Make what is Trivial, Meaningful

‘The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and began dropping in on the ones that looked interesting… if I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would never have had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.’ -Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (p. 37)

Words: 738

Estimated reading time: 7-8 minutes

TLDR Version:

  • A qualification’s content is a set of agreed skills between various stakeholders of the industry
  • A qualification is an endorsement of an individual to competently carry out defined skills. It sets us apart from someone who does not have it, but also boxes us in with everyone who does
  • Going down a niche PERSONAL interest is important to set yourself apart from your colleagues
  • By bringing your interests into your profession, you are able to bring your passion into your work, as opposed to focusing on just the technical skill


Through any structured qualification, we are given a set of modules and/or unit of competencies to study and pass. We must pass a combination of these competencies in order to achieve a minimal grade, that can then be used to issue a qualification from your chosen institution.

Have you ever wondered ‘how’ these unit of competencies are determined? A large part of these competencies are agreed upon by multiple stakeholders in that industry. For example, there would be a professional board of, say, ‘Design and Textiles’ made up of high experienced people that represent the interests of the ‘Design and Textile’ profession. Then, there would be a ‘Factory and Production’ board, made up of highly experienced people who hire designers. These two boards would need to come to an agreement as to what skills they would like to see added or removed from your training qualification.

This is a necessary process in the formation of any qualification. However, a common mistake that can be made as the student – is thinking that the qualification is adequate for the entirety of their career. This could not be further from the truth. A qualification, in simplistic terms, is an endorsement of a set of skills and competencies. These skills act to separate you from anyone of the street, but also boxes you in with anyone who also possesses the qualification. With the beauty of mathematics, allow me to illustrate my point.

There are 1000 personal trainers actively working in Sydney (figures are made up). There are 10000 people who would like to work as a personal trainer but do not possess the formal qualification. So, mathematically speaking, there are 1000 trainers who have taken the time to set themselves apart from the 10000.

However, there are now 1000 trainers who have received the same (or very similar) training to each other. Now we have 1000 people who are looking for a personal trainer with basic skills. From a pragmatic viewpoint, we might assume that all trainers with the same qualifications can do the same job (although this is very rarely true).

Let’s build upon that example further. We now have 100 people who are looking for a personal trainer who can provide basic training as well as refine their running technique. Of the 1000 trainers, we have 100 who are recreational runners, but only 10 who have undertaken their own refinement of running technique.

Now as the final piece of this example, of those 100 people looking for a PT with a running background, 50 of them are open to the idea of trail running. But of the 10 PTs with a running expertise, only 2 of them are familiar with trail running.

The idea being illustrated here is thus, a qualification does not set you apart from your colleagues. A niche will set you apart from some of your colleagues. Taking an element of your niche and exploring it will set you apart from most of your colleagues. But more importantly, if your niche is a genuine passion of yours, your craft will transform from one of technicality to passion. You’ll add another dimension to your role – that of a PT helping others, to a PT helping others through the expression of their interests.

One of the stand out features of the early Macs that separated them from their competitors – was their user friendly fonts. Although this might seem trivial, no other computer had this. This triviality was only possible because Steve attended classes outside the confines of the generic computer framework. He later found a way to integrate these fonts into his product.

As coaches, we must attain our core skills and competencies first. This is a non-negotiable. However, following this accomplishment, the true evolution of ourselves as trainers is the extended knowledge we acquire, which we then integrate into our service. How and what you do is up to you but here at M3, we are dedicated to creating courses that will help you along the way.

Yours in Health and Movement,

The M3 Team