Episode 63 | Finding Your Signal Within the Noise

Show Notes:

In this episode, we cover how you can find your own ACL “signal” within the noise. With a world full of information overload, how are we able to make sure we are taking the right steps in the ACL journey?

  • Filtering through information
  • Creating boundaries, community groups, mindset
  • Being rooted in principles and the basics so you can find your signal within the noise of your ACL rehab process.

What is up guys, and welcome back to another episode on the ACL Athlete Podcast. Today, we are talking about finding your “signal” within the noise.

You’re probably like, what is he talking about? There’s a lot of noise in the ACL space. And I’m sure if you’ve done any searching, you’ve probably been like, there’s so much information out there. How do I know what’s right? How do I know what’s wrong? And that’s what can be the double-edged sword with information, with Internet, and social media, depending on what resources you’re looking at.

I want to talk today a little bit about that noise and also how to find the signal within that. And it’ll be short and sweet. This is thinking more about a reflection or just a reminder and being able to take a step back and think about what you’re letting in. And I think that that’s something that can be helpful for any person, honestly, in their life and in this process. To make sure that we are looking at this with a good filter. And also seeing how that is impacting our mindset, which is directly going to impact our actions. And we know that the mindset will really impact how we are navigating this ACL process in general. 

When we talk about signal, signal is the meaningful information that you are actually trying to detect. The noise is the random unwanted variation or fluctuation that interferes with the signal. When you think about the signal itself, in particular to your contacts, that is your specific ACL rehab journey process. And then you know you have the injury, it happens, and you start to look up things to gather more information. Typically, it’s you have an injury, you potentially go and get an MRI or you see a professional, an orthopedist. Get an MRI, you find out whether it’s torn or not. And then there’s the route of the surgery versus not, and then physical therapy, and the rehab process itself.

Now, you could either allow that to happen to you. But what I find a lot when I’m talking to athletes is that we’re gonna search, we’re going to try and educate ourselves a little bit of what this looks like, especially when it comes to this injury. And it’s such a common injury and it’s such a complex injury. And so that’s where the online world can create a lot of noise. We don’t know what to believe, we don’t know what is the right answer for your specific situation. And then you talk about the other pieces where it could be a potential comparison. And I’ve talked about this before. And comparison can actually add a lot of noise to this process.

And what I see a lot of times is that athletes will compare themselves to Susie, Jojo or Ryan, who are all going through the ACL process. But each person- if you were to list out all the different factors for every single person who’s going through this process, it could be something just as simple as age; it could be something as simple as the sport; it could be something as simple as the injury itself and what happened in the knee; it could be the graph type itself. There’s so many factors that make this such an individualized process. Because human beings, at the end of the day, our individual human beings, and they’re different. We’re all different. And so that’s where the comparison piece can get really troublesome, especially with social media.

So what I will see or I will hear is that athletes will say like, what’s their name is Susie is jumping at two months post-op. Well, great. You’re not Susie, and your process is a little different. And so that’s going to add some noise and it’s also going to add some comparison that you just don’t need in this process. That can impact your mindset in a very negative way. And so then we need to be able to grab hold of that and make sure that that’s not what’s happening. And you’ll see this, whether it’s on Instagram or Facebook, or Reddit. I have athletes who are in plenty of these groups and on these platforms, and again, they could be double-edged swords. 

And I think the conversation here is more to focus on being aware of that, more than anything. There’s so much value to some of these groups. You just want to be careful to make sure that it’s not something that you are applying to your own situation. And that’s where making sure that this community is something that is supportive and that it is putting more positive into the mindset bucket, if you will, instead of negative. And that’s what I typically see is that sometimes people can get really negative because they see a lot of the things that people are posting where there’s an issue or they had this X experience. And while there can be something to learn from that, it’s just being aware of letting that in. That’s the main thing. And that could be even something as simple as going to your local physical therapy clinic and seeing some other person in there who’s rehabbing their ACL. That could be something that can sneak in as well. 

