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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts


Posted: August 03, 2008

Have you ever wanted to do something, but wasn’t quite sure about it? You thought you’d like to do it, but didn’t know if you could. It seemed pretty hard, so you backed away.

You’re not alone. It seems like it’s much easier to not even try sometimes. Why put yourself through the hassle? Why get started, make the investment, get things going, if you know it won’t last anyway, right?

The problem is that nothing worthwhile comes easily. If you only do those things that come easily, it’s possible you’ll never really be doing anything big, that’s life changing.

You could miss the one thing that turns everything around, set you on a new course, and take things to a new level. It’s like the old saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” It’s easy to fall into mediocrity.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re happy—really happy—with the way things are, then that’s O.K. Don’t rock the boat. Sometimes, that’s exactly the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the majority of us really feel that way. Almost all of us have a deep felt need to do something. To try something, go somewhere; to be something different.

We’re wired a certain way to do something special. If you’re a believer, you could say we’re designed that way. Until we do it, or become it, we’re never going to be completely happy. This applies to our bodies too.

And we know that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. Look, even a child knows when something is wrong. We know we need to take better care of ourselves. We know we need to eat better. But then we don’t.

It’s the same thing with that deep felt need. I think it’s really rare when someone can truly say that they’re right where they’re supposed to be—doing exactly what they’re supposed to do. Too many of us settle for second best.

We take the easy way out and try to make the most of it, and then spend the rest of our lives wondering, “What if…?” We take one step forward and two steps back and wonder why we’re not getting anywhere.

It’s time to get off that train. Let me share something that works for me, and something I’ve seen in others who seem to get what they want.

When you see someone doing something that you’d like to do, ask the question “Why not me?” I’m not suggesting you start complaining, I’m suggesting you start considering.

Who says you can’t do that? Why can’t you do that? Why can’t you go there? Why not, really? What are the reasons that make that impossible? What would it take to make it possible? Is it something that could be done if you really tried—really worked at it?

I’d like to run a marathon in less than 5 hours (I’m a snail). Why not me? What’s it going to take? Lots of running, four times a week. A speed run, a tempo run, a recovery run, and a long run (see last week’s article for more details).

I’ve run (trotted) three of them now. It’s getting tiresome seeing people several decades my senior passing me up (God bless em).

Last year in mile 24, a sweet gray 70 year old woman caught me, slowed down and asked, “how you doing sweety?” I managed to get out “fine, but this is hard.” She patted me on the shoulder and said encouragingly “that’s O.K., you can do it.” Then she left me in her dust. Seriously.

Yesterday I really didn’t want to run 16 miles. I was tired from working on this tree that fell down in the recent storm. It’s a 100 year old oak tree. Well, 99 years. It’s enormous and I’ve been cutting on it for a week and have several weeks to go.

It was too hot to run outside, so I waited till 6pm to start. Too late, it turns out, because I ended up running an hour and a half in the dark. I told you I was slow.

It was inconvenient. I missed out on some time with my wife. If I want to achieve the goal in the fall though, it had to be done. Next time, I’ll start earlier. But I’m going to start, because I keep wondering, “Why not me?”

I met a woman today wondering the same thing. She’s retired, overweight, has some medical problems and just doesn’t feel good anymore. She wants a better life and has finally reached the point where she’s thinking “Why not me?”

I’m tired of settling. So is she. Together we’re going to accomplish something. We’re going to cover new ground. Make a new start. Find something special in the future. Sure it’s going to take some hard work and sweat. It’s going to be inconvenient, even messy sometimes.

But life is inconvenient. Life gets messy. Even when we’re settling. A year is going to pass, whatever we decide to do. I want to spend it going somewhere. Doing something important. Making a difference. How about you? Have you ever asked, “Why not me?”