As the start of 2022 betrays some of our expectations and confirms others, I want to send a message of solidarity to anyone who might read this.
I continue to run into social media posts about how bad things are or how incompetent governments are. Some of these posts are justified as the people writing them are under duress from the latest lockdown. Life appears uncertain, and governments present an unmistakable air of incompetence.
Now, I find little use in speaking against the government or arguing science I’m not qualified to scrutinise. Instead, I aim to help the individual human and, through them, with solidarity as my preferred tool, help the world.
It is true that Science communication continues to fail the world’s citizens. And this isn’t an attack on science; I am, after all, a staunch supporter of the scientific method and establishment. My point is that too much data remains raw, and most people cannot translate it to make good sense of it.
This unmitigated, unfiltered access to data confuses those of us laypeople who require answers to feel safe – to feel that our families are safe.
Again, I want to clarify that I’m not asking for censorship but for qualified agencies or individuals to translate complicated information that affects us all.
Failure to communicate scientific facts correctly often results in fear-based reactions from the populous. This oversight from the scientific community may be responsible for a dangerous game of broken telephone that gives rise to conspiracy theories and anti-science sentiments.
Poorly presented truths are also ammunition for the many charlatans and crooks who prey on the fear and vulnerability of other humans—those insensible criminals who peddle conspiracy theories for financial gain.
I believe that people are good for the most part, but they’re afraid, and they’ve been so for long enough.
Imagine, if you’re a coach reading this, that one of your students is scared of attempting a new skill.
And we know many circumstances affect an athlete’s performance.
How would you handle this predicament? And it is indeed a predicament because failure to approach it properly could have detrimental consequences to the athlete’s progress.
Would it not be advisable to ascertain why the athlete is afraid? Ensuring that all progressions to this new skill are covered is always helpful – it shows that the athlete is [proportionally] ready to move on.
Fear of the unknown is natural after all. A new intricate manoeuvre presents the possibility of failure and injury. It is, therefore, a sign of intelligence to question all possible outcomes. The reason for this questioning is self-preservation.
As you read this, I’m sure you think this conversation would be different with different athletes. And you’d be correct. It is true that sometimes as coaches, we need to push athletes past a concern without much talking about it, but that shouldn’t be the norm.
The social and political climate today is similar to that athlete’s predicament. The world has told its citizens to deal with something unprecedented, and it hasn’t fully explained how.
And whilst I applaud those willing to comply by taking the necessary steps to safety, those who are still afraid to attempt those steps require a different conversation.
Get new tips delivered to your inbox.
I’d be remiss in concluding that the conversation is simple or easy to have. The sheer logistics of this communicative endeavour are staggering. How do you have a discussion with the entire world?
Therefore, I’m saying that it is not up to governments to have this talk with us; it is up to us to have it with each other.
We need to do our best to verify that the people around us have the resources to understand what is currently happening – that they have the emotional tools to be resilient and to feel safe.
This attitude can help the world. Solidarity can help us create an environment where learning and thriving become easier.
Thank you for stopping by.
— Coach José