July 12


Today's quotation:

I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level.  I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process.

Diana Nyad

Today's Meditation:

Freud said that human beings are driven by two main motivations:  the search for pleasure and the avoidance of pain.  If he's anywhere close to right, then these words by Diana Nyad go against our natural impulses, and I personally believe that she's right, even though the idea is such a departure from what we find desirable and comfortable.

I know as a runner that what she says is undeniable.  When I try to improve my running times, I always have to go through training periods that are often quite uncomfortable--the level of discomfort is extremely high, but I know that my times never will improve unless I push myself to the limits of my abilities.  If I can run a mile comfortably in seven minutes, I'll never improve if I run just one mile in seven minutes every day for the rest of my life.  I have to look for ways to improve--I have to run longer distances, and I have to run faster and push myself past my level of comfort to a level of discomfort if I want to get faster.

The scary part when you're pushing yourself is the fear that you're not going to make it to the end.  In a five-mile race, it's very hard to push yourself to the limits for the first three miles because you know you still have a long way to go, and you have to save something for those last two miles.

But just like Diana, I'm willing to put myself through (almost) anything if I find something to be important enough.  Life is about reaching new levels and taking risks and helping others to do the same, and if I can do so consistently, I can help others just by being an effective role model for them.

Questions to consider:

What are some levels of discomfort that you find very difficult to approach?

What kinds of risks have you taken recently?

What are some of the benefits of pushing yourself further than you thought you could go?

For further thought:

If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair.  We'd never have a friendship.  We'd never go into business, because we'd be too cynical.  Well, that's nonsense.  You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.

Annie Dillard

more thoughts and ideas on risk



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