DO IT DON'T TALK ABOUT IT
Rocky Marciano once said (and I think this is an old Italian adage), “Do it. Don’t talk about it.” Not only was Marciano undersized (he’d be considered a small cruiserweight today at between 179 and 188 lbs.), but he was a man of indomitable will who went on to become the only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated. Like Lil Mac from Mike Tyson’s knockout, Marciano fought despite being pocket-sized and not particularly quick or skilled, he out-worked everyone and went on to win 43 fights by knockout.
Although he had earned the right to harangue everyone around him with tales of his glory or to query them about what he could do better, this beast never talked about being the champ outside of the ring- the neighborhood kids were amazed that he’d come home from fights and toss the football around with them in the street like regular-old Joe Blow. While tossing around the old pigskin, this monster of the ring never bored the people around him goddamned death with talk of his workouts, his diet, or any other of the minutia people these days seem endlessly discuss as if it matters in the slightest.
Instead, he was too busy training, reading books, playing football with neighborhood kids, practicing his Italian, or spending time with his family. Unlike many modern trainees, Marciano seemed to realize (although boxing was his career) that there was a great big world out there that had nothing to do with training minutia, so when he was done with training, he simply shut off that part of his brain and went on to other things.
There is a great deal to be learned from Marciano, since it seems that people are so absorbed in their social media world that they ignore the fact that what’s important is what is right in front of them. Clearly, without social media this company would not be live to offer this article for your perusal. This, however, serves as more of an online magazine than a forum, and it serves as a source of information. As such, you are passively absorbing information from a trusted source rather than participation in the dissemination of information or separating fact from fiction. This is an important distinction and serves as the difference between wasting mental energy better spent in the gym or simply absorbing information at a relatively low energy cost.
Lest you think that Rocky Marciano’s adage is simply a relic of a bygone era that has no bearing in the modern age, think again. A study conducted in China showed that reading comprehension was significantly lower in the group of readers who chose to repost the article they’d read, rather than simply reading the article, and moving on as the other group had done. The study showed that simply sharing the article created what the researchers referred to as cognitive overload, a drain on mental resources caused simply by the decision to share the information. Given the number of times this goes on in each day, especially on a website like Reddit, the cumulative effect of this cognitive overload is huge, and leads to a marked decline in cognitive performance (DiSalvo).
It’s not just your mental energy drain that is going to hinder your gains- it’s social media in general. Though most people will claim that they’re awesome at multi-tasking they’re just great at doing many things badly simultaneously. So, when you’re blowing up your phone in between sets with video of your latest lackluster set and taking your newest selfie, you’re just dropping your total future workload. Even worse, you’re probably going to kill your top end strength and make yourself fat at the same time, because heavy social media users have been shown in studies to be more depressed and irritable than less intense users (and depression and obesity are very highly correlated) (Williams).
The final reason Marciano’s words are so poignant today is this- there is a ridiculously high percentage of you who state your goals in public, which as I’ve been writing for years makes it less likely you’ll achieve them than Paul Walker and Ryan Dunn are to star in the next (and hopeful last) Fast and the Furious. You should never, ever state your goals in public, because doing so tricks your brain into thinking you’ve already achieved them. This phenomenon, known as a social reality, basically means that due to the fantasy your subconscious has created, you get overly pleased with yourself and abandon your quest before it’s completed. This phenomenon has been borne out in countless studies, so STOP DOING IT ALREADY. We’re all guilty of it, and we all need to stop, ASAP (Psych).
So, there you have it- your phone is absolutely murdering your gains. Improving your performance by putting down your phone is likely going to be one of the easiest, and one of the hardest, things you might ever do, but the benefits are unmistakable. So, take a page of Rocky Marciano’s book and chill with the social media- the only undefeated heavyweight champion of the world couldn’t be wrong.
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DiSalvo, David. Study: Engaging with social media can drain your brain. Psychology Today. 1 Jun 2016. Web. 19 Nov 2017. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/neuronarrative/201606/study-engaging-social-media-can-drain-your-brain
Psych Your Mind. When telling others about your goals compromises them. Berkeley Science Review. 5 Apr 2013. Web. 19 Nov 2017. http://berkeleysciencereview.com/when-telling-oth…
Williams, Ray. Social media: does it help or hinder productivity? 29 Nov 2009. Web. 19 Nov 2017.https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/200911/social-media-does-it-help-or-hinder-productivity
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