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"We are not problems waiting to be solved, but potential waiting to unfold.”

Frederic Laloux

Possibility Reminders

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If I had known then...

Three days ago I completed four and a half years of running at least a mile each day, and that got me wondering what the biggest lesson was that I've learned from my daily runs.

I have learned many things from my daily mile but one lesson shines out above all the others.

If I had started at the end of 2009 with a goal that I must achieve a goal of running at least a mile each and every day until July 2014, I am absolutely certain that I would never have started.

It would have felt that it was an impossible feat. Even if I'd known that others had done it, I'd still have thought that I couldn't do it.

I know that the saboteur part of my mind (and I guarantee that you have one of those too) would have come up with so many reasons why not, such as I'm bound to get the flu, I'd probably need a surgical procedure under sedation, I'd travel and forget to pack my running kit, I'd have to get up at a time that was so ridiculous it would be completely unreasonable.

All of those reasons not to complete it, bar one, did actually happen (I'll leave it to you to guess which), but complete it I did, and so far I'm still going strong!

To be honest some of the most challenging days weren't any of those listed above, they were actually normal days when I really just did not feel up to it that day, and had to force myself mentally to take that first step out of the door. 

The secret has been that I have dealt with each day as it comes and I've managed the challenge for that particular day.

So if I wouldn't have started this because I thought it would be impossible for me, it begs the question, what else in my life might I be able to achieve?

What goals might I achieve by ignoring the long term possibility of achieving them, and I just took the daily actions each and every day?

What might I achieve using the same approach as I've used to run each day for four and a half years?

By commiting to powerful daily habits, and focusing only on today's task, you can achieve far more than you ever thought possible.

This is, without a doubt, the biggest lesson I've learned.

Even if someone had told me this, I wouldn't have believed it to be true for me. Now I know it is!

The possibilities could be infinite and I bet yours could be too!


Meaningless and yet priceless

If I manage to run my daily mile for the next 20 days, I will have reached the milestone of running at least a mile every day for 4 years, or 1,461 consecutive days.

I say it's a milestone because it feels like it's one. I also say "If I manage", because I don't take anything for granted. I realise that every day that I'm able to run is a gift, and I am lucky just to be able to do it.

Why does the 4-year mark feel significant?

I'm not entirely sure. Is it because 4 years is the gap between each Olympics or football Word Cups. Does that make it significant? Probably not. It all depends on perspective.

Examining it from a different perspective, it's far less impressive than if my 89-year-old mother were to decide to, and then actually, run half a mile now, having never really run at all before.

Taking another perspective, would a Kenyan or an Ethiopian child who runs 6 miles barefoot to school and the same home again every day, be impressed by the fact that I've run a mile every day for 4 years?

I think not.

So in and of itself my 1,461 days are nothing special, you could say meaningless.

Human beings are masters at attaching meaning to actions that have no meaning in and of themselves. 

So if it's meaningless, is it worthless?

Although it's meaningless, if it serves to inspire me, or someone else, to push past barriers that are currently holding us back in our lives, then it has value.

If it gives me a sense of pride that I've challanged myself on a daily basis to go out and run even when I didn't feel like it, which in turn makes me feel I'm capable of other things, then it's worth it's weight in gold.

I have never regretted going out for a run after I've done it. I can't remember a time when I haven't felt better having done it, no matter what time of day it was or how tired I was.

If attitude is everything in life, which I believe it is, once again my daily runs have massive value.

They say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone, and my morning mile drags me out of my comfort zone, particularly when it's followed by a cold shower.

Every day when I do it, it makes me feel really really alive.

You could say it's meaningless, and yet priceless.


Look beneath the surface

On yesterday morning's run I completed three and a half years of running a mile a day.

I'm pleased to report that, despite a few challenges, so far I've managed to run at least a mile on every one of my 1,277 days.

Running with my partner yesterday morning, she directed me down a path in the woods that I'd never been down before. This path took me into a really pretty parts of these woods, into an area I'd never seen before.

What might sound surprising is that the entrance to these woods is .1 of a mile from where I start my daily run, and despite running a mile every day for the last three and a half years I had never taken this path.

I've tended to avoid running in these woods mainly because the entrance is pretty dark and the ground underfoot is invariably muddy no matter what the weather is like.

