HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE ONSLAUGHT OF INFORMATION? WHAT DETERMINES IF SOMETHING IS WORTH YOUR ATTENTION?
How do you decide which ideas or sources are credible? What makes someone ‘followable’ or trustworthy? How do you limit your exposure to things that might lead you away from yourself? What makes you want to stray away from yourself?
This has been an issue for me in the past, and still one I deal with from time to time. A particular title or idea will catch my interest and next thing I know, I’ll have 20 tabs open and a stack of books.
What has really helped me whittle this down is to simply ask myself, “is this going to help me move towards my goals?” If it doesn’t, maybe I’ll save it somewhere (digital hoarding) and likely never look at it again. If it does help me, I’ll make time to review or read it and see if that information does, in fact, help me.
Sources that attract me aren’t generally flashy, but rather they show that they have experience in a certain subject and can both walk the walk and talk the talk. If the message they put out resonates with me, I’ll connect and give them a follow.
I think its okay to be exposed to things that may lead me away from myself. It’s far too easy to become rigid in my own ways, so its necessary to lose the course once in a while. At the same time, I must keep myself in check and make sure that I know this is in fact what is happening, so I don’t go too far off the path. We need new ideas. We need experiences. We need to explore the unknown and even things that we don’t currently agree with. This is how we discover and grow. — Tyler Wall
I want to divide these questions into two directions. The first direction is what I pay attention to. I pay attention to my sensations, my feelings and my thoughts. Nourished are those through my environment in the first place. I select information through my lens of feeling well. If something is making me feeling not well, I question the layers behind it, till there are no more layers. Then I move on. If I figure out that a certain piece of information is not fitting into my personal and spiritual practice, I will drop it. From time to time I leave the comfort zone to stroll into different directions, gather new pieces of information and then head back home. This would be straying away from myself, to expand my boundaries, to grow my horizon. The second direction is obviously the direction I do not pay attention to, but I am pretty aware about. I figured once or several times, that this directions is not my cup of tea. What belong to this directions are most of the quick fixes out there which promise healing over night. I kept this entire answer more on a meta-level for not rambling into thousands of examples… Live in peace with the information you get and do the best with it. — Christian Rabhansl
I have a couple of colleagues that I trust who frequently share information with me about courses. I am actually terrible about keeping up with things online- I spend my days training people in person, playing with things on my own, creating courses and workshops, and writing. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for the onslaught of information from social media. The people I do follow regularly put out interesting, thoughtful information, so the 10-20 minutes a day I spend on social media watching movement videos often feels like a mini course within itself.
A person is followable if he is thoughtful and explorative. I have never been attracted to loud, so I favor the quiet ones, the ones who do their thing, without trying to be in your face about how their way is the right way. My favorite teachers don’t put out much information online at all, which I think is interesting. I can tell right away if a concept or person resonates with me. I don’t worry about the rest of the noise. It eliminates the desire to stray from authenticity. — Jenn Pilotti
This is a great question and a great source of concern in this day and age where everyone now has a pulpit regardless of qualifications. So it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff at times. I have just recently been pulling away from social media because there is such a barrage of ideas that often do not have much credence, or value. Social media can also be full of so much infighting on a subject it is more a study of the people ranting, and not much useful info on the subject itself. I’m sure there are people who have ideas on ways to use it efficiently and effectively, but for myself I don’t tend to use it as a main source.
I mainly hear about ideas from workshops, clients, or from my circle of colleagues. I am fortunate enough to have smart, discerning, and educated group that I use as a resource. When presented with a new idea, modality, or person I will do the cursory google search, check out the websites etc, but then I mainly will go back to the research on a subject and see if there has been any sort of thorough research on the subject. Then I’ll like to check out the subject in a clinical, or real life setting. If there are discrepancies in the research versus clinic I try to figure out where the differences might be stemming from, as we all know scientific research has its weaknesses as well, so the research results might be a bit behind clinical results.
In terms of following people specifically I look at their CV’s, find out what their background is, what sort of education and training they had. It’s important to know what type of patients or clients they work with, is it mostly athletes, or general population? All of these bits of information will give you a more accurate idea on the persom, where their biases lie, and what is influencing their practice and ideas.
Obviously bias is inherent in everything, even within the way we search out information and what we are drawn towards. Every click we make is influenced with bias. The more you can bounce ideas off of people who may disagree or have a different point of view the better. I find in general just trying to get as much information as you can the better off you are in creating an informed idea on any sort of subject or person.
Lastly, it’s always good advice is follow the money, it’s possibly one of the top biases out there. It’s a good idea to find out what sort of monetary investement a person has with a modality, technique, or person.
I find doing all of the above helps me to not stray away from myself and check myself. — Cat Cowey
Tricky question. First I must say I tend to just go with whatever piques my curiosity. I follow where it leads me. Subjects of interest change, people I follow too. I don’t follow specific rules for myself, it’s pretty intuitive. I like when the way it is presented offers layers, contradictions, questions, and nuances. I stay away from too much affirmation. Unless the subject is of real interest than I try and read to learn arguments and figure out my own thinking. If it’s a blog, I like when people reference research or/and when I can sense the person writing behind and have an idea of where they are coming from. Feel openness and that I can learn and grow with them. I stay away from articles where I feel the person wants to sell something. But there is so much informations out there and sometimes I feel overwhelmed. I also go through phases where I read a lot, everything and anything, listen to podcasts etc, I feel I can’t get enough. Than I overdose on informations. That’s when I realize I need to make sense of it all for myself, my practice and my teaching. So I pause. And the cycle starts again, nourishment and curiosity than integration. — Nadia Genois
First, I don’t pay attention to much. I have various forms of social media but mainly use instagram, trying to follow as few as possible and scroll as little as possible.
