Monday, November 21, 2016

Only A Sith Deals In Absolutes!

Hey Motiv8ers!

I've got to share something with you all...

I told myself for the month of November that I would not eat any free sugar.  I had an idea that the absolute removal of free sugar from my diet could jumpstart me back into focusing on my ultramarathon training and healthy eating habits which have both suffered because of my focus on Motiv8 as a business.

So what has happened?  Well some would say I have been UNsuccessful! 

I look at it more fluidly than that.  While I fully support the concept of creating healthy habits and sticking to them, I have come to the realization that my goal, which was grounded in an absolute, was flawed and unreasonable in the first place. 

Why couldn’t I see that I could still be healthy and successful in my training while having a little free sugar (World Health Organization's suggestion is no more than 25g per day) in my diet?  Why did I let myself get caught up in a goal that wasn’t based in any realistic regular habit?  There was no way I would stick to this long term, so what was I proving to myself or even others?

My idea of ZERO free sugar was an absolute and one sure way to fail at things in life is to focus on absolutes which are often developed from an egotistical standpoint.

I let my ego determine my actions, which in my experience in ultramarathons is RARELY a winning strategy.

But we do this all the time:

I will absolutely not eat sugar
I will absolutely not eat anything that doesn’t fit into my diet
I will absolutely only train the way I think is right
I will absolutely never talk to that person again
I will absolutely not allow viewpoints different than mine
I will absolutely disagree with anyone else’s ideas about how to solve a problem

Here’s the problem with absolutes: absolutes create a black and white lense thru which we see the world.  If it doesn’t fit into our philosophy or with our “camp”, more worryingly, it’s wrong.  If it isn’t what we have experienced or want to see it’s wrong.  If we can see it on the surface and don’t like it, we reject it or do the opposite instead of being curious about what value might lie below the surface.

Not only do we do this to ourselves but we let others' idea of absolutes control us into making decisions that may not be best for our unique circumstances!

This looks a lot like another common problem those “OTHER” people have: close-mindedness.  It’s one of the ugliest and least likeable characteristics a person can possibly possess.

Now…before we start to pat ourselves on the back for being open-minded, think about how YOU view the perspectives of others who see the world differently than YOU DO!  Can you accept that a perspective that isn’t the same as yours or your friends’ has merit?  Can you even differentiate between a person’s ideas and their personal character? 

If not, perhaps you aren’t as open-minded as you want to give yourself credit for?

Some of us get so caught up in our idea of the right way to do things that we undermine, mock or even hurt others to assert our point of view.  When we do this we often lack the realization that WE ARE close-minded by failing to see our lives and circumstances from others’ perspectives.  We dismiss what other people say or do as close-minded without even acknowledging that we are being closeminded ourselves for not accepting their reality.  It can be especially dangerous when we refuse to accept that someone other than ourselves could have a life experience that makes them a valuable source of knowledge, wisdom or the prevention of our own future mistakes.

Why would we let our ego allow us to refuse the advice of someone who only wants to see us succeed?

Go forward in life with the understanding that while you may have learned a lot, there is always something you don’t know.  Even experts (with an open-mind) can discover something new, now and again.  Like discovering that a ZERO free-sugar diet is miserable and unrealistic!

Replace your thoughts of what is right or wrong with a true sense of curiosity and watch how quickly you grow!

~Coach Joe

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