Mental Error #19 - Sensemaking. We Fell For It.

"We understand life backwards, but live it forwards." - Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (Danish philosopher and theologian, 1813-1855) "We don't like uncertainty. We have a need to understand and make sense of events. We refuse to accept the unknown. We therefore seek explanations for why things happen." - Seeking Wisdom, page 91. We see this all the time in the media. Experts can always look back at events and tell us why they think they happened and how it should have been obvious that the event was coming. The current financial meltdown is one example. Everybody's an expert. The problem is that we don't take into account chaos and randomness. There are a lot of books out there about human irrationality right now, so I won't go into too much detail. Check out Fooled By Randomness by Nassim Taleb. Here at, we were victims of this error in one of our leadership meetings. Each Wednesday we meet to check out the latest customer loyalty numbers (net promoter scores, etc.), customer feedback, customer success stories, and much more. We do this to make sure we all know how our customers are feeling, what problems they are having and what they want. It's the most important thing we do! One week we pulled up our latest customer loyalty rating and noticed that it dropped. Ugh! So we immediately started asking ourselves why it happened. We came up with all sorts of answers.
chart_down.jpg "It's that change we made to one of our customer service processes! I knew it!" "We ran out of samples last week in the warehouse again!" "The holiday messed up the shipping times since FedEx didn't deliver on Monday, and customers are mistakenly blaming us for the delay!" We thought we had it all figured out. How smart we are! Then we noticed something funny. We were looking at the wrong chart. We were not looking at the customer loyalty SCORE, but the number of customers that rated us this week. The number of customers that rated us went down (it fluctuates all the time) and we thought we were looking at a chart showing that our customers were not as happy with us this week. Then we looked at the correct chart. Customer ratings actually WENT UP this week!
chart_up.jpg I immediately laughed. We fell victim to one of the mental errors that I'm always reading about. We thought everything made sense. Does this happen to you?

Latest Employee Newsletter Is Up!

Check out it for more insights into the secret underground world at HQ:

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The Director Of Marketing Is RIPPED!

Check him out! John Shumate Director Of Marketing Check out his BodySpace at: When I asked him how it feels to be 50 years old and look like this, he just said:
Feels Good Man

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More Reasons That Bodybuilding Rules...

Here is the new tagline that I just made up for the sport of bodybuilding:
Bodybuilding: It’s Not Just For Looks. Why? Because more and more studies keep coming out that PROVE that bodybuilding is the best thing you can do to improve your overall life. That’s a big, bold statement, but scientific studies back it up. Bodybuilding gives you health, longevity, a positive mood, energy, self-confidence, and allows you to be healthy and feel great so you can be a better spouse, parent, volunteer, employee, and much more. Without your health, you have nothing. Two new studies have just come out: -------------------------------------------
STUDY 1: Men Who Lift Weights Reduce Their Cancer Risk By 40%! From the study:

    "A team of experts, led by scientists from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, tracked the lifestyles of 8,677 men aged between 20 and 82 for more than two decades. Each volunteer had regular medical check ups that included tests of their muscular strength. Between 1980 and 2003, researchers monitored how many developed cancer and subsequently died from it. The results showed men who regularly worked out with weights and had the highest muscle strength were between 30 and 40 per cent less likely to lose their life to a deadly tumour."
Full details:
BODYBUILDING BENEFIT #183: Reduce your risk of cancer and spend more time alive with your family and friends! -------------------------------------------
STUDY 2: Boost Your Mood For 12 Hours With Physical Activity From the study:

