Do Ask Tig. And Do Ask Yourself

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Tig Notaro is a stand-up comedian who started her Don’t Ask Tig podcast during the pandemic to offer what she freely admits as being most likely bad advice to people who are nonetheless moved to ask her for it anyway. Because she’s a comedian, the podcasts are usually funny but that’s really more of a side bonus because it’s pretty clear Tig is genuinely coming from a place of true concern for wellbeing and really does mean to (kind of) help out.
To help her do so, she always brings a guest of some celebrity on. Most of them are no more professionally qualified than she is to offer advice with the exception of her latest guest, Deepak Chopra. It’s kind of funny, then, that the advice I’m plucking from that episode to share comes from Tig, inspired by a 90-year-old lady. As the story goes, quite a number of years ago Tig and a friend were waiting to take the elevator up to her friend’s apartment when Flo, his 90-year-old neighbor, walked by them and bolted up the stairs, shouting over her shoulder, “Use it or lose it!”
As Tig points out, most of what we hear passes briefly through our ears with only the occasional bit sinking in and changing our lives. This was the case for Tig that day she was admonished by a spry 90-year-old. Being advised at the elevator door to “use it or lose it” by a person twice her age flipped something, allowing her to hear as if for the first time the profundity of that truth. This time, however, she heard it in an even bigger way -- not as something specific to physical activity, but as it relates to most everything. For Tig it became:
“Use it or lose it with relationships. Use it or lose it with your health. Use it or lose it with creativity.” As Tig says, “Basically, anything you do not use, similar to a muscle, you will lose.”
In that way, “Use it or lose it” moves very seamlessly into, “What we practice we become,” which carries right on through to, “What we do is who we are.” If we practice kindness, we are kind. If we practice open-mindedness, we are open minded. If we practice creativity, we are creative.
For Tig, she has internalized “Use it or lose it,” to such a degree she hears herself saying it in her head all the time. She calls this sort of internal talk a form of self-advice, be it good or bad advice. She was curious about the kind of advice other people give themselves and I am, too. What pieces of advice have you given yourself to get through the craziness of the past two years? Was it good advice?
Click here to submit your advice or head on over to Elements and just leave a comment in this post! I’ll share.
I’m hoping that Tig’s “use it or lose it” story will have a big effect on me. It’s too early to tell if it’s going to be one of those things that sink in (please, please, please) but I’m trying to optimize the chances by repeating it in my head. In fact, I’m going to further engineer this into my life by continuing on with daily planks even on Elements even though my team has reached the finish line. After all, use my core or lose it. But what about you? What new thing are you going to use or lose?