“Frustration is the first step towards improvement. I have no incentive to improve if I’m content with what I can do and if I’m completely satisfied with my pace, distance and form as a runner. It’s only when I face frustration and use it to fuel my dedication that I feel myself moving forwards.” – John Bingham
In Denver, a person will see a plethora of stickers on the back of vehicles that show “26.2″, “13.1″, and “70.3″. All are proud badges of honor of accomplishments that have been done. Like many that I know, when I start off on a run the very first steps seem to be the most difficult. Our bodies are still tight, even though we have done the proper amount of stretching. We begin to feel our lungs getting used to the expansion that is going to be required as we get further into the run. Some of us have our ear buds in the auditory canal… either there are musical notes beginning the beat that many times matches our will and our footsteps… or there is a subtle soothing voice that says “You are now beginning your run.” All the while, we know the path and how far we want to go.
Often, we start our run and we come across something that causes us to detour our path or possibly we have a canter that doesn’t feel quite right. For those that have a goal in mind, we mentally fight to make adjustments. For those of us that don’t have a goal in mind, we simply turn around to go back home. All along the way we get frustrated and inwardly say how stupid it was to even attempt this exercise. We think about all the other things we could do to get “exercise” or how nice it would be in our warm homes on such a cold day. Then we do the ultimate act of violence against ourselves… we think “I can’t do this, anyways.” We declare ourselves to be less than we really are meant to be.
It wasn't just for external reasons that we initially thought of changing our life course. No, we saw a need and we wanted to change. We wanted to “break script” from a life that was not going in the direction that we wanted to go in. We got tired of being out of breath when we walked up a flight of stairs… or we couldn’t move from an “up dog” position to a “chaturanga” in a fluid jumping motion… or we simply wanted to be healthier. We wanted something back that we felt like we had lost. We wanted our youth back. We got so tired of being tired. We saw the vitality of the young and wanted it. We saw a life that we might have had and simply misplaced. We allowed the rhythm of an external life to carry us away to a place of mindless movement. We may have rebelled at first and fought against it. We promised that we would do extra workout outs after we binged on an extra-large, extra meat pizza. But those promises gave way to other things… and then eventually we just adopted a lifestyle that did not fit.
Now, we find a longing deeper within to get back what we had given away. Now, we want to live a lifestyle that is more representative of what we value. We get the inner motivation to become more active.
This inner motivation is what fuels our drive to the gym, the recreation center, the nearest Cross Fit location, the athletic store, the dance class… or whatever we want to do that will “make” us what we now want to be. We pay for the classes, the memberships, and the gear. Then we go to the local health food store to get the latest in whatever it is that we are looking to accomplish.
Then it happens. We start to “run”. We are feeling sore from the previous workout and can barely move… we look in the mirror the next day and we wonder why we don’t see the changes that we are working towards wanting. Or we get detoured in life due to a major illness… or life got derailed by a death or a loss of a significant other… or we get our inner value diminished by the loss of a job.
We sit back in our life chair and wonder “What is the next thing to happen?” The quick burn of motivation is extinguished. We want to simply quit. We retreat inside and depression fills the void left by motivation. We find ways to escape the depression through activities such as games, television, or more life threatening lifestyle choices.
Life’s cadence is altered many times. It falls out of rhythm. It can be very frustrating. John Bingham used the word “dedication” in the quote mentioned above. We misplace the idea of motivation when we are really looking for inspiration. Inspiration is the deeper sense of embracing an idea… an idea that leads to an act that is clothed in dedication. When we are inspired, we move with a greater sense of dedication. We give space to the fluidity of emotions that we will have as we “run our life race”. Instead of seeing the emotions as being anchors and weights, we will find them as a wind that leads us to a greater understanding of we are and what struggles we have in discovering our true self. Allow the emotions that we encounter the freedom to move through not reside in our lives.