The importance of being wrong

Posted on July 23, 2012. Filed under: Exercise | Tags: , , , , |

I see a common area that greatly limits the moving forward of the fitness industry. Actually I think it’s beginning to limit society in general. And that is the admittance of being wrong.


Think about it, when was the last time you ever heard a public figure admit they were wrong, when was the last time you heard anybody you know admit what they did was wrong.


And I do mean simply admit that they were wrong, no disclaimer how thought they are wrong anybody else would have made the same mistake because of such and such, no elective fault where they are wrong about this one thing and not the “other stuff” that happened in connection. Just openly say, I was wrong.


Well take that number an then divide it by a million and you’ll have the percent chance of a fitness professional admit that they were wrong.


My gf hates being wrong, I mean really hates it. And make no mistake about it, I’m no fan either. However, there is something very important about being wrong. We learn from it. We evolve, and we become better coaches. If you can’t admit you are wrong, you should not be a coach.


And I mean that, one only needs to look at the political spectrum to see example of what happens when people don’t admit they could be wrong.


Think about it, ultimately every political issue boils down to a problem where everybody agrees that a problem needs to be solved; the only disagreement is the method. That’s it, just the method.


This is what happens when people can’t admit they are or could be wrong. If you believe you are 100% right about something and someone disagrees with you then your automatic assumption is that they only disagree because they don’t know the ‘facts.’


Now if they disagree after you tell them the facts, then what other response can you have if you believe you are 100% right and without fault. Well the other person must be

  • Dumb or uneducated
  • Knows the truth and is just disagreeing because they are spiteful
  • Knows the truth and disagrees because they are evil and out to destroy that which is good.


Sounds silly but really look at a political debate or internet forum. Most arguments are simply a matter of ‘you don’t believe what I believe’ so you must be evil or stupid.

In the course of my 15+ years of coaching and training I have made many mistakes. And they have served me well. As my favorite Mark Twain quote goes, “good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.”


I thought I’d share a few of my own mistakes so to better express that we are all human. And to encourage those of you out there who make mistakes. A great speech on the topic was made at the TED Talks years back. Check it out here.


My list of some of my mistakes and bad ideas :


  1. It doesn’t matter what you eat if you work out hard enough. Yep, I actually used to say that
  2. It doesn’t matter how much you eat as long as you eat healthy. Ugh, that one too.
  3. Too much stability work (stability balls, BOSU). When your client is standing on a BOSU shoulder pressing 2 medicine balls, you’ve gone too far.
  4. Neglecting own health. Every issue I have had; if I had a client with the same issues I would have changed things immediately not kept doing the same thing over and over. Physician heal thy self
  5. Body part specific workouts for fat loss. *sigh* + *face palm*
  6. Not getting a coach sooner. Seriously every coach/trainer should hire their own coach. 2 reasons. One , how can you sell what you yourself won’t buy, and two, well… see mistake #4
  7. Under-utilizing unilateral training. I used some but nowhere near as much as I do now, really took to long adding that tool to my box.
  8. Using sport specific pattern lifts. Not saying what I did, didn’t help. But I could have done a lot better for my athletes.
  9. Not using bands soon enough.   They really are under appreciated by coaches. They are not just for DVD infomercial workout.


Keep Fitness Groovy,

Coach W



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