The Wellness Pragmatist


The Wellness Pragmatist is an enigma.

Pragmatism is a funny thing. Everyone thinks they have it but few people regularly demonstrate it. And so it is when it comes to Wellness Pragmatism. Ask most people in the wellness industry and they will probably tell you they consider themselves a pragmatist. After all, what’s the alternative? To be an idealist? To be impractical? Irrational? But ask most people outside the wellness industry if they consider us to be a pragmatic bunch, you’ll get a wry smile and a non-committal shrug of the shoulders.

The Oxford dictionary defines pragmatism as ‘A person who is guided more by practical considerations than by ideals’. And someone who deals with problems ‘in a practical way, rather than by using theory or abstract principles’. Noble attributes, wouldn’t you say? No wonder most of us business-type folks like to think of ourselves in this way. In my experience, however, many in our industry come up short in this respect.

Wellness Pragmatist – Stuck in the Middle

The team over at InsideHook, where I first heard this concept discussed, defines the Wellness Pragmatist as someone who ‘embraces technology’ but also knows that ‘naturally derived products and old-school methods are more effective than their modern counterparts.’ They sit somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

At one end of the Wellness Pragmatism spectrum  you have the Old School. These are the yoga purists. The meditating vegans. Those who seem to be on a permanent personal journey of spiritual enlightenment and self-discovery. Over in the New School we have those that want to unravel the secrets of the human genome, create a mobile app for everything they possibly can and have visions of becoming the Elon Musk of Wellness.

In the middle is our Wellness Pragmatist.

Impact isn’t always at the Extremes

We’re often told that the middle ground in dangerous. It’s the dead zone. Try being everything to everyone and you’ll end up being nothing to no one. And that’s true. Usually. But I feel that in terms of Wellness, the middle ground may well be the best position to take. I say this because someone from the Old School will be passionately opposed to the views of someone from the New School. The Elon Musk of Wellness simply has no time for the Meditating Vegan Yogi – and vice versa.

But if you can create a wellness concept, product or service that somehow sits in the middle, you have a shot of getting them both on board. Try to own one end of spectrum and you will alienate the other. In a market that is still finding its way and trying to understand it’s true identity, there may not be enough at the ends to sustain a real business.

Best of Both Worlds

As a side note, I always find it interesting that when we categorise ideals, concepts, people, etc., as being half way between THIS and THAT, we always assume that the middle ground represents the best of both worlds. But doesn’t it follow that the middle position should also represent the worst of both worlds too? We assume that the worst of THIS extreme is automatically countered by the best of THAT at the other extreme. But I don’t believe this is always true.

What exactly does this have to do with the concept of The Wellness Pragmatist? Not a great deal actually. But at 30,000 ft, somewhere over the Java Sea, sometimes these thoughts get into your head and you just need to get them out. J


Special thanks to Jeremy McCarthy who sent me the InsideHook article. He thought he would be good fodder for my daily podcast – Trent365! He was right (see Ep. #265 ) In fact, I thought it was such a great concept to explore that I felt it warranted a deeper discussion here. Thanks Jeremy!