Anytime we’re faced with new information we have a couple choices; accept it if it adheres to our current beliefs, deny it if it doesn’t or challenge it by doing research to see if that info is valid.
Like Seth Godin says, denying the new idea out of hand is a form of looking away. We can’t handle the new thing on some level so we simply choose not to see it. It’s just too uncomfortable to deal with. When pressed to look, to acknowledge the thing we don’t want to see, we’ll even push back, actively denying the thing is true or sometimes that it even exists. Enter anger, rage, street protests and conspiracy theories. (These things are not necessarily bad if the reasoning behind them is sound.)
This idea affects our view of ourselves and our health, too. If we aren’t willing to see life as it really is we’ll never be able to cross that barrier that separates us from a different, better existence.
There are two reasons for this: internal and external. External is “what will my neighbors/friends/family/coworkers/tribe think/say/do?” Don’t be too quick to blow this off. Everybody wants to say they don’t care what others think but when it comes down to it that’s just a lot of bluster. (Watch any episode of What Not To Where when there’s a tough woman who says she “doesn’t care what people think” about her or her style and then see her crumble when the core issues come to light.) The status quo is incredibly powerful.
This is made harder every day by our rapidly expanding access to information, quality research and vetted studies on topics most of us never knew existed. It’s easier to look away.
Internal is plain, simple, good old-fashioned fear. Fear that it’s all just too much. That we’ll never be able to keep up (or catch up) with everything that’s going on. That, oh crap, I was already a little shaky in my beliefs and now here comes more credible stuff to sift through and possibly act on.
For your health (yes, I finally got there) this means admitting that you need to do something different. Sitting on the couch isn’t getting it done. The "I think I eat pretty healthy" diet just doesn’t seem to be working. Don’t let your not-working out crowd influence you to stay fat and unhappy. Ignore the clean-eating haters that - not so secretly - feel guilty when you start to lose weight, look better and feel better. Don’t accept that where you are is where you have to be.
Start hanging out with the cool kids (us) who have faced our fears of rejection, alienation, of failure, of looking silly and doing something new. Hang out with people who support what you’re doing (us, again). Build a new tribe and rejoice in your new life.
Be brave, my friends. Life is change. To be your best self, to move forward as an ever more complete person you’ve got to woman up, man up, person up and get into your life. Be more, make more, do more. Be a better friend/spouse/neighbor/classmate/sibling/parent and look at the uncomfortable things in your life and change them for the better!