If you are like me, once you have an interest, you will do what is within yourpower to excel it. We both know that perfection is impossible. Thatdoesn't mean we can't try.
We dedicate ourselves to a consistent schedule of disciplined practice. Weknow that the little moments of pain, will yield a lifetime of pleasure.
Furthermore, if you are like me, you know that there are rough days. Those arethe days when you don't want to hit the gym, go running, write a blog post,pick up the guitar, get to dance practice, and or whatever it is that ticklesyour fancy.
However, we are persistent and determined people. We pick ourselfs off ofour butt and do what we have to. It is demoralizing, we spend all that mentalenergy to get ourselves in motion, but the output is terrible. I don't knowabout you but I get discouraged. I want to quit. I hate it when my hard workshows backwards progress.
I am one of those people who over analyze and constantly reassess theircapacities. Even though I know that the converse can yield just as muchsatisfaction, I have this unreasonable expectation that if I don't constantlyimprove at what I am pursuing, then I am wasting the precious little time I haveon this planet. I think we have all heard a variant of the notion that we can dowhatever we enjoy and it will bring us peace, happiness, and satisfaction.
That's just not how I roll. Not right now anyways.
So if you are like me, you know how despairing it is to realize that you aren'tconsistently improving at, that thing you have been dedicating chunks of yourday to on a consistent basis. It sucks man.
I had that moment of despair today. I didn't sleep too well the night before,but I hauled myself to the gym after work. I needed to train so that I can run amarathon.
Running a marathon is on my bucket list of things to do before I die. Inparticular I want to run the Boston Marathon, which has a minimum requirement ofeight minutes per mile pace.
So I hit the gym and followed my regimen, pumped out some sweet pullups and etc;but as soon as I started running, I knew something was off.
Two days before, I had the fastest average run in my life. Coming from not beingable to run a mile at any time, I was able to run Three Point Something milesin twenty-five minutes or run a mile in roughly an eight minute twenty second.I was elated. I was a step closer to the marathon pace. I even shared myachievement with some workers this morning.
Inspiration for the easily demotivated
After five minutes into a run that I felt was off, a run that I was giving allmy mental will power to keep doing, Runkeeper notifies me that I am onlyrunning at a nine minute ten seconds per mile pace. Damnit.
I had dropped by a whole forty seconds! I was bummed out man.
Since I had already started running, I might as well finish it. While running, Ifought with my despair. Out of nowhere and idea hit me:
If I compare myself to my last high point then I am only setting myself up forfailure. The only thing that I would get by comparing myself to that highpoint is disappointment and that disappointment can lead to catastrophic failure (giving up completetly).
I find satisfaction when I improve relative to what I achieved before. However,there is there is no set criteria for what before is.
It may not be original, but it is original for me.
Let me borrow an analogy from the stock market: long term shareholders of asuccessful company do not despair when stock price fluctuates day to day. Why?They know that the fluctuations are routine and that in the long run thefluctuations are washed out by the company's overall direction, up and to the right.
What if I focused not on my day to day improvements, but on my improvements overthe past months and years? After all, my interests are long term stakes inmy mental and physical well being. When I look at my progress in that light, theminor ups and downs are just minor ups and downs. As long as I can look backand see that I have improved from where I was a few months ago, I can besatisfied. I am going up and to the right.
I finished my run today with an average pace of nine minutes and seven secondsper mile. I didn't beat my pace from two days prior; however, I ran at a pacethat was thirty seconds faster than when I started running on March 9th, and Iran for twice as long. Knowing that, I felt good about myself. I managed totough through a rough patch on my journey up and to the right.
I hope that my little mental trick works for you. Everyday is a struggle to getbetter at what we are interested in. Some days are easier and others and thereare no tricks that work for everyday. If you are anything like me, this isjust another tool in our utility belt as we climb our way up and to the right.