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How do we define independence? Simply put, it is the ability to function independently. Whether that means self-governance, or not being reliant on something or others for assistance.

It is obviously present in politics, but also, wildly present in the fitness world. It happens with what form of training is best – cardio or strength, powerlifting or weightlifting, functional training or old school strength work. It happens with nutrition – Mediterranean vs paleo, keto vs vegan, whole foods vs carnivore. The list is endless.

It would seem nowadays, that independence, the ability to do what works well for you and yours, has shifted from a positive difference of opinion, to a competition of who’s better, and who’s more right. “Do as I do or don’t do at all” it would seem.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can overcome this divisiveness by returning to something that is the basis of the human condition… Communication. This is a vital skill, that almost everyone seems to have lost.

So, try this moving forward – when going into a difficult conversation with someone, do your best to drop your ego. Let down your walls and step back from being so attached to the way you think. Make your best attempts to see how someone else’s life and experiences has influenced how they see the world, and how that might influence how they choose to act.

When trying to fully understand someone’s point of view, make sure to repeat what you think they are saying, back to them, to ensure you wind up on the same page. And most importantly, be as charitable as possible with your interpretations of what someone is saying. Your life experiences may have resulted in you interpreting something differently than how they meant it. And at the end of the conversation, if you haven’t come to an agreement on something, respect the other person's independence to function how they please.

That independence is what drives progress. Disagreement forces us to upgrade our arguments and points of view and to make them better or abandon them when holes get poked in them. So please, embrace it, and respect others right to do so too.

And please – if you wish to stay independent, exercise! 😉

Tyler Budwey, Fitness Director



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