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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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Get your 3-a-day

On this morning's chilly leaf strewn three and a quarter mile jaunt, somehow I got to thinking about the government's 5-a-day recommendation that we should all eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day, and how that's become firmly embedded in most people's minds.

I do believe that we should all be encouraged to consume food that is healthier for us than the fast food diet that we have been encouraged to eat by the advertising messages that we have been bombarded with fairly mercilessly over the last ten or twenty years.

However, I wondered whether there could be an even more important message that we needed to hear about what we feed our minds.

That, in turn, helped me to come up with a new idea, and that's my 3-a-day recommendation.

So here it is.

  1. Spend, a minimum of, 5 minutes each and every day doing some kind of exercise. This will get the blood pumping round your body, make you healthier and also make you feel more positive about yourself, about life and about the challenges you face.

    For me this is my Mile each Day, but it's anything that works for you, just as long as it's at least 5 minutes each day.

  2. Perform one random act of kindness every day. By random I mean something that is not in response to something that someone has done for you, a tit for tat. If your act is over and above what you would normally expect to do in response, then it does count as a random act of kindness.

    This will not only make the recipient of the kindness feel better, it will also make you feel better about yourself. It will increase your confidence and provide a strong dose of self compassion, something that has recently been discovered to have a greater positive effect on us all than self esteem.

    For ideas on random acts of kindness have a look at How I Celebrated My Birthday and/or 22 Random Acts of Kindness.

  3. Take one action (it doesn't matter how small) that will move you towards the life of your dreams.

    "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand" said Randy Pausch. Knowing that you have made progress every day with what's important to you will make you feel that you are living a worthwhile life and that you always have a choice in what the next step is.

Now I have to admit that apart from number 1 (above) I'm currently not doing the 3-a-day every day at the moment, but I intend to start an experiment to try it out myself.

I'd love to hear what your 3-a-day to feed your mind would be, and if you can't think of one, try my 3-a-day and let me know how it goes.


The reassurance of running

On my pre-dawn run this morning the fog reflected the light from my head torch right back at me, which was rather disconcerting to say the least.

I had to adjust my pace quite drastically at times, except when I had the added advantage of being near a street lamp, which was far more effective than my head torch, even with a new battery in it.

I've experienced quite a variety of differing conditions over the past 1,028 days of running my mile-and-a-bit.

These have ranged from being chased by dogs on sweltering early mornings in the Italian countryside, having to run on a dreaded treadmill (the very worst option as far as I'm concerned) in a hotel gym down the road from RAF Kinloss in the very north of Scotland because the entire car park and everything around it was covered with ice, through woods in the middle of Holland, up and down hills in deep snow, in a gale with lashing rain and now in fog that makes it hard to see my feet.

There's something reassuring about just running, putting one foot in front of the other, whatever the weather, whatever the visibility and conditions of the ground I'm running on.

The one constant for me has been just taking the next step, and then just taking the next step after that, even when I can't even see where I'm going beyond the end of my arm.

I think if we all treated life like that, it would be for the better.


Take a run on the wild side

It was pretty wild on my mile-and-a-bit route this morning at 5 am.

The wind was blowing up a storm and the rain was being thrown this way and that, but it was still plenty warm enough for me running in shorts and a T shirt with my trusty head torch.

But I haven't come back on such a high in ages. It was fun and exciting and I absolutely loved it!

I have to admit that I didn't relish the thought of going out there. I had images of branches crashing down on me and wanting to get back inside as quickly as possible.

It has fascinated me now for a number of years how these funny things called comfort zones and fear often keep us from experiencing some of the really good things that life has to offer.

I know from personal experience that the security blanket of my comfort zone and my fear of experiencing something really unpleasant that I might not be able to handle has stopped me taking on challenges in a number of areas of my life.

But my daily mile habit pulled me out of my comfort zone and past my fear this morning.

Guess what.

My comfort zone and fear are frequently so wrong it's not true.

This morning proved the point.

Where are you letting your comfort zone and fear stop you from experiencing something fun and exciting?


Time to recharge the batteries

The arrival of October has meant that my trusty head torch has been resurrected and is back in use every morning.

This morning I was running the clockwise version of my well-trodden mile-and-a-bit route, which involves going downhill over the most potholed part of the route. I realised that while my head torch batteries are still pretty good, the light was not as powerful as when it has fresh batteries.

As a result I had to ease up and go more slowly over the potholed stretch for safety reasons.

It would have been OK had I been running the route in a clockwise direction as, strangely enough, I tend to run uphill significantly slower than down. I would therefore not have had to adjust my pace to save myself from more grazed hands, knees and whatever else.

My strange ability to see my running as a metaphor for life struck yet again.

When I'm not feeling at my brightest or shiniest, when my own energy isn't fully charged, I find that it's far better to avoid the most challenging, hairiest actions.

Better to go out, keep at it, but put in the work on tried and tested, safer actions and save my biggest challenges for when I've managed to charge up my own batteries and energy.

Time now to recharge my batteries.

I suggest you do the same.


Aiming for a purpose

This morning I ran past a house with balloons tied to the gate post, some still inflated, others popped or now deflated, obviously the remnants of a child's, or possibly adult's, birthday or similar celebration.

I find it rather sad seeing such reminders of a fun event that has now gone, unless it's photos that take you back to the feeling of enjoyment you had at the event. Much better to take down any decorations as soon as it's over, I always think.

It also made me think of my 1,000th daily mile run last Wednesday. Now that's in the past I no longer have an inspiring milestone in front of me, and each day is just another day of running a mile.

It reminded me how important it is to have something to aim for.

Even when I changed my experiment from seeing if I could run every day for a month, to seeing how long I could keep it going for, I always had milestones in mind, like let's see if I can do 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, a year, etc.

With no goal or milestone at all in mind it's a bit like driving your car with no real idea of where you're heading.

So I decided this morning that my next natural milestone to focus on is December 31st, which will signal my completion of running a mile every day for 3 years (hopefully).

It almost feels like I have given a purpose back to my daily run.

What milestone are you aiming for and does that feel like a purpose for you?