Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"Intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. An act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth."

Dive Training Magazine: November 2015 -- No Dumb Questions -- To dive on nitrox or not to dive on nitrox...

Every month, Dive Training Magazine comes out, and one of my favorite parts is the question and answer section written by Alex Brylske. In this month's section, a student working on the completion of her certification wonders if diving on nitrox is worth it or not. She is told by many of her diver friends, "nitrox certification isn't necessary, and it's just a way for a dive shop to earn more money."

Alex does a great job about explaining what nitrox is, some of the myths and facts about it, and why one would want to pay more for this gas. Alex also isn't afraid to address an instructor's comment that, "nitrox will leave you less tired," (for which there is no empirical evidence of) but also wraps up with a final analysis that if the diver is, "someone who plans to limit your diving experiences to the occasional vacation to shallow water (40ft or less), it may not be a worthwhile investment."

As the years goes by, one thing consistently presents itself in the dive industry, and that is "disinformation." If I am using the correct word to illustrate my thought, I am describing a statement by which information is incorrectly expressed in order to perpetuate an ongoing inaccurate course. Wikipedia describes "disinformation" as "intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false." Perhaps many of those that have the wrong information are mistaken, but it is interesting that there is so much wrong information out there! (I chuckle as I write that...)

As I evolve as an independent instructor, I've learned to temper my reactions to these occurrences of disinformation with trying to offer the correct information. The process of expressing that information in a responsible and professional manner is part of my personal growth. Regrettably, many don't want the correct information even when it comes from credible sources, defaulting verbatim to friends, family, acquaintances, or worse yet -- the internet. A good friend and business colleague (a mentor really) has told me that when he first met me, I was adversarial, confrontational, and sometimes defensive. My perspective has dramatically changed over the last four years, more so than the previous five years to that (from the beginning of my scuba diving career). I can see it (it was it nice to hear that from him as well). I've discovered that I don't always have to be the one to provide the correct information, particularly when it is not asked for. Like often happens in an industry where everyone is considered a professional the moment a paycheck appears, it's hard for those that have to compete with the traditional source of scuba diving information, "the local dive shop," to be experts in the field. "Pick your battles" comes to mind but when it's my area of expertise, sometimes just smiling and nodding is not the easiest thing to do.

Perhaps the part about all of it that is really hard, is that I want everyone to become scuba divers! It is my driving force, it also pays the bills... Who wants to let the bullies win, if I can loosely use a metaphor? I could say that it is already hard enough to convince people to leave the comforts of their terrestrial environments to explore the aquatic world on cold winter days, but I'm trying. Life is not pulp fiction, but sometimes it is as dramatic. As early as yesterday, this disinformation presented itself and I probably lost a customer because of it. Not because I told them that they were wrong, but because I didn't... In the end, that person will surely learn to dive. Will they start off on the wrong fin? Probably not. Is it necessary for them to know the right answer right now? Probably not. What can I learn from these experiences?

Patience...
Tolerance...


time to go feed the ducks... 

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