It’s About The Doing Of It.

I had the worst run so far today.

For the last two weeks, I have somehow managed to achieve the unholy feat of getting up and exercising every morning at 7:00 am. Lifting weights at the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and running at a nearby lake on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Now would be the time to point out that I am not a morning person. I don’t know what exactly is the opposite of a morning person, but whatever that is, it’s me. In the past, being able to do this even once was enough to make me blush with pride. Now I’ve done it for two weeks in a row.

There are a few reasons for this act of insanity:

1. If I put off working out until later in the day, even if I have nowhere else to be and a totally flexible day, I will find a way to not do it. It’s quite amazing, really, my ability to not get this done. My best bet to get it done is if I just make myself get it over with first thing in the morning before I get bogged down in the minutiae of the day and before my inner excuse machine can get going.

2. I want to get in shape. Like, good shape. I’m not overweight by any means, but I’ve never been able to get muscular and tone. It’s something I’ve always struggled with, no matter what I’ve done. And there’s a small part of me that at this point is just mad at my body and seems to be doing it just to prove a point. That even after a month or more of getting up in the morning and working out religiously, I still might not see a difference. Somehow, the weird, negative, defeatist part of me is actually stirring me into action.

3. I live in Texas, and pretty much any time after 10:00 am for the next few months, the temperature is roughly that of the surface of Venus.

Now, I’ve only been at it a couple of weeks, and I’m not seeing any real significant difference in my body, but the performance is getting better. I’ve been pushing myself to do more sets, more weight, get a better time, each time I go out. Which leads me to this morning’s run.

It was the worst one so far. By a long shot.

I looked something like this.

I looked something like this.

I don’t know why. I wasn’t hurting. I slept fine the night before. There was nothing to indicate that this run would be any better or worse than any other run I’ve had. But for some reason, after I’d run maybe 500 feet, I was already sucking air. Out of breath, legs burning – there was just no energy there. I had nothing. It was gone. Dead.

A big part of me wanted to just turn around and head back. Clearly this wasn’t my day. But I kept going. I walked. A lot. When I caught my breath, I ran. When I couldn’t run anymore, I walked some more. I let go of the idea that this would be any kind of improvement over the last time. I eventually came to terms with the fact that this may be the worst one yet (it was). But I kept going. I did the whole distance that I normally run – 3.1 miles.

Since it took twice as long as it normally does, it gave me a lot of time to think. And it led me to a phrase I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

It’s about the doing of it.

So many times in life, we tie our efforts into the results, and while that’s very understandable – why else are you doing if not to get a result – it can be one of the most destructive mindsets to have. Because success doesn’t always come the way you want or expect it to. In fact, it almost never does. And the frustration that builds up when you don’t find the success that you believe your efforts deserve will inevitably lead you to stop. That’s where failure lives.

But efforts over time, with enough experience, pressure, and knowledge, will inevitably get you there. That’s where success lives. It may not always be there, and it may not always be what you expect, but you’ll find it nowhere else. You have to go through it. It’s when you’re in the crucible of big effort and small reward that the seeds of that success are planted. You can’t tie your efforts to the results. For quite some time, it’s about the doing of it.

If you’re trying to get in shape and you have no idea if anything you’re doing is making a difference…

If you’re starting in stand-up comedy and just dying on stage night after night…

If you’re in a band and the only people showing up to your shows are your girlfriends and random drunks…

If you’re running a blog and just can’t for the life of you seem to get your page views to go up…

Or if you’re trying to find a solution to a lifetime of canker sores…

When all else fails, let go of the results. Stop beating yourself up. Find some kind of appreciation in the doing of it.

And whether you can run or if you have to walk, just keep moving forward.

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