Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Push Against That Which Resists You

I appreciate wisdom wherever I find it.

Crabby McSlacker from the informative and funny blog Cranky Fitness recently posted a wise guest post: HERE.

In this post, Crabby uses an exercise analogy as a spring-board to talk about balance (and lack thereof).

She aptly points out that people running, walking, or barely getting off the couch is not a phenomena confined to exercise, but traits that can be observed in all areas of our lives.

She asks an important question: "...why do so many of us concentrate our efforts on improving our fastest times in areas where we’re already running? But remain, in other important areas of our lives, stuck on the couch?"

Crabby's post focuses more on slowing down in those areas in which we are running ever and ever faster. In this post, I'm going to explore the other end of the spectrum: "getting off the couch".

It's human nature (or maybe just ego nature) to lean on our successes. But, for me personally, the greatest growth in my life has come from working in areas that are challenging for me, that don't come naturally, and that I have a tendency to avoid. A big example of this is running.

Most of my life, I have not been athletic. As a child, I was constantly ill. I suffered from chronic bronchitis, asthma attacks, debilitating allergies (of the sneezing and skin rash variety), and I even managed to catch pneumonia, and Scarlet Fever (of all the bizarre things)! This really put a crimp in my ability to run around.

Somehow, I outgrew all this (a fact for which I am immensely grateful). However, I engaged in some self-destructive habits as a young adult, including smoking (which I'm glad to say I quit over 3 years ago). So, most of my life (with brief intermittent exceptions), I got very little exercise, and had poor eating habits.

Long story shorter: Now I run/jog/walk (depending on the snow, my condition, etc.) 3.5 miles, 5 days a week and strength train 2 days a week.

Running is not easy for me. It doesn't come naturally. I have to play my edge always, pushing myself, easing up, pushing again. But running, (and when I can't, even trying to run) has opened up the most amazing vistas, in my mind, and in my life. It's so much more satisfying than the easy successes (for me, writing, singing, and creative endeavors in general).

What do you think about this? Would you rather rack up the stellar successes, or push against that which resists you?


  1. I was very insecure as a child. It took years of effort to build my self esteem with small, then larger successes. I totally understand overcoming the difficult areas. It's still hard, but I still persist. It's what defines me.

  2. Dr. J.,

    I think we live in a specialized society, without much focus on balance. The Renaissance Man is practically dead!

    But, I think it's important to a person's independence to be at least competent in many areas. I don't entirely buy into this "doing only what you enjoy and outsourcing what you don't" philosophy. Some of that's OK, but I like to know that I can do the taxes for our business, cook, etc., etc.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. I was leaving a building the other day. There is a double door. The one on the right is "assisted" for those that can't open it. If you don't push the assist button, it takes twice as much force to open it. As I pushed open that door (with my fist) the man coming behind me said, "That's the hard door!" I replied without thinking, "That's why I use it!"