Now I've suddenly realised that if I'd been prepared to explore a little I would have discovered an altogether unexpected and lovely parts of these woods.

At about a mle and a half my newly discovered route is perfect as one of my variations for my morning mile, and it's an opportunity to keep my running fresh and to provide some additional variety to my morning runs.

And of course there may be other routes within the woods that I have yet to discover.

I've always considered myself to be open-minded and creative, but this discovery has been a life lesson for me.

Where else might I be missing an opportunity that is right in front of me but I've failed to go past the dark and muddy veneer on the surface to find out what lies within?

As Marcus Aurelius said many years ago. "Look beneath the surface; let not the several quality of the thing nor its worth escape thee".


Icing your self worth muscle

Through some more intensive running I've done recently leading up to and during the South Downs Relay a couple of weeks ago, I've reignited an old problem with my left knee. The result is that my knee is currently sore and quite achy a lot of the time.

As I said I've been here before but I'm not renowned for being a fast learner when it comes to taking care of my wellbeing!

So after suffering for a week or so, I remembered that what I need to be doing is putting some ice on my sore knee on a regular basis and doing some exercise to support and strengthen the muscles around my knee, as long as those exercises don't antagonise the existing knee problem.

As is often the case, I started thinking what the parallel might be in life in general that I can take from my running, which always proves to be one of my best teachers.

I thought of the number one fear that most of us have, which apparently ranks higher than death, and that is the fear of public speaking.

So imagine that I have a fear of public speaking that has at some point been magnified by a bad experience I had, which just served to validate my original thoughts that I am incapable of speaking coherently in public.

I, in fact, have a public speaking and self worth injury.

It's often said that failing, and failing often, is the best way to succeed. But what if my feelings of self worth are very fragile?

The first thing I need to do is to build my self worth muscle, not stop taking any action until my self worth is good enough, but start doing strengthening exercises.

Like putting ice on an injury, these exercises need to be done at least once a day, preferably 2 or 3 times a day, to build up strength, and continue to act from the gradually strengthening feeling of self worth.

The strengthening exercises could be: remembering times when you were successful, especially recalling how you felt; talking to your greatest allies and supporters; listening to motivational CDs; reading inspirational books or articles; listening to uplifting music; meditating; exercising or whatever works best for you in strengthening your feelings of self worth.

Personally I'd be very surprised if a little running didn't help, but I would say that wouldn't I!

Have fun!


It shouldn't be like this

Conditions on my 3-miler this morning couldn't have been more perfect yet I spent the first few minutes fretting about what I was going to put in my weekly Monday 8am Boost email.

I usually scan things I've saved over the past week to look for something that I think is inspiring or occasionally I put one of my own blog posts in.

But by the time I ran this morning I hadn't come up with anything.

Then a thought occurred to me that I was wasting my run on an absolutely glorious morning desperately trying to think of where to find some material or what to write myself.

After that I considered the possibility that the fact that I couldn't think of anything and that I was on a beautiful run might actually be the perfect place to be in.

And then I thought, "How can this not be perfect? It's the only way that it is, and that it can be, right in this moment. Wishing it was some other way does nothing to help because it is just how it is.

A cloud of resistance just started to evaporate as I thought this and I realised that not only was I now really experiencing and loving my run but I might have also solved my dilemma of the Monday 8am Boost at the same time.

How many times have you ever said that "It shouldn't be like this", whether it was about your life, your relationship, your job or whatever?

Even if you haven't said it, how many times have you thought it?

I don't believe you if you said never.

We often get the way it is and the way we want it to be mixed up.

There's nothing wrong with saying I want to make my life, my relationship, my job, my ... (fill in the blanks) like this in the future, but when we say I want my life to be like this right now (i.e. it shouldn't be like this), we're fighting a losing battle.

It is exactly how it is whether we accept it or resist it, and you know what they say about what you resist, yes it does indeed persist.

So how can what's happening right now be anything other than perfect?

AND you can starting taking action to make it even more perfect now too.

BUt here's the wonderful thing. When you accept how it is right now as perfect and stop resisting it, you immediately start getting some of that perfect feeling that you're looking for right now.

Try it. Yes, right now!