    “The study enrolled healthy men and women to complete a survey about their mood states at one-, two-, four-, eight-, 12- and 24-hour intervals following either exercise or rest. Although previous studies have found enhanced mood for up to an hour after exercise, this study found benefits for up to 12 hours following activity, compared to the resting group.”
Full details:
BODYBUILDING BENEFIT #329: Enhance your mood for 12 hours by working out! Imagine what you can accomplish with a good mood for 12 hours a day, and imagine how your relationships with your family and friend would improve. Are you giving them your BEST right now? Probably not if you aren’t working out. ------------------------------------------- If you aren’t bodybuilding, you aren’t living your best life, no matter what your goals are. Here at, we are helping more and more people around the world to benefit from working out and eating right. It’s our company’s mission! We are making a big difference in every part of our customers’ lives. I know we can do MORE to help even more people, and we’ll never stop improving our site and service. Oh, and even though bodybuilding isn’t
JUST FOR LOOKS, it’s still a nice side benefit that can get some positive attention:

» View Full BodyBlog Post Profile In Muscle & Fitness

Check out the scanned PDF from the latest issue of Muscle & Fitness. It's a profile on that includes an interview with me. It has some great info about our strategy, our history, and what we are working on next. Let me know what you think!
View PDF

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The Corporate Headquarters Team - 2009

We took this team photo a few weeks ago. It includes most of the people at our corporate headquarters in Boise, Idaho, which is less than half of our employees. Many of the other team members are working in one of our efficient and spotless warehouses in Idaho, Florida, and Pennsylvania. The team photo below includes our officers, customer service (except the night crew), finance, IT, software development, web content, web store, purchasing, marketing, HR and more. What a good-looking bunch! You would think this was a group of models! =)
Jan2009_CompanyHeadquarters.jpg Click For The Big Version

» View Full BodyBlog Post - The Next Two Years

Check out my write-up in our February Employee Newsletter: Lots of fun stuff happening at!

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A Good Fitness Quote...

I read this the other day and loved it: "You'll either make time to workout now, or you'll spend that same amount of time being sick later." I know which option I'll choose!

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My 2009 Personal Goals...

