The reflection I am about to share started during a swimming practice.
As some of you probably already know, I do sport though can’t be considered an athlete in any way. I just like the foolish idea that I’ll get a better life balance and body-mirror effect by doing some hours of exercise a week which includes swimming.
It was the end of the afternoon, right after a working day, and I had a dinner planned later with a friend and, as it happens once in a while, I was alone in the swimming pool. Not really lonely though, I was having my traditional mind battle against the immense soulless digital clock which was alternating on its screen: date, temperature of the room and time.
I did set a goal for my workout session and I was falling behind it, cursing myself for the fact that I was being sluggish, that I should move faster. I was feeling exhausted, stopping at each edge of the pool before continuing, and spending more and more time catching my breath. Truth was, I felt like having very little juice left. This realisation sent me through some memories and the so called “second wind” effect.
The memory lane, brought me to the realisation that I never had a second wind when stopping to “catch my breath” or to “rest a bit, I’ll catch up later”. It never happened that way. All second wind experience I could recall were while suffering, thinking for a while I couldn’t do it till the sudden moment of realisation that not only I was doing it, I was doing it while feeling better in my body, as if I managed to tap in a new source of energy empowering me beyond previously thought measures.
Yes, all that in the pool when fighting with my breaststroke…
I also remembered that stopping while making an effort often makes me doubt about my motivation, about my peers, about the reachability of the goal and/or about the means and paths I chose towards my objective(s). It rarely helps for recovering, gaining some additional strength or taking time to think. I tend to be in pain, feel hurt and/or disoriented… Not the best state of mind to take thought-through decisions.
With this realisation, I put my feet on the edge of the pool and sprung back into motion, swimming with a probably slower pace, spending less time on the following edges till the moment I felt better. I kept going because in some situations, when you know that reaching the destination is a must, that stopping is not really an option, you just continue the way you can, till you get a second, third wind or reach destination. Some would add: “Or die trying”. That’s where one gets smarter in setting goals, analyses the feedback from own body, resources consumption, travel buddies or mere bystanders, tests own personal resolution, muscle self-motivation. That’s where one learn about self and the surrounding world. Self-Leadership is among the prize you can develop by keeping on the effort.
I missed my goal for a minute… I know for a fact that by stopping longer, I would have just miss it by a larger margin. How do I know? It’s how I missed it on the previous workout session.
Then I told myself, I should write this down, even if only to myself, as a reminder. Therefore this post.
I’ll meet the clock again, next week…