” Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.”
I’m a distance runner. I often feel that, more than anything, the race is against myself, my self will, the exhaustion, the pain, but I still rarely find myself competing to win. I feel like I do enough just to get by, to check the list, and, to be honest, that bothers me. Why? Why not run to compete and compete to win? Why in blazing hell would anybody put themselves through the torture to not win? Why spend so much time dealing with proper hydration, healthy eating, chaffing, pulled muscles, blisters, stretching, recovery, leaving home for hours at a time to train, suffer, and do it for nothing? Why do that? It makes no sense!
And there in lies the fundamental problem with my life… I don’t play to win.
In life, business, family, health, anything, we either play to win or play to lose, and the reality is… I want to win. Don’t you? I have a craving for it. So why stop short? Is it the work that’s overwhelming? The process? No. I’m not lazy. Is it out of my reach? Do I not have the potential for success? No. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. Then what? Why not go for it?
One word… fear.
I have, literally, been crippled by fear for some time now. Crippled. I’ve settled, played it safe, done just enough to get by, dabbled, flirted with ideas and stuff, but I don’t lay it all on the line, the follow through is not there, and it’s all because of this feeling that it’s, somehow, OK for everybody to be successful but not me, so there’s no use. So why am I surprised when I continue down the path of disappointment day after day after day? The truth is that I’m not surprised. At some point you get used to feeling like a failure, you even begin to expect nothing more of yourself. It’s one thing to feel failure, it’s another thing to grow so acquainted with each other that you begin to welcome it in like an old friend. That’s no way to live, if you can even call it living.
The reality is fear is real, there’s no question, and we can choose to let it have power over us, or we can choose otherwise. We have to be willing to look at it in it’s googly green eyes, face it, and make the choice to keep moving forward, regardless of what it screams at us… and it’s not easy, is it? I truly admire those who feel the fear, yet keep going in spite of it, and accomplish their goals, their dreams. The good news is that, as of recently, I’ve finally begun to wake up. I do want to go big. If I’m gonna do something, anything, I want to do it well and to the fullest extent possible. I don’t want to go halfway because of a lie, which is all fear is… a lie. I want to be the runner who gets the prize. Life is short. Life is unpredictable. One minute, you’re here, there, somewhere else, then not here at all. The days of our lives are numbered, so why waste, yes waste, them being afraid? Regardless of age, who likes looking back on their life regretting it? It’s an awful feeling. I hate it. I don’t want that for myself, for anybody. I want to look back and see the journey of failures and successes, because that’s just life, and say, “At least I know. At least I gave it a good go and didn’t leave any room for question.”
We can easily look back on our lives and see the times we went for it, the times where it may have even hurt, but we went for it, and it felt right. Well, I don’t want to keep looking back, remembering the “good ole days”. I want to live in the present, the now, and anticipate the days to come, knowing, confident, that this prison cell called fear was a thing of the past, but the future on the horizon, though the challenges offer plenty of reason to fear, is filled with faith, freedom, fulfillment, joy, and hope. That’s living… seeing fear for what it really is, yet still embracing the process, the training, the winning, the losing, making adjustments, and doing it over and over again.
“Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
Serious runners, I have discovered, are some of the most intentional, focused, devoted, and disciplined people you’ll ever come across. They cut out the things, without complaint, that diminish their potential and focus all of their energies on developing their weaknesses and enhancing their strengths. I want the prize, whatever it may be, so much that I can taste it. Can’t you? Screw fear. There may be some busted knees, some days of disappointment, frustrations, exhaustion, but on the other side, as we give it our all, who knows? Who knows? There’s this strange kind of beauty that lies in the mystery of not knowing what’s on the other side of giving it our everything… doesn’t it just make you wanna go out and explore? And whether we win or lose, at least we’d be able to lay our head on the pillow at night knowing that we did everything we could rather than leave it to wander.
So laces up… time to go… runner’s set…