I'm a little late posting this, but I wanted to share this with everybody like I did last year. I do this for a few reasons: 1. I want to motivate you to create your own goal list (written, not just spoken) and share them with others. That's the SECRET to actually achieving them, according to many studies on success. 2. I want YOU to hold me accountable to each of these things! I'll feel like an idiot if I say that I have a certain goal and then you catch me not doing it. This is good motivation for me! Below are my life goals for 2009. It's similar in style to the ones I wrote in 2008. I reached most of my goals in 2008, and I'm taking things to another level in 2009! I'm posting this list on my wall in my office and on my mirror in my bathroom so I can read it while brushing my teeth (so that will be at least once a week… perfect!). Please reply to this blog entry and post a link to yours. If you are serious about getting to where you want in life, you will do it. You will plan your life and write down your dreams and goals and the steps it will take to get there. You will share them with others. You will create action plans. Otherwise, you'll be wandering aimlessly through life, wondering why you can't seem to get anywhere, and making excuses. That's a proven fact!
Ryan’s Goal Plan For 2009 Where will I be at the end of 2009? Smarter, focusing on the long-term every day, in great shape, IFR-rated with more flying experience, having an even better relationship with my family, with kids that are smart, confident and growing in every way, and feeling good! Or will I waste my time and efforts? I only get one chance at 2009.
FAMILY/PERSONAL 1. Continue spending a ton of quality time with Bryna and kids 2. Do something romantic at least twice per month 3. More learning activities (social, emotional, physical, spiritual, educational) together with kids 4. Continue going to Church on Sundays 5. Continue Sunday BBQs with family and friends 6. Focus on building long-term relationships with close friends 7. Volunteer twice this year for the less fortunate, with the kids so they can learn from it 8. Read five nights a week to kids before bed 9. Have the kids watch learning DVDs in the car 80% of the time, instead of just Disney movies 10. Kyla: Successful in pre-school twice a week, three times a week in the fall. Gymnastics, dance class, more one on one time with only daddy without distractions (at least one fun activity a month), skiing next winter, saying her ABC’s and can recognize each written letter, can count to 100, focus on secure attachments, confidence, achievement motivation through positive reinforcement and scaffolding, feeling 110% loved 11. Raiden: Preschool in the spring three times a week; find a great school for kindergarten and prepare him for it; skiing by himself on green runs; gymnastics; karate class twice per week and earn his first new belt; swimming by himself by summer; motorcycling and four wheeling in the summer; more one on one time with daddy without distractions (at least one activity per month); t-ball in the spring with practice with daddy before it starts. Focus on secure attachments, confidence, achievement motivation through positive reinforcement and scaffolding, feeling 110% loved, comfortable in social situations with kids his age, reading simple books by year end 12. New Baby: Find a name for him, give him love without getting frustrated and showing it, give a lot of attention and time, teach him like I did with the first two, build securely attached relationship 13. Live in the now; appreciate it instead of just thinking about the future 14. Move to newly purchased house in February 15. Write a short daily journal - online
TRAVEL 1. Cross country flying "road trip" in the plane 2. Two weekend trips per month 3. Four weekend ski trips to different places 4. Go to the SuperBowl 5. Go to DisneyWorld 6. Take our whole extended family on our annual Thanksgiving trip for a week 7. Go to Paris with Bryna for a week for 10 year anniversary 8. Book my flight into space on Virgin Galactic
FITNESS/HEALTH 1. Gain five pounds of muscle, build arms to 16.5” flexed (from 16” flexed now); lose bodyfat as a percentage (currently 186 lbs.) 2. Stick to workout schedule - 2x per week weights, 3-5x per week cardio on non-weights days (read during cardio and in between sets at the gym) 3. At least 30 minutes for each cardio session 4. Play on company softball, basketball, and flag football city rec teams 5. Bench 255 for 10 reps (currently 225 for 9) 6. Eat less crap and especially less crap at night – nothing after 10 p.m. 7. Go to bed by 11:30 p.m. every single night and wake up at 7:30 a.m. every morning 8. Take my creatine/HMB supplements each day, along with my others on my daily plan 9. Run a 10k without walking once (or passing out) 10. Track everything I eat using a food diary on my phone. Not the details, just the “macro view”, and post to BodySpace with the meal tracker utility 11. Track bodyweight at least weekly when at the gym; progress photos and body measurements monthly; set dates for tracking in advance and put on calendar
FLYING 1. Fly 3 - 4 times per month 2. IFR Rating by summer (take cross country flying “road trip” as reward for finishing) 3. Fly to ten new airports (two out of state, not counting “road trip”) 4. Fly over the ocean 5. Fly my plane for more trips (at least 50%) instead of just flying commercial.
BUSINESS 1. Be a leader/visionary/strategizer/team builder/team motivator/educator 2. Hit our revenue target 3. Don’t take on ANY day to day type tasks that should be delegated. Stay focused on the long-term and work on important, big picture projects only 4. 2009 is the year of execution for all of the ideas we’ve had for the last few years, now that we have the IT capabilities… MAKE IT HAPPEN! 5. Prep for PR blitz in 2010 6. Spend more time with individual employees and teams; listen 7. Create overall/3month/1month strategies and plans with all departments 8. Concentrate on finding the right people to do the job; focus on people before anything else 9. Get a tattoo
LEARNING 1. Read 30 - 60 minutes per weekday and during cardio 2. Read 2 full books per month 3. Read 2-3 relevant magazines per month, including Harvard Business Review and Inc. 4. Listen to relevant audio books during all alone driving time; finish four per month minimum
PLANNING 1. Create full goal plans at the beginning of each month 2. Audit previous month's goal plan 3. Create plans/strategies from 9 – 10:20 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. 4. Review monthly goals every day, put goals in front of me on my desk and on mirror at home

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What My Son Asked For As A Snack Today...

I'm a proud daddy...
Raiden With His Snack Every morning my son and daughter start their day making a protein shake with daddy. They love it! And whey protein is great for their growth and their immune systems.

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Break Your Resolution! Only 79 Cents!

