Thinking Fast and Slow

This past month I completed my National Academy of Sports Management (NASM) certified personal training credential. Earlier in my life I used to take on pretty much any credential that was of interest to me and I have always enjoyed the process of learning new skills and information. The process of learning new information is humbling and often fraught with frustration and a desire to quit at times because of the unpleasant feeling of doing tasks that we aren’t yet good at.

At the same time I’ve been listening to “Thinking Fast and Slow” which was very helpful through the testing process and also reminded me of some errors in association and Type 1 and Type 2 thinking that can get us in trouble. In Type 1, our mind finds the easiest, simplest solutions and often doesn’t check them to validate the result because we assume that our first inclination is correct. Type 2 is when there is a stressor engaged or a complex learning that needs to take place. This flash response is minimized and we can often see the errors that we are prone to rush into if we aren’t pausing to think it through a bit more. Where this came in on my NASM test was taking the extra 30 minutes to go over each of the 120 questions. As I reviewed each question I was shocked to realize that I had made 8 known errors in my answers. I only changed the answers to questions where I was certain I had made a misunderstanding error my first pass through. It was humbling but also a good reminder that on future tests, posts, or other content, it is worth my time to give things a second pass.

It’s a good reminder that we often learn much more from our failures and missteps then we do things that come easily for us. Having to go back to the pressure cooker of a test environment I spent the first recalibration session studying material from the NASM manuals and Edge App. I found myself underprepared for the nuances of the exam. I decided that it’s important to finish things once they are started and continue my longstanding history of going back to activities I don’t complete on the first go around. I paid the extra fee for the third exam and researched online the best ways to prepare, the toughest questions on the exam and any other tips and tricks I could find. The most helpful resource was put together by the “Show Up Fitness” team who often refers to NASM as the National Academy of Superior Marketing which is a fair assessment in my opinion. The short videos were insightful, covered depth in the questions and material in a straightforward, accessible fashion, and made me aware of a few areas I needed to freshen up on.

The lessons I learned from the past three months of this journey are:

1) There are times when thinking and reacting fast and trusting your intuition is advantageous and the correct route and times when slowing down, rereading, and processing the details is a superior course of action.

2) Sometime help comes from an unlikely source. Reaching outside the standard path often opens up unexpected blessings.

3) I have a strong desire to start taking on more challenges and opportunities where I’ll be forced to struggle, miss targets, and reach out to new contacts and expand my resources.

It is not in times of comfort that we grow, but in times of testing and trial that we are able to reveal some of our best characteristics.

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