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Our Google Culture

What started out as the brainchild of two Stanford University PhD students has now become one of the biggest companies on our planet. Of course I am talking about Google. In fact, Google is more than just a company. For most of us it is the first port of call for any and all of our day-to-day problems. Let’s be honest, if you are stuck, what is the first thing that you do? “Google it!”

But now, Yale University have decided that this approach makes people think that they are smarter than they really are and that is a real danger to our overall intelligence. This article by Jane Shilling for The Telegraph highlights the main concerns:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11508889/If-you-value-your-intelligence-dont-just-Google-it.html

But this blog is concerned more with the health and fitness community, not society as a whole. It all filters through and trickles down eventually though and we as a society have gone well past using Google just to find out which actor is voicing that character in your favourite Disney films!

If we hear about a new antioxidant or a new superfood or even a new workout the first that you do is head to Google to say what the world says about it. Now that doesn’t mean you are unintelligent and it certainly doesn’t mean that whatever you are about to read is wrong. Plenty of people have lots of valuable things to contribute. The problem is that some information might not be completely accurate, regardless of the author’s intentions.

Pursuing an inaccurate plan can be disastrous. It will leave you frustrated as you constantly fail to hit targets and can eventually bleed you dry of all motivation. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be quite as severe as that.

The important thing is that you use the right sources of information. For example, the personal blog of an avid gym goer might describe what worked well for them but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for the mass. However the blog of an industry professional will contain expert information that is more suited to the mass gym going community.

The same goes for nutritional information. You need to access information that is published professionally to ensure it is as helpful as possible. You can go further than gym owners and personal trainers though. Trusted sources like the NHS provide detailed information on a whole host of different topics.

Once you have established the reliable sources you will start to notice that the information is being repeated. If you are finding four or five industry professionals that are all agreeing on something then the chances are they will be right.

Of course there will always be an element of dispute and you need to be aware of that. Five doctors might say one thing and five personal trainers may say another. In these instances the best option is often to try out whatever it is that you are researching and see how it specifically impacts your life. Our bodies all react slightly differently to every sort of training method and every type of food.

I will be the first to admit I would struggle to live happily without Google. It is the gateway to a world of knowledge that without it would be inaccessible to millions of us. But if you are putting your well-being in the hands of another then do everything you can to make sure they are capable hands.

Children are constantly being told to be careful at what they look at online, maybe now adults should practice what they preach a little bit more.

 

Ollie Lawrence