We Aren't Perfectly Rational Creatures

What is certain at this point is that we aren’t the perfectly rational creatures described in outdated economic textbooks, and we don’t review information about risks with cool detachment and objectivity. We screen it to make it conform to what we already believe. And what we believe is deeply influenced by the beliefs of the people around us and of the culture in which we live.

Daniel Gardner, The Science of Fear

Let’s not pretend we’ll rationalize ourselves to 150,000 affiliates. That we’ll logic our way there. That reason will win the day. Change this ambitious doesn’t work like that. (If it did, wouldn’t the Vietnam War have ended sooner? Wouldn’t gay marriage have been accepted faster? Wouldn’t we act to mitigate climate change more aggressively?)

Alas, the kind of work we are engaged in is messy, bumpy, & slow. It’s not for the faint of will.

Right now, Coach Glassman is focused on doctors (not nurses; not PTs; not teachers) because they are the ones to whom our culture has granted the influence & trust. He knows that earning the trust of the trusted is one of the only ways the skeptical will start to listen. He knows that’s how he’ll change the culture because that’s how he’ll change the algorithm of risk associated with CrossFit.

If my doctor says I should try it, it can’t be dangerous.

CrossFit has needed the last 20 years just to earn enough influence that doctors will pay the kind of attention Coach needs to have the conversation. To get into the room. To make the arguments he’s been making - almost unchanged - from the start.

Logic & reason & rational thought would dictate that doctors should have started to pay attention sooner. But doctors are people first. They are influenced by what other doctors believe. They are influenced by what other doctors do.

Other doctors believe CrossFit is dangerous. Other doctors prescribe medicine, not movement.

It’s taken CrossFit HQ 20 years of trust building before they could begin to change that culture. Slowly. Drip by drip. Doctor by doctor.

Of course, it'll just be the start.

Eventually, the affiliate’s job will be to build upon the trust doctors have lent them. To take the handoff & continue running down the field. To break the hundreds of tackles necessary to get to the finish line.

Growing to 150,000 affiliates is possible. More than possible if we recognize that we’re not trying to make the world fitter, but instead that we’re trying to change the culture.

It’ll be messy, bumpy, & slow. It’ll also be worth it.

Patrick Cummings