Don’t Listen to Experts

Posted by Kayla Castro
Aug 19 2014


“Rashness is one of the properties of illness – outlaws that we are – and it is rashness that we need in reading Shakespeare. It is not that we should doze in reading him, but that, fully conscious and aware, his fame intimidates and bores, and all the views of all the critics dull in us that thunderclap of conviction which, if an illusion, is still so helpful an illusion, so prodigious a pleasure, so keen a stimulus in reading the great. Shakespeare is getting flyblown: a paternal government might well forbid writing about him, as they put his monument at Stratford beyond the reach of scribbling fingers. With all this buzz of criticism about, one may hazard one’s conjectures privately, making one’s notes in the margin; but, knowing that someone has said it before, or said it better, the zest is gone. Illness, in its kingly sublimity sweeps all that aside and leaves nothing but Shakespeare and oneself. What with his overweening power and our overweening arrogance, that barriers go down, the knots Run smooth, the brain rings and resounds with Lear or Macbeth, and even Coleridge himself squeaks like a distant mouse.” -On Being Ill, Virginia Woolf

What Woolf is trying to say, I think, is “don’t listen to experts.” This is for two reasons: first, you need to exercise your wits otherwise you’ll either be bamboozled. Second, if you make it instinctive to listen to experts, you’ll lose confidence in yourself as a thinking being. On the flip side of this as a CrossFit coach, you pay me to be an expert at CrossFit and you need to listen to me to make progress.

But as a consumer, you need to not believe anything I say unless and until you see results. If you’re not seeing results there are only three options: either I’m hustling you, I’m wrong, or you’re not doing what I told you to do. If the first is true, stop paying me. If the second, please tell me so I can fix my model. If the third, either ask for help or try harder.

[Originally posted Potomac CrossFit 140513]

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