I was at the gym a few days ago and while waiting for the machine to reset looked around at all my fellow gym-goers. I had to catch myself when I realised I was judging a lady who was on a treadmill walking at the possible speed of a sloth and was texting on her phone. “Stop judging her!” is what I was telling myself. I did not know why she was walking so slowly or her reasons for being on that treadmill or how hard it must have been for her to drag herself to the gym so who was I to judge?
There are so many different types of gym-goers. There are the “reluctant-I-know-I’ll-feel-good-afterwards” gym types (I fall into this category – the word reluctant in this context also carries the definition of “not as regular as I should”). Then there are the “dedicated-gym-was-created-for-me-chosen-ones” (I need not say more about these types – you know who you are) and at the other extreme there are the “what-is-gym” types who have never entered one at all (I need not say more here either – you know who you are too). The gym-goers I want to understand however are the ones who do not fall at the end of either extreme nor in the centre. I am going to call them the “conundrum-gym-goers” for now. If all the effort was made in getting to gym (for me this is the hardest part) then why not make the same amount of effort while in the gym? Is the gym not really a place you use to exercise but rather see it as an “escape haven of sorts” where you can have some “me time”? Or do you not really care about exercising and just make the effort to arrive simply so you can say “Yes, I go to gym”?
The reason why it is so important to understand the conundrum-gym-goers is because it may help to stop judging others so quickly. What is the problem with judging? Well, nothing I think – if you judge something or someone after receiving all the relevant information. Maybe conundrum-gym-goer has an injury and can only do that amount of exercise for now. Maybe conundrum-gym-goer ran a marathon the day before and was too tired to do more of the same but made it to gym just to do that little extra.
I know you are probably going to ask me at this point “Why do you even care about the conundrum-gym-goer? You should be focused on your own gym session. Trying to understand them is not going to change your life.”
My response to you? There are two things I could do – stop caring or worrying about others (I hope this does not happen) or trying to understand more of my fellow human before making a quick, rash judgement as I believe this will change my life in a small, hopefully meaningful way.
We judge because we are human and we are a competitive species in general so while I may not be able to stop judging others fully I can become more conscious of when I do it and hopefully remember that I do not have all the relevant information to make this decision. I mean, would you rather believe that the conundrum-gym-goer is only at gym because they can at least say “I do go to gym” or would you rather believe that they ran a marathon yesterday and still made it to gym today?
Which belief would inspire and motivate you more and change your life and thinking just a little?