I try to have my network be a filter for me on what to read or listen to. Typically if 3 or more people recommend something to me is when I will consume the information. Or if one special mentor or something recommends something, it’s pretty much an instantaneous decision to take that in.
Credibility lies in what they present and my bullshit detector, and the population used within the research. Either the people represent me and my athletes or they don’t. If it doesn’t represent my population I don’t listen to it as deeply, (sometimes).
Often times I do get led astray down a rabbit hole of poor quality, unfortunately I have to explore it deeply to find out it is where I do not want to be. Then the book, or whatever medium the information comes in gets tossed into physical or digital trash cans. — Austin Einhorn
As I have switched from consumer to creator, I feel I don’t have the energy or attention for much input. I minimize my media intake (of any kind) and leave it for brief periods of idleness. I follow those who are also process-orientated, or those I have come to meet and admire in real life. I find someone adds value to my day when they present ideas, not polished works meant to be replicated. What is interesting to me is a sense of playfulness and trying things out. Show me a practice, not a product, and my head will turn. — Christine Ruffolo
HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE ONSLAUGHT OF INFORMATION?
— I don’t really know that I protect myself from the “onslaught of information” at all, really. I sort of go between marinating my brain in it and then stepping away from inputs, maybe reflecting to decide whether anything’s stuck with me that I want to test or pursue.
WHAT DETERMINES IF SOMETHING IS WORTH YOUR ATTENTION?
— I try to approach things initially with a very open mind. If something’s been referred to or offered by a reliable source, I’m more patient and careful, but for stuff I just happen upon I mostly just skim casually at first — I’ve found very interesting things in very odd places. I have enough familiarity with movement / fitness info that I can screen it pretty quickly for anything interesting or novel. Most things I come across just repeat the same basic information, though.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH IDEAS OR SOURCES ARE CREDIBLE?
— I’m pretty opinionated and skeptical by nature, so I back away from things that make extravagant claims, or things that have a sales-pitch sort of lure. I’m aware of the limits of science, when it comes to anything related to fitness or health, so I’m not hugely impressed by authoritative appeals, either. I also get very tired of pitches like “Everybody in X has been doing Y in this messed up way forever, but I’m going to show you how Z is the answer…” — even though sometimes this turns out to be true or useful. I’m very open to new ideas, though, so anecdotes that seem genuine and actionable enough that I can test them out myself, are usually what I’m drawn to. “Credible” for me, is finding ideas that I can act on, that serve what I’m practicing or teaching. I don’t worry too much about people’s explanations for why something works or why it’s awesome, because post hoc rationalization is pretty easy.
WHAT MAKES SOMEONE ‘FOLLOWABLE’ OR TRUSTWORTHY?
— Are they interesting? Are they at least re-packaging information in an interesting way? I prefer following people on Instagram because it’s easiest to just focus on still images or video, and ignore the text below. I’m a yoga teacher, so I have a pet peeve of staying away from yogis’ preachy or “inspirational” blurbs. In fitness generally, I get tired of “scolds” who bemoan general shallowness, showiness, misguidedness or whatever in other people, to cast themselves as superior — I can complain about that stuff myself, but it’s not interesting to talk about, and it’s not hard to simply unfollow whatever you find annoying. As far as trustworthy goes, I try not to take anything at face value — people can say things that might be wrong or misinformed, but if they seem genuine to me, without being manipulative or lazy, I don’t really mind. Many things are debatable, and I don’t need to believe everyone, or have everyone say things I agree with.
HOW DO YOU LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE TO THINGS THAT MIGHT LEAD YOU AWAY FROM YOURSELF?
— Hmmm. Well, I’m in my 40’s and I think I have a pretty solid sense of myself, which wouldn’t have been as true, say, 20 years ago. I don’t really worry about this too much. Mostly I have to keep from getting distracted online, so that I can get things DONE.
WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO STRAY AWAY FROM YOURSELF?
Generally, this would be when I’m dissatisfied with who I am. I don’t get too lost this way nowadays, though. I’ve had to make peace with a lot of things about myself that I may not have wanted to accept when I was younger. If I want to stray, I remind myself of the things I need to get done for tomorrow to get my mind back on track. — Chris Davis
I think for me the’s a few things:
The use of words. language, is a big one. If they use “cool” words a lot in a video or text to make me excited and “motivated” it doesn’t relate to me.
I enjoy factual texts/videos with people that express themselves thoughtfully and in a calmer fashion, they who take the time to deliver the content in the best wording possible.
I often go after recommendations from other people I follow and I tend to not scroll through facebook or instagram (if I can avoid it) too often. If I’m looking for a specific piece of information I seek it out.
It is a difficult task though and I often go by the ‘feeling’ I get from the person or company putting out the content. — Fanny Tulloch
My mood determines if something is worth my attention. Every information is valuable, because it helps to understand how opposite opinions are formed. I do not need to label anything ‘true’ or ‘credible’ to be able to make it a valuable experience, even just entertaining an absurd idea can open a new perspective on my own thought process. Straying away from myself is useful in that way, because I get to collect different things on the way and create new structures when I get back. I am all for periodically taking a walk around and straying away. — Sev Gurman