In an average year, Bambi outscores Jaws by a huge margin: 130 to 1.
The reason most people guess, "shark!" is because immediacy trumps common sense. People are more scared of tornadoes than lung cancer or car crashes, because they can relate to the overwhelming fear they would feel when faced with imminent danger.
Statistically speaking, statistics don't work. Since people generally can't visualize groupings larger than about 50, or 100 at the outside, saying things like "twenty thousand people will die of lung cancer this year!" or "we'll spend $3 Billion fighting diabetes in 2012!" doesn't have the impact that one good story will. We can't relate to the million, but we can relate to the one. Consider donations to testicular cancer research pre- and post-Lance Armstrong. It's not that people aren't aware of lung cancer; of course they're aware. They may even know the statistics. But until you've heard a story, well…….you can't internalize the fear.
Talking on the phone to a reporter from the Sault Star two weeks ago, I was asked why we push such an elite perspective on fitness. My answer? We don't. But we DO show what's possible. We tell stories, we show movies, we celebrate success. We talk about Connor Martin, the original CrossFit Kid, overhead squatting 250lbs at age 16 (and 165lbs bodyweight.) We talk about Everett and Burgener and Khalipa and Salo. We talk about Tanya Wagner. We talk about Carolle.
Talk about something serious, like diabetes, which I may or may not have earned, 30 years from now? I'll walk tomorrow. Today is for cupcakes. McDonald's will always be more convenient than pullups.
Hold a stick over our heads, and we'll jump for it. It's animal nature. Talk about walking more, or 'taking the stairs,' or incorporating more 'whole grains'……..meh. Post a notice that we're doing "Murph" on March 6th? Anxiety. Stress. Nightmares. Self-doubt. And strict preparation. No missed workouts. Intensity in the gym.
What it is, is fulfilling. It demands a lifestyle change. It doesn't beg; it compels. Get to bed early, or else. Don't eat junk, or you'll suffer for it. Measure your progress against the clock; the bar; the board; not the scale. Hold yourself against something higher. Give yourself a reason.