Why I Didn’t Broadcast My Injury

By Coach Izzy

Your Thoughts Are Your Worst Enemy

Well wishes were abundant as more people learned of an injury I sustained about a month ago. The outpour of support and encouragement was great and I cannot express my gratitude enough. But many were also curious as to why I didn’t use social media to let everyone know of my incident as soon as it occurred. That, after all, seems to be the modus operandus of those eager to let the world know of their woes.

And rightly so. Not a day goes by in which lamentations pop in my news feed, bringing the afflictions of individuals cursing life and the darkness that’s befallen them.

I’ll be honest with you.

There were two reasons you did not hear about it immediately.

One, embarrassment. The thought of an expert who regularly exalts the virtues of caution and judiciousness getting injured while active seemed self-contradicting. But after much reflection I realized it wasn’t. This was going to happen sooner or later and the stage was set when I was fifteen years of age. It was only a matter of time. You can read all about it in my pain therapy blog. I knew I could help you more by sharing it than by keeping it to myself.

And it’s the subject of keeping it to myself that brings me to the second reason.

I didn’t do it because doing so meant accepting a state of disability reinforced through well-intended compassion.

Cialdini's InfluenceWhether we believe it or not, the second we write about how poor and miserable we are, we’ve set the stage to make it our reality.

If you’re not familiar with the amazing book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, I highly recommend that you read it. In one of the most exciting chapters, Cialdini reviews the system used by communist China in P.O.W. camps during the Korean War.

The wardens relied on writing to indoctrinate and change beliefs. By motivating war prisoners to write favorably about communism, they were able to effectively shift their views to the point they held on to them even after returning home.

That’s also the reason many people seeking life transformation changes are encouraged to write and keep a journal. The act of writing with incentive—ergo emotion—is visceral and shifts principles through repetition. It’s also why many successful people keep a journal, and why life coaches encourage their pupils to journal on a consistent basis.

Personally, I’ve witnessed and lived the effects of writing. That’s why I believe the second we write broadcasting our wretchedness, we’ve already doomed ourselves to misery.

This was my battle and my battle alone. Nobody could give me courage unless I mustered it myself. Nobody could give me hope unless I found it within me, and nobody could convince me that this too would pass unless I accepted such reality within me.

It wasn’t easy, that much I can tell you, but it was through meditation, journaling, and reading that I came to grips and realized the fear of doom was all in my mind. In the big picture I was extremely fortunate, and I thought of friends and acquaintances whose battles were far more powerful.

I thought of my fitness colleague Loretta Stanton, battling breast cancer, undergoing chemo and radiation, always resilient and smiling. I thought of Robert B. Haase who due to throat cancer has to learn to speak all over again after being a professional educator and speaker, of taking it all in humor in the face of adversity. I thought of my great friend and massage teacher Shari Aldrich, who never imagined her life would be altered through an injury in what was supposed to be a day of fun.

After putting it in perspective, I expressed my gratitude for the lessons and my good fortune, and for the ability to realize how self-destructive and meaningless it would be to lament my condition publicly. My injury would be the end of the world only if I decided that is so.

And no. I’m not telling you that sharing your grief is wrong. Many good friends only seek support as they undergo the passing of loved ones and life-changing events. I’m glad they communicate so I can offer a lending hand. We’re communal beings and find strength in numbers, but we only find that strength if we believe we have it within ourselves. The support of the community only makes it flourish.

What I find destructive, is the manipulation of words to paint doom, to broadcast every nuance peppered with adjectives of misery, going as far as cursing life.

It was only a few days back that one of my former contacts announced her shoulder injury with “There goes my rotator cuff again, FML!” If you don’t know what FML stands for, I advise a quick google search. It’s perhaps the worst way to scorn the precious gift of life over something that can heal and be repaired.

Again, I’m not telling you there’s anything wrong with sharing your grief or concern. However, if you fail to realize that only you—and no one but you—has the power to overcome your predicaments, then words of support will fall empty and be twisted to justify your misery. You’ll become an annoyance rather than a friend seeking a helping hand.

If worse comes to worse, get some perspective. Your acceptance of misery—more so if you continuously write about it—exists only in your mind and one look at others for whom life has dealt tougher cards should help you get some much needed perspective and make you realize how fortunate you are.

I want to close with this video from Nicholas James Vujicic. Do you think you have it worse than him? I invite you to reflect.

See you on the exercise floor.

Coach Izzy
About The Author


Coach Izzy has been part of the Strength and Conditioning field for over 25 years. He speaks of the advantages of self-sufficiency and the drawbacks of relying on the liner approaches the health world seems fond of.