The Age of Quantified Self

How do we know if all the things recommended to us are worth our time or not?  My social media feed is bombarded with noise, largely advertising specifically targeted at me and what “the cloud” thinks I want and/or need.  Is yours the same?  I largely ignore a vast portion of this advertising primarily due to something in banking known as the principal-agent problem, or rather the separation of an agent’s interests and those of their client.  Likely those selling us products are more interested in our money than our betterment.  Rare is the product or service that the creator adamantly uses and it did such wonders in their life that they can’t help but want to share it with others (for profit).

If I tell you, “take fish oil” but I’m not taking it myself and I stand to somehow benefit from the transaction between us what does that mean?  I’m doing it for the wrong reasons.  In some areas of life we’ve guarded against this problem.  People don’t tend to consciously wish to harm themselves.  Your normal airline pilot isn’t going to intentionally down the plane with you on it, which is why the thought of a drone piloted airline scares me.  A licensed engineer who designs a bridge or building that fails unexpectedly (and it’s found to be a design error after investigation) is liable, professionally and personally.  These are some ways we hedge against the principal-agent problem.

That’s one tool you have at your disposal when trying to figure out what you should do or buy to change something you want to change.  I coach here at CPM, and I suggest how you should move, workout, and recommend how you should eat.  How would you feel about me if I never took any of the classes, had sloppy movement patterns, or didn’t follow my own nutrition recommendations?  If the person recommended you do or buy something doesn’t do or buy that something themselves…….I’d ignore it.

Where does this fail?  Well, as individuals we are unique.  What works great for me might not work great for you.  It’s true, this does happen.  So I take fish oil religiously, and because I’m a believer I convince you to do the same.  But it may not work on you like it does for me.  How will you know?  Enter the age of quantified self.

First off, quantifying how our environment changes our health is not something new.  But today we have a variety of tools that were not available 20 years ago.  Kevin Kelly (founding executive editor of Wired magazine) started Quantified Self, a company that gathers information on how people run experiments on themselves.  For instance, this guy tested what fish oil did to his response time.

With FitBits, blood marker testing, sleep tracking, heart rate variability tracking, and hosts of other measurement tools we are able to test what changes our health positively and what doesn’t.  I’m sure in the future the tools will get better, cheaper, and more accessible to us all.

Keep this in mind.  If someone is selling you something they don’t use/do themselves I’d recommend you ignore them.  This will reduce a large portion of the noise.  What’s left over is up for experimentation, and that’s the fun part.

The Oboard Says…

A. 5 Rounds
(50s on/10s off)

DB Shoulder to Overhead
Double Unders
Pullup’s (Muscle Up’s)

B. Death By 10 meters

Posted by: Stets