I’m heading out tomorrow for my second first ever trail run and I’m fairly fired up about it. Our group has grown from three to four so I’ll be running with three of my best running buddies, out in the wilderness, just at the end of peak color season – it’s going to be awesome.
Sadly, I was woefully unprepared as far as trail running shoes go. I could have worn my bright, shiny white AdiZero road shoes and been just fine, though I’d have ended up with muddy shoes – I hate white, muddy shoes. Fortunately I’m a little too much of an equipment junky to do that so I picked up a new pair of trail shoes today…
They’re about as close to minimalist as I’ll ever get… They’ve got a memory foam sole. It feels like maybe four millimeters thick. At first I didn’t like them but they’re really growing on me… I tried them on while I was out shoe shopping with the wife before date night with the misses last night.
I know what you’re thinking fellas, shoe shopping with the wife?! Well boys, those points don’t accumulate on their own… This is why they say marriage takes work, so we grabbed a couple of grande mochas at the Coffee Beanery and walked around the mall for a bit last night. The trick to keeping the point grab to a reasonable – so as not to accumulate too many points all at once, is to go shopping with only an hour and a half remaining before the mall closes. This way the wife gets to go shopping with her man, and you’re assured that the torture will be short-lived!
Smart livin’ gents, smart livin’.
I’ve covered quite a bit in my self evident truths. Most are interesting takes on time honored axioms and number thirteen, well let’s just say it fits.
Many of my previous self evident truths deal with primary responses to internal or external stimuli. Number thirteen is different, it’s a secondary response.
Most of us go through a hard time now and again. Many of us have had to deal with the fact that bad things happen to good people and, on a personal level, I hope like hell that bad things happen to bad people. The question is, how do we react to the bad times?
Some people handle stress better than others. It’s the others that are important here. Stress is a mental, and physical, response to difficult, negative, new or unknown situations. Often thoughts rush into our heads in a torrent, making it difficult to sort the good from the bad – or worse, we don’t separate the good from the bad and assume that all thoughts, because they occur, are valid (that goes to its own self evident truth) – if that’s the case by the way, if you believe that every thought that enters your melon has merit (and/or validity) you are both deeply troubled and very wrong.
Beyond that, this is where it gets good:
How often do you get upset when bad things happen? How often do you get a little kooky when things get stressful? How often do you react poorly when the going gets tough?
I do all three in response to new situations that I have a hard time figuring out how to handle. For a while that happened a lot, seeing as every day is a new day… Now it mostly happens related to work…but that’s a very long story.
The bottom line is this:
If we already know that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, it makes no sense to get upset when it happens.
That may sound cool, I always thought it was pretty damn profound, but without a way do deal with situations that can baffle us, without a way to work through the BS, it’s little more than a neat saying fit for a cheap t-shirt.
Now this gets deep, so hang on with me for a second. When I concentrate on outcomes, on future results that I can neither control or predict, I get out of sorts. Add to this a new situation, with strange circumstances, and it can quickly become too much. That’s when bad things grow into monsters. This is where the old saying “life is a journey, not a destination” gets its roots. We must focus on the journey, not the destination. It’s very easy to get lost in the necessity of the outcome and lose focus on the journey. This is the very definition of stress, it’s just too long to fit in the dictionary. To stress out in these situations is also very easy to do, especially when our base instincts, survival, shelter, etc. rely on an outcome.
Recognition that we are spinning out of control is key. We can do little to counter our own irrationality until we can see that we’re reacting, rather than taking action. Once we recognize that we’ve spun out (or that we will be spinning out), we can take action to correct ourselves.
Some will use faith (I do), others good, orderly direction. Still others will turn within and simply look for the proper path. In the end, it all boils down to one action. Doing the next right thing.
This is the key to the lock. If I can do the next right thing, or at the very least seek out the next right thing, the details tend to work themselves out, so at some point I can look back and think, “wow, it’s unbelievable that things turned out exactly as they should have”. Sometimes this happens quickly, often it takes a while, but if we look, it’s there.
Finally, there is one more thing to remember… Once we’ve worked things through a few times using this, once we’ve seen the positive results associated with taking action over reacting, of concentrating on the journey, we must come to the natural conclusion that it is not unbelievable. To the contrary, it works every time. It’s very believable, it is, put simply, amazing.
Practice make perfect. Just remember it’s practice.