On Psychological Blocks
Disclaimer: I haven’t thought about this at all. It’s going to be pretty much a free-write, hit schedule, get on with my day kind of post. Does It Offend You, Yeah?
I seem to have this block at three miles. Over the last few weeks I’ve been running 1 mile a day, 2 miles a day, three miles a day. And then. Nothing. I only ran three miles three days last week. But still.
I seem to have a massive psychological block against running more than three miles. Difficult when, last night, I was talking to Katy about where I want to get my Ironman tattoo. So I want to be able to swim two and a half miles, ride 112 and then run 26.2. And yet, I can’t bring myself to get out of my own way.
I heard someone say something about Lance Armstrong, when he recovered from testicular cancer. The account in his autobiography, It’s Not About The Bike, is harrowing to say the least. But coming out the other side, he was able to win the Tour de France seven times on the trot. That’s impressive.
What this person said was, the cancer allowed him to get out of his own way. He started young, and was a prodigious talent, on behalf of his abnormally large lungs. But he struggled with his ego and personality in competition. He would push too hard early on and then blow up, under-achieving. (Albeit, still achieving more than most!)
The cancer, the proximity to death, the sickness, the destruction of the physical body (especially one as highly trained as Armstrong’s), the debilitating drugs, the poison of chemotherapy. After surviving, he had to reinvigorate himself. He relates a story of going out for a ride on his high-end road bike, after the cancer had gone, and being passed by an overweight woman on a heavy mountain bike.
And yet, within a few months, he was able to be fit enough for the TdF.
Get Out of the Way
This might be one of those things that’s easier said than done, but I think it’s a very powerful message. Your ego (the Resistance) will scare you into thinking that to fail would be terrible. That you would be destroyed without a particular attribute.
What Lance Armstrong’s story shows is that this is not true. Now, while I’m wary of inspiring stories of one individual (because all people are different), I think this is a case where something can be gained. Whether it’s grace under pressure, which Armstrong showed during his treatment. Or humility, which he showed when the cancer went into remission. Or the measured determination that he showed to come back from that terrible disease.
Measured determination is key. My problem is that I have these massive psychological blocks against achieving. Of course, I’m not unique. But I would wager that I’m more unique in admitting it in a place like this. But amongst those groups of people, I think I’m probably not unique in that I can’t listen to my own advice. I don’t seem to be able to break the cycles.
No matter how much I read about and how much it resonates, I can’t get away from these limiting beliefs. I think I’ve figured out most of the causes, but I don’t know what to do about it. And nothing I’ve read, done or practiced seems to have worked. I’m incapable of self-motivation. And I know that I’m not unique in that regard!
Whine, Bitch, Moan
I had a couple of days of funk. The last couple of days, because I want the projects to be finished. I want to be able to run 15 miles. I want to have redrafted In The Lifetime Of Trees. I want to have built my new website/blog. I want to have finished this dissertation.
And yet, I don’t seem to be able to muster the courage or enthusiasm to do that.
Start small, I suppose. But then, I get over-confident, take a big leap, and then collapse in a heap, not ready to take on that responsibility.
I think that will do.
I don’t really know what the purpose of this post was. But it’s been marginally cathartic.
I try to go too high, too far, too soon. I want to see the whole of the moon. And I want it now, daddy! (Two cultural references in one line? Phew!)
I give you The Waterboys: