The Redneck within

The term “redneck” is defined by Wikipedia as a poor white person from the Southern US.  It has evolved to mean, “a bigoted and conventional person, a loutish ultra-conservative.”

Swimming Pool
Swimming Pool

I see it more in the world of exercise and nutrition than perhaps anywhere.  And, Redneck-ism, if that is even a word, has some Biblical roots.

During my teenage years in South Carolina, I got introduced to my share of Rednecks.  My example, my Uncle Harold had to vote straight Republican, since his father did.  And once my Redneck (Capital R on purpose) friends got introduced to Ford Trucks, there was no other choice, even when Chevy had a more reliable and durable truck at the same price.

It doesn’t stop with beliefs about political views, vehicles, guns and the like.  It is a state of mind when we fraudulently conclude that we need not assess our assumptions.  We think that since we were right once, then we must be right most all of the time, if not all of the time.

I tell my kids, “don’t be a redneck,” when they are offered something to eat that they have never had.  I tell them “don’t be a redneck” when it is time to travel to a new place, and they don’t want to go with me.  In our house, they know what it means. It is a derogatory word that means you are being intellectually lazy and it is showing up.

A Redneck has a predictable response to an opportunity to experience something new.    Do you immediately discard the idea, because you already have an answer that works for you?  If yes, you might be a redneck.

The question, “Let’s try someplace new to eat?” often exposes a redneck.  So does the question, “What is missing?”  People don’t know, because they never thought it a good use of time to ask the question.

My friend Randall described an Uncle from Georgia whom he had nicknamed “95.”  He got that name because he thought that he was right, 95% of the time.

That Uncle has made it to the exercise community.  And, I see people like 95 in the gym, literally daily.  How is he or she spotted? 95 does the same exercises, with the same bad form, with no interest in getting feedback about how to improve.  Many of them don’t think they need to improve.  Yet, if you ask them, “do you want to get better than you are today?” I have yet to meet anyone who responds with, “No, I am sure that I am at the very top of my game. Thanks for asking, though.”

God teaches us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).”  Everyone wants to get better.  However, that 95 in all of us gets in the way.  We think that we know the answer and we just have to try harder to achieve our results.  We hear from a teacher about how to do things, and we never challenge their assumptions. We don’t renew our mind.  We stick with 95.

Weight loss as well as greater strength, speed, and flexibility all require discarding the Redneck within and renewing our minds.

To get better, I must stop assuming that I know it all.  Last year, I learned Yoga and the importance of stretching.  This morning, I did some Pilates on the mats at the gym, to strengthen my core.  Last month, I read a book about how to be the best athlete I can be after age 50, and the author laid out the research findings that are already out there to point out what has been found to be most effective, for most mature athletes.

For me to agree with that author’s findings, I had to admit I was wrong and put 95 back in the basement.  I had to change my behavior and not just confess that he was right with my lips.  Even though it has only been a month since I started using his recommendations, I am hitting personal bests.  I can squat and bench press more than I ever have, and my running speed is nearly at the same level as college.  Yesterday, a normally 70 minute bike ride took only 64 minutes.

Had I just kept trying to doing things the old way and implement a “try harder” strategy, I would still be below my goals. Instead, I am above some of them.

95 will come back…he always does.  Hopefully, when he shows up again, someone can call me out on it.  Maybe, I will listen, too!

Sort out where you are a redneck…we all are in some places of our lives.  But, are you a redneck in an area where you really want to get stronger?

If yes, it is time to be wrong and put your 95 in the basement.  Go find your author, teacher, life coach or health coach. Talk to God and ask Him to put your next teacher in your life.  Ask Him to renew your mind and take 95 off of your shoulders for a while.

And tell everyone when it happens.  Maybe you will help them make their 95 go to the basement…even if only for a while.

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