Listening to Captain Obvious

9 Feb

Do you ever have moments where you need to give yourself a mental kick in the ass for doing something either stupid or obvious? You know the situations I’m talking about, where you KNOW you probably shouldn’t be saying or doing something, yet you conveniently forget the obvious and you do it anyway only to find yourself both stupidly surprised and resigned to needing to deal with the consequences of one of those classic “I’m an idiot” moments.

There are days when I find myself in a whole world of stupid, where everything seems to be going “wrong” and yet I know it’s all been my own fault, even if all of the problems that have occurred have started out totally innocently. Sometimes you’re smart and you learn your lesson, and other times you find yourself repeating the same dumb mistakes over and over again, refusing to  learn a lesson every single time.

Even worse of course is when you have the classic “Captain Obvious” person come up to you and point out your moment of stupidity by telling you something you already know, and cheerily being completely unhelpful by stating the glaringly obvious. I remember riding my old motorcycle one day on a very wet and windy morning on the way to work, and the wind blew me onto a wet tram rail such that the front wheel slipped and the motorcycle went down – very hard! Lucky for me Captain Obvious was immediately there at the scene to cheerfully say to me “Don’t you know that you should ride on wet tram track?!”. He didn’t offer to help me up or to see if I was injured. I suspect he was to busy hurrying along to the next place where his incredible observational skills might be needed.

Sometimes this convenient forgetfulness causes real problems, and you just wish your own internal Captain Obvious was there to remind you as a little voice in your head to avoid doing something stupid in the first place. I’ve had those moments in the past when I just knew I shouldn’t eat that extra pizza (and yes I do mean a whole pizza, not the slice), or when I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that seafood dish because I KNEW it would probably have traces of shellfish in it, and of course I just did it anyway thinking to myself that it would be OK – just this once – and of course knowing that it really wouldn’t be.

While I know I’m now on top of the temptation to do the wrong things in terms of my diet, I do still succumb to those moments of stupidity that I know will leave me wishing later that I had listened to myself instead of just going ahead with something stupid anyway. Take last night for example. I decided to stay up a little later and work on a spread sheet that I wanted to improve to make my fitness tracking simpler. I KNEW I should leave it until the next day, but instead I simply ploughed on to get it done, getting distracted by other thoughts and ideas along the way as I sometimes do when I am researching a thought or an idea, and I ended up going to bed at about 3am.

What makes this situation worse is that I did exactly the same stupid thing the night before for some other relatively trivial thing simply because it interested me. I knew I’d wake up late and would feel tired and irritable, but stupidly went ahead anyway. The cost is that by not getting enough good quality sleep, I have made today’s efforts at a workout harder to face, and I know that I push myself harder when I am better rested and more alert. My wife likewise was up quite late last night, so we’ve both woken up moody, easily irritated, and while we’ll get over it and will feel more kindly towards each other with a little more sleep, the stupid thing is that all of this sort of stuff can be so easily avoided simply by letting the inner Captain Obvious voice be heard early to remind me to simply get a good night’s rest, and that whatever it is I want done can be done “tomorrow”. In that way, I could avoid allowing my inner Captain Obvious to gloat about my stupidity afterwards!

There are also times however, when Captain Obvious is just plain wrong, and really does need to be ignored. In particular, when you are working out, exercising, or in the middle of some sort of physical endurance trial that you really want to complete. When you first start to workout, Captain Obvious tells you things like “This is going to hurt”, “You’re hurting right now”, “If you stop now, you’ll feel more comfortable”, and the classic “Ok, you’ve been at this for 2 minutes, your all nice and sweaty, surely you’ve done enough?!”.

While Captain Obvious might occasionally prevent you from stupidly injuring yourself, you’ll also find his arguments really compelling when you’re feeling tired, dehydrated, run down, or simply not in the mood. Ignoring him will help you to get the most out of exercise, particularly early on when he’s telling you that you’re hot, sweaty, showing way to much bum-crack , and not really enjoying yourself. When you can turn off the inner voice that is telling you that you can’t do something, you can push yourself to a point where not only do you prove you actually CAN do it, but that it wasn’t as unenjoyable as you may have first thought. Sure, you may feel uncomfortable, and you know that your muscles will ache the next day, but at least you’ll have earned all of that discomfort and you’ll have worked yourself closer to your goals.

So now, I am obviously tired and cranky, I’ve got some weekend chores to do, and of course I need to do my workout because I promised myself to stick to my 28 day workout plan – and today is an all important Core day. Captain Obvious keeps on trying to talk me out of it, but I’m going to ignore him and do it all anyway… and perhaps if I’m feeling particularly generous to him I’ll actually listen to the Captain’s obvious advice when I’m feeling tired and it’s time to get a really good nights sleep.

So… do you have any moments of stupidity you’d like to share where a real life Captain Obvious came to your “rescue”?

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3 Responses to “Listening to Captain Obvious”

  1. teenieyogini 9 February 2013 at 23:40 #

    I think you just did! I was sitting outside Dunkin Donuts when I started reading this, thinking I’d really like a icey sugary creamy dark chocolate latte with a big fat brownie batter filled donut… Thanks for reminding me I’d be miserable later!!!

    • Sean Robins 10 February 2013 at 07:54 #

      I am so “mean”! 😛

      • teenieyogini 10 February 2013 at 10:58 #

        Fine by me. I ended up having a perfect food day 🙂

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