Stop complaining

Stop complaining

We are endurance athletes.  Why do we complain?

I catch myself.  I’ll be stuck in traffic or I’ll drop something or some other little thing will set me off and I’ll start feeling sorry for myself.  Then I think about the big picture.  I think about how lucky I am and I muddle through with a smile on my face.

That’s my basic racing and training strategy these days as well.  Muddle through with a smile on your face.  I’ve lost the hard edge passion of those first training cycles and racing triumphs.  I take a more measured approach to life now.  It’s ok.

Smile.  Muddle.

I hear other people complain.  They complain about races.  They complain about hotel rooms and travel inconveniences.  I don’t get it.

We’ve got it pretty good.  We are rolling in the mud dying of cholera like our ancestors.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a place to live and people to love.  I’ve got the use of my body and the use of my mind in a fairly satisfying way.

Smile Muddle.

I also am learning that we have most of what we need inside us.  I don’t need a Starbucks every day.  I don’t need a new pair of shoes.  I don’t need anything, really.  I can make my own coffee and run in od shoes.  It’s ok.

Why do we set ourselves up to fail? Why are our expectations that everything is going to be perfect and every day we are going to be thrilled with every little thing in our lives?  Then we have license to complain when it isn’t, and when we aren’t.  Isn’t that a self-constructed problem?

I’ve slept in many awful hotel rooms.  I’ve slept on the floors of airports. I’ve slept in my tent, on my air mattress and raced 100 miles the next day.  Why not?  I could convince myself that a man my age couldn’t possibly get a good night’s sleep on an air mattress with his gear bag stuffed under his head.

Instead I look at it differently.  I look at it as a challenge or an adventure.  I smile at it and muddle through.  Maybe sometimes my back is a little sore from that air mattress but I’ve already won the battle.

Why do we work so hard to build these sand castles of expectation?  Then tear ourselves down when we don’t get there?  Why not just decide to be happy no matter what?  Wouldn’t that be easier?   It cuts out the middleman.  It’s quite efficient.

You can’t hide from bad days or bad moments or bad situations.  You can’t live in a hole.  But you can decide to react differently.  Some of the pundits call it reacting with love.  I just think of it as getting over myself and taking a deep breath and laughing.

The stress is good for you most of the time.  It allows you to grow.  It forces you out of your comfort zone.  It gives you the opportunity to practice dealing with difficult situations and having difficult conversations and make you stronger.

The key is to realize it when you’re in the moment. Notice that, hey, I’m in a bad situation, what am I going to do?  How am I going to react?  That’s what I love about races and hard workouts.  They have that built in performance stress and anxiety.  You can mindfully convert that stress to excitement.  Use it to your advantage.  Say to yourself, I’m not stressed, I’m excited.

I find mindset to be most helpful when I’ve just got too many things hitting me that I’m not equipped to handle. Some people would call this overwhelm, but I don’t use that word.  I just realize it, take a deep breath, smile and keep moving.

I may not be able to handle all of the flaming arrows but I can handle some of them.  Eventually, if I keep moving and keep smiling I’ll get through and out the other side to the next brace of flaming arrows.

People have a tendency to get to the point of overwhelm and just stop.  They get a form of buffer overload from too much stuff and too many things.  If you freeze you’re dead.  The trick is to smile and muddle through.

You might think ‘oh my god, I’m not the right person for this!’ but you are as good as anyone else.  And probably better than most because you are here, now, in the arena.  So fight on, muddle through.  It’s your turn.  Make the best of it. Turn that stress into excitement and energy. You are an endurance athlete.  That’s what we do.  We endure.  And when we endure there are only a few of us standing at the end of the day.  The last one standing wins by default.

I’m going to challenge you.  Sometime this week.  Maybe today. You will be juggling more than you should and you’ll drop something important.  And then the windows will fly open and you’ll be attacked my raging demons of external events.  I want you to lean back and smile.  To take a breath and take those demons one at a time until they give up.

I want you to smile and muddle through.

Let me know how that works for you.



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