Monday, May 24, 2010

The mental game

You’ve probably heard that “a 1000-mile journey begins with a single step.” This is true. Just as true is the fact that “the journey continues with a single step.” In previous blogs I stated that I am training to run 56 miles on my 56th birthday. Also stated were potential conflicts/obstacles that could interrupt my training.

During my training every time an obstacle has appeared, I have been faced with a choice to stop or find a way to circumvent the obstacle. What I have realized is that the challenge is not physical but mental. In fact, it really comes down to taking another single step.

At the end of March, I was scheduled to run 28 miles. I can run 1.2 miles from my house to get on the Country Music Marathon course. I pick up the course at the 6-mile point of the CMM. The course finishes at LP Field, home of the TN Titans. Counting some deviation the stadium would be 22 miles into the run. The stadium is 6 miles from my house so that would give me 28 total miles. The CMM course runs through Music Row and The Gulch areas, which are attractive interesting parts of the city. After these areas it is a very boring unattractive course. It runs by government subsidized housing and through an industrial area that borders the housing. We go briefly through a park and return to the industrialized area. When I reached LP Field (22 miles) I called my wife to come pick me up. I just quit! I was pissed but did not know why I quit. I replayed the decision to quit in my mind for several days until I determined an answer.

I discovered that I was mentally bored. My mental exhaustion led to a perceived physical exhaustion. I was at the foot of a pedestrian bridge that goes from LP Field over the Cumberland River into downtown Nashville. Downtown Nashville is an alive place with construction, the Country Music Hall of Fame, tourists and other distractions. All I had to do was take a single step to begin to cross the bridge and get into the downtown area. My brain would have been awakened and any perceived physical exhaustion would have been diminished. I would have kept running and completed the 28-mile run. But I didn’t take that step.

It wasn’t a physical reason I quit, but a mental one. The decision to quit is rarely physical; it is almost always mental. All I had to do was cross the bridge. It didn’t matter if I ran, walked or crawled over that bridge. It only mattered that I continued on my journey, took the next step and crossed the bridge. This has become my mantra. All anyone has to do to overcome an obstacle is just “cross the bridge.” In my case it was literal. In others it may be figurative.

“Just cross the bridge!”

—Bill Evans, president, Evans Glass Co., Nashville


Anonymous said...

Impressive passage, I took many first step towards new customers, it seems no reaction, but maybe I am too far away from them. So I need to insist on going forward, maybe one day I can get to their land and get what I am working hard for. Thank you!

autoglass said...

You just inspired me! I constantly do for others and put our business on the back burner. I let obstacles remain in my way, but NOT NO MORE! I will cross the bridge, crawling,walking or running. The end result will be a healthy, happy smile. Thank you for your story!