Declaration of Independence!

The more I travel down this journey toward my best health, the more I realize I need to do it alone. I don’t need others harping on things that are less important to me right now.  I don’t need people competing with me or shaming me. I know many people say they do better when they’re held accountable, but for me, I actually do most things better alone.

You might say I’m not a team player. That would be fair. I hated group work in college because it felt like I was doing most of the work, picking up the slack for slackers, and the work took 2-10 times as long because it’s hard to deal with all the BS of other people: their excuses, their confusion, their lack of preparation, their schedules, their way of writing. I mean, have you ever tried to put five pieces of a written report together? It’s a nightmare. Everyone has their own style of writing. And aside from being terrified that college and graduate-level students don’t know basic grammar, punctuation or sentence flow, it’s hard to mesh a bunch of work together.

So, perfectionist me (who was under the false assumption that anyone outside of college cares about grades) would always be the one who put everything together. Long story short: It meant I re-wrote the entire thing. And it took three times as long as writing it originally myself. Pain in the ass.

At work, I’m the same way. I think there are too many people involved in stuff. There are middle men for the middle men (or women). There are layers and layers. There are fifteen or twenty people involved in a project, and it’s a miracle if more than two or three are actually doing anything. There are the self-important, self-described as over-worked people who like to come to meetings, but never know what’s going on and usually derail the meetings with misinformation. These are generally managers. They puff their chests and talk loud and run the meeting in circles. There are people who are forced to attend the meetings who hate meetings and hate change. Their purpose is to make everything as painful as possible. They make mountains out of mole hills (or generally out of no hill at all). They refuse to help with testing, or when they do, they don’t test the right stuff. Then there are people who are trying to be helpful, but also make things more complicated by not understanding the original process or the new process, but are involved for one reason or another.

In the weight loss world, you have these same people.

The puffed chested managers who pretend to know everything, but really don’t know what’s going on are the egotistical assholes of the weight loss/health/exercise world. Generally they think health is one size fits all, and it’s simple. And the plan everyone should follow is the one that works for them. They don’t realize everyone’s body is different. And they are unwilling to take a second to understand anyone else. They’re generally loud-mouthed (or loud-typed) bullies. And often their assumed power (and haughtiness) shames people think they aren’t trying hard enough, are lazy, or don’t have willpower. Hey, self-proclaimed managers of the health interwebs. Shut the hell up! Offer what’s worked for you, but don’t push it on others. Give guidance and insight, but don’t rule with an iron fist. No one likes those managers.

Then there are the people who are set out to derail the project. These same people derail weight loss by making things painful, confusing and unfocused, just like those in meetings. They’re afraid of change, or are pissed they even have to be involved. To these people, I say, do what you want with your life. If you don’t like a particular diet or exercise, great. But don’t drag down others who are implementing something. These people will troll sites about Zumba or weight lifting or paleo or low-carb or veganism or whatever it is. These are single-minded, selfish, destructive people. And thanks to West Wing, I also consider them terrorists of change in the workplace. This is probably also true in the health community on the internet. In one episode, Josh Lyman is talking to a bunch of kids about terrorism and how they adhere to strict rules. They believe only one thing, one way is right. And they refuse to veer from this ideal. And it pisses them off when anyone else wants to. Josh says (taken from two parts of the episode):

“This is a plural society. That means we accept more than one idea. You want to get these people? I mean, you really want to reach in and kill them where they live? Keep accepting more than one idea. Makes ’em absolutely crazy.”

I consider those who refuse to change, who refuse to see a better different way, who refuse to understand that what works for them might not work for everyone else, who think there’s only one right, who think their opinion is fact. These people exist in the workplace. And they exist on the internet. They’re terrorists. They beat everything down. Make every positive change a negative one. They fear different. They fear thinking for themselves. They fear learning new things or thinking for themselves. They’re afraid of everything, and push this onto everyone else by making everything as painful as possible. These people are trolls, terrorists, antagonists. They don’t help anything. They hold everyone back. If some new idea comes out, rather than trying it, they dismiss it. They find a way to refute it. They are offended by the idea that something they’ve been doing isn’t right. They can’t accept a failure and move on, they’d rather root around in it endlessly, to attempt to save pride. These people will never succeed in the workplace or in health. Dismiss them. Let them sink their own ship, but don’t save them. Don’t let them on yours. They’ll sink yours, too. Shitty attitudes can change if the person wants them to. But unfortunately they don’t. They get pleasure out of this somehow, and probably boast about it outside of the meeting/forum.

And then there are the middlemen of the meetings. They’re the ones who are genuinely trying to help, but they’re simply uneducated, or are educated with a very narrow view. They’ve been given an overview of how something works, but they really don’t understand it. For some reason they’re dropped into the project and want to be involved. Only their involvement isn’t actually necessary. In fact, in their blameless attempt to understand what’s going on be helpful, they actually make things worse. These people, given more time and training would be beneficial members of the team. So they’re not worth dismissing. In fact, try to be patient with them, and understand they don’t lack knowledge because they don’t try. They simply don’t know what they don’t know. They’ll get there. And one day in a business meeting/internet forum in the future, they’ll be contenders. For now, though, don’t let their lack of knowledge frustrate you. But more importantly, don’t let it hold back your progress.

And then there are the one or two others in the room who are actually involved, doing work, and moving the project forward. These are the people you team up with. They fill in the gaps you don’t understand or give valuable feedback. They move the project forward and make it more successful. In truth, it would be better to have meetings with only these people. But often times that’s impossible. So do what you can to work with those who keep things moving. Those who contribute. Those who are positive and want good change. Take as much as you can from them.

Here’s the thing: At work, I’m better off doing most of the project on my own, without involving these fifteen detractors. But I need the couple of people who do work, so I put up with the meetings, and then try to meet with the few people actually doing work outside of the meetings. It’s a political balancing act, but it works.

The same is true for me with my journey toward health. I don’t need the puffed-chested know-it-alls who really don’t know anything. I don’t need them. I don’t need to try to convince anyone who really doesn’t want change why they should change. Hell, I have myself to work about. Start swimming on your own, or you’re going to drown. I’m putting my oxygen mask on first. And although I want to help the naive few, that also can’t be my priority. They’ll make their way on their own. So I need to team up with the few people on the same page as me. Those who aren’t looking to be pompous or know-it-all bullies. Those who see that my part of the health equation might be slightly different than theirs, but we’ll both get there if we help each other. And sometimes in the business world, you truly are in a meeting where you’re the only one doing work. It feels like slowly getting suffocated. But teaming up with those who aren’t on the same page only makes things worse. Sometimes it truly is easier to go out on your own and figure it out yourself, and complete the project solo.

Right now that’s how I feel. Like those who were supportive in the past have been promoted to boss, and they aren’t helping me anymore because they’re too busy inflating their egos. I don’t need that. And searching for new companions is also frustrating because I’ve been on this journey for so long.

So I’m going to try to do this on my own. Posting here to vent. Posting here to gloat if I succeed. And posting here to hopefully help those who are just starting out get up to speed without being bullied.

We are all unique snowflakes, people. Find what works for you. Find what will work long-term. Put health before weight and shallow surface stuff. And most of all, get plenty of sleep, and find a way to get happy!

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