefs and
values about nutrition, workouts, behavioral motivation theory, and
physical ability that didn’t hold water for my current wieght loss goals.
I had an old map. I had to rewrite it.
Knowing what I now know about behavioral motivation, I must do things
differently than I’ve been doing for the last four years. The whole reason
I haven’t been able to effortlessly reach my fitness goals by the book is
not because of lousy workout programs or poor nutritional guidelines, it’s
totally tied to my self-worth.
Is my self-image a self-imposed success barrier? While at first glance I
would have said that is ridiculous, with a little digging, I can see that
this is the most likely reason that fully explains my self-sabotaging
thoughts when trying to accomplish other goals in pickup.
I give myself an excuse to not go after the super hot girls because I know
that someday, in the future, I’ll be physically worthy enough to talk to
them. I actually talk to myself like this, and that’s fucking ridiculous.
That way, I just justify my failure to approach with my future workout and
feel better in the moment, avoiding the growing pains in the social arena.
My map, much like in one of those video games my roommate plays, is only
partially illuminated, and darkness is on the edge. I don’t know where the
enemies are coming from, or what traps I’ll find there until it’s
illuminated, so I avoid it, believing the ghost stories of eccentric old
people. I fill in the blank spots in my map with all sorts of scary toothy
monsters and limit my scope of travel so as to avoid the justifiable danger
that now lurks in the shadow.
Fitness is simple. It really is. Work hard. Don’t injure yourself. Eat
enough, Don’t eat crap, and keep at it until your body gives up trying to
fight you. Making it all complicated is only structures drawn in on the
edges of the map I’ve not been to in years.
So I made a progressive lifting routine, my trainer buddy made me a
kettlebell swing routine to follow for the next few months, and I’ll just
put all this shit on autopilot to remove all of the random map-driven
behavioral motivation problems. Plans, even inefficient ones, beat
avoidance every time.