On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
Something I learned. A friend told me recently that buffaloes instinctively run towards storms rather than from them. I was curious about this, did research, and found it to be true. They head towards a storm so that it will more quickly pass by overhead and minimize the amount of time they spend under it. Other herd animals run from the storm though they cannot outrun it, even if it takes them in the wrong direction. This created an analogy that appealed to me because I believe if we train ourselves to sacrifice a bit of comfort in the short term, it helps us in truly tough times.
My long runs, training in extreme weather, toughest workouts, cold plunges, races, and more have conditioned me to be comfortable being uncomfortable. This is my way of running into the storm. The benefit of doing so changed my life because when I have gone through extreme tragedies, I did not break or lose who I was. Dealing with the small discomforts I imposed on myself repeatedly taught me to be like the buffaloes and face storms head on.
Something that helped me. My 100-mile race next month will necessitate me running for more than 24 hours straight. I will begin at 6am and will see two sunrises and a sunset before I finish. The toughest time during these types of races tends to be nighttime after a full day of exertion. During this period, it is dark, and I am alone with only my headlamp to guide my way. Recently, I found myself worrying about that aspect of the race.
Rather than keep stressing about it, I decided to try and attack it in my training. To do so, I went through my normal day (getting up early, working out, running, seeing patients, etc.), then at 10pm that night, I left my house for a 3-4 hour run. This simple act helped immediately remove the concern I had over running at night when I’m at my most exhausted point. It reminded me that I enjoy the quiet and solitude of nighttime running and that it’s no big deal. Directly facing something that troubles you removes its power and helps you conquer it.
A good reminder. I recently heard someone I have always looked up to say things that shocked me. He is in a prominent leadership position, and I’d always viewed this person as someone with great strength and principles. Shockingly, his words spoke to weakness, a need for acceptance, and half-measures. It was disappointing because it was contrary to anything I’d heard him say before.
It is important to remember that trust is a sacred thing. It can be built over months, years, or decades but eroded in seconds. When I heard his words, my instinct was not to judge him or get in his face. Over the years, I have gained great insight and advice from this person and will not forget that. However, it did put a dent in my trust. Trust can be regained but that task is far more challenging than building and maintaining it in the first place.
Something that impressed me. Most of you are aware of the horrific injury/incident on Monday Night Football last week in which Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest. This was unprecedented for an NFL game and obviously shocking and horrifying to see, especially on a sports field. What I found incredible was that the person who saved this young man’s life was an assistant trainer for the Buffalo Bills. He was not the highest-ranking medical professional on site, did not possess the most credentials, and did not ask anyone for permission to intervene. When stuff hit the fan, he just reacted. He saw a life in danger and did what he knew to help him by administering CPR. On national television, in front of millions of people, in a high-pressure situation; he reacted instantly and decisively. His willingness to act was extremely impressive to me.
Some quotes I love.
“In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A hungry stomach, an empty wallet and a broken heart can teach you the best lessons in life.”
“Most of the battle in life is about getting your mindset right. Ninety percent of life is mental. Typically, we are own worst enemy. The problem isn’t the problem. Our reaction to the problem is the problem.” – Dr. James Nicolantonio
“Your good habits have a present-day cost, discomfort, inconvenience, and temporary deprivation; while the cost of your bad habits is deferred to your future self in disappointment, disability, and dissatisfaction.” – Brandon Mancine