And there has been a comparison podcast episode that we’ve talked about this. But I just want this to be something to bring to light as a reminder, especially with recent conversations with athletes. It can almost be this information overload that adds a ton of noise to their process and they almost get kind of frozen because they’re like, well, I don’t know what to do. I need to do this or that. This person said this. I need to get that. Maybe I need to check out this surgery. This is where being able to work with professionals who are very sound in this and making sure that you have essentially that GPS that we talk about. And that’s what’s most important is that you’re being guided in this journey and you’re not having to do it alone. I totally understand being able to do the research and learn. I was the exact same way. And that’s where just being able to have a good filter is important as being able to know what is noise versus what’s not, and finding the signal within that. And so that’s where you look at your own ACL journey as the signal, you look at your own professional as you’re working with a signal. 

And that might be something where you might have to change professionals, whether that’s the surgeon or physical therapist, the coach you’re working with because you’re just not getting a good signal or guidance from them. So then that might be something where you’re like, okay, I need to find someone who actually cares, who actually understands this process. And that way I can fine-tune what it is of that noise and find the best signal in this. 

And so the other piece to this I want to also add is a community is so important as a support system and that’s where it’s going to help to, again, reduce some of that noise and to be able to feel very supported. And that’s where those groups can be beneficial. But then it’s making sure that you put up that wall or those boundaries. And trust me, if there’s anything I’ve learned about human beings, we need more boundaries. In life, in general, is to be able to create boundaries and know, okay, is this feasible and acceptable to let in or is it not? But just make sure if you find a community that you’re not comparing your situation to Susie or Ryan or Jojo. It’s you. Your situation is very unique and very different. You’re on your own journey. And that’s where the signal comes in, and that’s where being very set and rooted in these principles, and hopefully that is via the professionals that you’re working with.

And I know that’s a big reason why people listen to this podcast. And I want this to be also something that you also look through and you filter and make sure that whether that’s something we’re talking about, that there are sources that we are citing, or making sure that it is valid and reliable and can apply to your situation.

And that’s where making sure it is vetted based on science and evidence of data, and not just anecdotal. Anecdotal can be valuable. But at the end of the day, we have to root ourselves in principles, which are the science, the evidence, and the data. And knowing that we are working with human beings and each human being is so unique and so different, especially in this type of recovery.

And the other thing that can be a very good principle to really hone in on is sticking to the basics. And one of the things that you’ll see that’s kind of noisy, especially with social media, there could be this new thing that’s like really cool, whether it’s like these flashing lights or this balance thing. Everyone loves the knee over toes type of conversation. But at the end of the day, we are not getting the basics. And if you want to talk about the signal, stick to the basics. And this doesn’t mean doing straight-leg raises for 12 weeks, it means the principles of good ACL rehab and strength and conditioning will root this process no matter what you’re trying to get back to. And that’s where their signal and that’s where working with a professional who knows these things is going to be so valuable in aiding you on your ACL journey. 

My challenge to you is to find your signal within the noise. Make sure that you are looking through the lens of your own ACL rehab, your own journey, and knowing that you are very unique in this aspect. And as you look for resources and gather education and things to equip you for this process, that’s what this podcast is for. I encourage you to be very specific and judicial, if you will, in terms of what you let in. Because there are so many things that I’ve talked to a lot of athletes recently about, and it’s easy to get on a Reddit thread and read a lot of how many people’s journey has been, and that can be good. But just know that that could be a double-edged sword where it could also impact your mindset and could also impact your own recovery and the actions that you take.

Trust your gut. Make sure you stay rooted in the principles. Make sure that you’re trying to find the signal within the noise. If you’re having trouble with that, then find a professional to work with, that can help you to navigate this process to be that GPS. If you need help with that, please reach out. All right guys, that’s going to do it for today. 

Thank you all so much for listening. Make sure you are finding your signal within the noise. Cheesy I know, but I promise you it’s worth it. Reminder, just keep this in your back pocket, especially whenever things start to get a little darker in the ACL rehab process. Be very intentional about what you let in and put up those boundaries. Until next time, team. This is your host, Ravi Patel, signing off.

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