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.
An important concept. “Why does this keep happening?” This is a question I get often from patients regarding a recurring issue such as back pain. In terms of your spine there are many variables, but the ultimate answer is usually that the person has not changed their behavior. This is an important concept in chiropractic but even more so in life.
If you are receiving a result that you don’t like but making no effort to get a different outcome, you are earning that result. We can’t always know instantly what the solution to a problem may be. However, one certainty is that repeating the same behavior will create the same result. If you want to change the outcome, focus on what leads you there and make choices according to what you’d like to see happen. As simple as this is, people often focus too much on what is happening to them and not enough on how much power they have to change it.
A story I love to tell. About 6 years ago, my oldest son (who was nine at the time) and I ran a race together. It was an 8-mile run that we’d picked out ahead of time as something that would challenge him. The race took place in April and 2 days before the race we got about a foot of snow. The race was still able to be held but the course was snow-covered and temperatures in the single digits.
As we arrived at the race, we saw many people simply turn around and go home. They decided it was too cold, they didn’t want to run through snow, and called it a day. My son and I stayed and ran the race. He never complained and in a race of hundreds of people, he finished third in his age group of 19 years and younger.
Did he take third place because he ran so fast? No, because honestly, he did not. He took third place out of three people. Dozens signed up within his division but only he and two others showed up to run. My son took third because he suited up, showed up, and persevered.
This is a powerful and teachable lesson. We cannot always rely on talent, skill, or good fortune to succeed. Sometimes the difference between success and failure is having the guts to show up and keep going when others will not. Also, difficult conditions often present great opportunities for those willing to seize them.
Something I heard and loved. I was watching a motivational video on YouTube by Eric Thomas, and he said, “You can’t just have energy when you have energy.” This resonated with me. To me, this is all about maintaining your level of exertion when your body and mind are telling you it’s ok to rest.
When I run, I don’t find out what I’m made of until the wheels fall off the bus and I’m exhausted, in pain, and/or facing more miles still to go. During a workout, the reps that really matter are the ones I struggle to barely get when my muscles feel like they want to give out. Many of my best moments with my children are when I find just a little bit more energy to play with them when I am exhausted after a long day. Many of my best adjustments are those that I’ve fit into a hectic schedule when I didn’t feel like I had the juice to do another.
The point I took from Eric’s great quote is that the ultimate test is how you’ll behave when you have little to nothing left. Everyone succeeds when things are good, and their tank is full. The special people succeed when they’re exhausted and at less than 100%!
Something I have found to be true. When we are facing challenges be it physical and/or mental, things can get rough. Sometimes we feel we are making little progress and the task can seem insurmountable. What I have learned challenging myself physically and mentally through my workouts, habits, competitions, and more is the cardinal sin you can make is to whine, complain, or tell yourself or others how difficult something is and how hard it will be to complete.
When you take a tough situation and add negativity to it, things will instantly shift from difficult to impossible. Complaining also causes collateral damage by affecting everyone around it. When you complain, you take someone near you off their track and make it tougher on them.
I talked with a long-time patient of mine this week going through another bout of cancer. As he caught me up on what was going on with his health, I commended him on how positively he has dealt with everything. He told me he didn’t see any other way to go through difficult times other than taking it one step at a time and as positively as possible. If he were not this way, his tough situation would be exponentially worse. We cannot always control what we go through, but we do have the power to make it better by focusing on how we go through it.
Some quotes I love.
“Every man dies, not every man lives.” – William Wallace
“Don’t expect front row seats if you’re giving nosebleed effort.” – Eric Thomas
“The most unconscionable acts in human history were conducted by those ‘just following orders.’” – Tim Kennedy
“There are only two options: 1. Make Progress. 2. Make excuses.” – Mark Devine
“When one has nothing to lose, one becomes courageous. We are timid only when there is something we can still cling to.” – Ian Smith
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