When I was in elementary school my teachers were very concerned about my lack of coordination. They called my parents in and made helpful suggestions like telling them I should play more catch. It seems I wasn’t moving as well as the other kids. Seems no one considered that I had started school a year early and as such I wasn’t performing physically as well as kids a year or more older than I was.
Shortly after being told I was behind the curve for hand eye coordination I was also made to sit in the hallway while regular classes were going on. Rather than participate in class with my friends I had to read from cue cards and prove I wasn’t slow. I was a quiet kid and I was never one to speak unless I had something to say. I sat quietly in class watched, listened, and learned. My silence was taken for a mental defect which is funny when you consider now a days if a kid talks allot they are likely to be medicated.
Oddly enough when I entered high school my parents were once again told by the teachers that I was abnormal only this time they thought that maybe I was a genius.
So it seems that for my entire life people have thought that I was either an idiot or a genius and as far back as I can remember I really never gave a shit.
As an adult I pioneered Kettlebell training in Canada introducing it across the country with the first instructional products and courses. As I demonstrated Kettlebell training to fitness professionals I was told time and time again that “those movements are bad for your back and shoulders.” Of course since those early days Kettlebells have now become a staple in gyms and well known for their incredible ability to safely strengthen backs, shoulders and everything from your head to your toes.
When I look back on how people saw me and my abilities as I was growing up I find it ironic that I make a living teaching people how to move. Now a days I spend a large part of my time working on social media. I use it to show people what I can do, how I do it and how they can improve their health and fitness. Spending so much time on things like Facebook and Instagram have shown me how desperate we all are for “likes” and “fans.” People have become more about promotion than about what they promote. They worry more about being accepted rather than doing something worth while or something they are passionate about. They spend fortunes on lessons and tricks from media gurus trying to “look” more popular and they worry about the impact that every post they make will have on their potential fan base. I once had a marketing specialist offer to improve my social media marketing and after his analysis of my company he made suggestions about what I should post, how I should post it and in particular was adamant that I watch my language and never curse. It seems I like to say shit often. (“Mother fucker” is really my favorite but “shit” is pretty good too.)
Everyone wants to be popular and even I can’t escape that, but I won’t be a slave to it. If you like this blog and find it useful I am happy to be of service but if you hate it or me, or what I do, I really don’t give a shit and you shouldn’t either.
Caring for others is a great thing but caring what others think is the road to ruin. When you live for those Facebook “likes” and fans you stop being an authentic person and start programming yourself to please. You start making choices based on what other people expect and want from you rather than what you want and love. Making your own way and following your gut is essential if you want to live a life that you will love. My father once told me that I was hard to talk to, he said “you smile and agree and then you go ahead and do whatever the hell you were going to do anyway.” He was right and as a father I feel bad for the stress I undoubtedly caused him and my mother. I know it couldn’t have been easy raising a kid who seemed to excel at everything you supposedly can’t make a living with. I am sure they spent many sleepless nights worrying what kind of child they were raising. Well they can sleep well now knowing that they raised someone who for better or worse does what he wants. My mistakes and there have been many are all mine but so are my victories.
Last weekend I was teaching in Montreal at my gym Agatsu. At the end of the seminar one of my students asked me “what do you expect of us now?” A great question I thought but maybe better phrased like this, “what do I hope for you now?” My hope for my students and for everyone reading this is to to be happy and helpful to others. Live the life you dream of and be kind to people you meet on your way. To be happy you have to be true to yourself. Don’t live for the approval of others because no matter how many people think you are a genius there will be an equal amount who think you are an idiot. Do what you do because that’s who you are.