Nature and vacuums…

In advance, excuse me for the slight deviation from a fitness exclusive blog.  This is fitness related, but to be clear, it’s more than that.  So follow me down my rabbit hole a bit here and hopefully I can help your world be a better place…

Nature abhors a vacuum.  Most of us have heard this saying but it usually is not given much thought.  This saying can be used in relation to physics (obviously) but can just as easily be used in regards to nearly every part of life.

Imagine having a conversation with somebody and the topic ends.  You are with this person at dinner, half way through your meal.  The food is far from amazing but edible.  You are going to be sitting here for at least 10 more minutes, and you just stop.  You say nothing.  You just wait.  Many people know this moment.  If the person you are with says nothing, we get the “uncomfortable silence”.  That moment, is a vacuum in regards to your social interaction, and nobody likes it.  Nature abhors a vacuum.

Since nature abhors a vacuum, the space where a vacuum occurs, gets filled.  Someone or something WILL fill it.  To be clear, a vacuum is a space where there is nothing.  It is something literally waiting to be filled.  So since it is going to be filled, it is up to you to either fill it with good, or watch somebody else fill it with SOMETHING.  That something might be good, but it certainly might be bad just the same.

Imagine walking up to a stranger and starting a conversation.  You say hello to Bob and tell him that you would like to talk and he says ok.  Then you let Bob pick the topic.  You could end up discussing a world of topics.  Some would be good for you, some would be bad for you.  Here’s the thing, if you let Bob pick, and it’s bad for you and you continue to participate, you are hurting yourself.  You are making yourself worse.

I struggle with a habit of gluttony.  I can eat a ridiculous amount and have learned how to follow that up with proper exercise and eating habits throughout the week to stay fit beyond my gluttony.  If I start talking to Bob and he decides he wants to talk about my favorite foods, that could set me down a bad path towards being tempted to go to that buffet and indulge.  Bob chose a topic that will make me worse if I continue on with it.  For my sake, I must remove myself from that conversation (either physically remove myself or change the topic).

The point I’m trying to make is that if your life is filled with bad, it’s because one of two things is occurring.  You’re either allowing someone else to bring bad into your life, or YOU are bringing bad into your life.  Tomorrow is a vacuum.  10 minutes from now is a vacuum.  It is a section of time that is yet unfilled, but you choose how it is going to be filled.  Will you play with your child or watch tv?  Will you talk with your spouse or play a video game?  Will you make a healthy dinner or blah blah blah?  The point is simple; you choose the good and the bad.

Here’s the hard part.  The default event, what will occur if you don’t choose to put good in, is bad.  The lack of good is exactly what bad is.  The hard part is that “good” requires work, and bad does not.  You can just sit there and let bad occur.  If I just sit on the blanket and don’t play with my daughter at the park, bad has occurred.  She will think something along the lines of “daddy is too tired to play with me” which translates into “daddy spent too much energy working and doesn’t have energy for me” which THEN translates to “work is more important than me”.  Even worse, she may think “daddy doesn’t want to play with me…I’m not someone daddy wants to spend time on…I’m worthless”.  And for those of you who are saying that’s overdramatic, talk to any child psychologist about parental interactions and the self esteem of children and you will find this is a very logical line of thought.  If you can’t relate to that, think of how you would feel if your significant other came home from work every day and just sat on the couch ignoring you…I doubt that relationship would stretch long.

So, where does this all wrap around to fitness. If you haven’t seen it coming, this is a food and activity conversation.  Good results require input.  You have to choose to do “good”, and then, actually DO IT!  You must remember that if you don’t eat good food, BAD occurs by default.  If you don’t eat enough through the day, you WILL negatively affect blood sugar levels and likely binge eat at night.  If you don’t exercise and improve your physical function, you WILL decay into poor function and eventual muscular imbalances that will likely result in injuries.  If you don’t plan your food, you WILL eat random things to fill the vacuum and be stuck at the mercy of randomness as to if those fillers will be good for you or not, and they likely will NOT be.

The gist is simple.  If you do not fill your time with good, it WILL be filled with bad. So go out and fill it with good.  If Bob is a bad influence on you, fill your time with Bob with good so he can’t be bad, or don’t spend time with Bob because he is hurting you.  You shouldn’t let Bob influence you to smoke crack or jump off a bridge, so don’t let him influence you to be unhealthy (intentionally or not)!

Remember; fill it with good because otherwise it WILL be bad.