We all know how hard it is to get in shape and stay in shape. That's why so many of our friends, family and neighbors are obese. There are temptations everywhere to do the wrong thing! Imagine a recovering meth addict that is trying hard not to relapse. Would it be a good idea for them to be around people that are doing drugs? Selling drugs? Obviously not. That's the wrong environment and it will most likely cause them to relapse quickly. For a person that deals with health and/or weight issues, you can see what the environment is for them in our society on a daily basis… fast food restaurants on every corner, candy in every gas station and supermarket checkout line, donuts in every break room, candy and pop machines in every building, and MUCH more. And it's all super cheap and super fast. For example, I took a picture of this sign that was hanging up at a Chevron today:

Break Your Resolution! No wonder it is so tough! That's why what we are all doing as members of BodySpace is so important. We are helping each other to avoid temptation so we will live better, longer, and healthier lives with our families.

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Easily Out Of Breath? My Deviated Septum Surgery Adventure.

Over the last few years, I've been frustrated. No matter how much I worked out, it seemed like I was always getting out of breath before everybody else. I'm on a few city rec sports leagues, and I'd always be the first one to have to take a break during basketball games. I'd listen to other guys complain about being tired and out of breath too, but not at the same level as me... and some of them never worked out. When working out with weights, I'd almost feel like throwing up after each hard set. I'd get a little dizzy. I still pushed through, but it was tough. So I finally researched it online and found others talking about the same breathing problems, and found articles about deviated septums. I then remembered the time I was at a golf driving range with a friend a few years ago. I was standing about 10 feet from him, and he said "watch this!", you know, like people say right before doing something really stupid. I turned and looked at him, and he swung as hard as he could. The ball went directly sideways at 100 mph and hit me square in the nose. My nose bled like it was a hose that was turned on full blast. Argh! It was sore for awhile after that, but it seemed like it healed perfectly. I never saw a doctor about it. So what's a deviated septum? Well, I think this picture pretty much explains it. The septum is the middle, hard part of the nose, and when it leans to one side, and it can make it harder to breathe out of BOTH sides:
Deviated Septum
Deviated Septum I went to talk to an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor and he confirmed that I had a deviated septum. What a relief! I wasn't going crazy. I booked my surgery that day. I won't lie. The surgery SUCKED. Well, the surgery process itself was painless (they knocked me out and then pumped me full of pain meds... mmm...), but the week afterwards was not fun. I had these big tubes up my nose, going all the way down my throat for draining. I couldn't smell anything, couldn't easily eat or drink, couldn't really move around and definitely couldn't exercise, and couldn't breathe very well. Sleeping was almost impossible. I didn't really have a lot of pain in my nose, but those big freakin' tubes in my nose really made life MISERABLE. I had to keep them in for over a week... the longest week of my life.
Deviated Septum - Post Surgery Post-Surgery Once they removed the tubes, I felt like a new man. Wow! I could breathe! Now I am breathing much better and enjoying my workouts again. I'm not exactly an endurance athlete, but I can play basketball without feeling like I am about to die. I'm hitting new lifting records and I overall just FEEL better. So if you feel the same, do some research and see if you might have the same problem.

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Check Out The Guns On Our Director Of Marketing...

How many companies have a Director Of Marketing that looks like this?
John Shumate
John Shumate He knows about fitness and lives it everyday. That's one of the reasons we wanted him to join the team... he knows what you want and need for your bodybuilding and fitness goals. He's dedicated to helping you through our marketing and branding. Check out his latest BodyBlog entries to learn more about John:
John Shumate's BodyBlog

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New Employee Newsletter!

The latest issue of our employee newsletter is out!

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Early Christmas Present: Product Reviews!

It hasn't "officially" launched, so there may be some minor bugs, but check it out! We've been collecting reviews through BodySpace profiles for awhile, so we already have nearly 10,000 reviews available. This is just Reviews version 1. Version 2 coming in a few weeks.

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