Little Things That Can Change Your Life
Welcome Fall!!!! Cooler temps, football and a full race schedule. I know I’m not the only one thankful not to have to run at 4 a.m. to beat the heat, even though we all know in the South, you could have a 70̊ Christmas.
Recently I bought a book entitled “Make Your Bed” by Admiral William H. McRaven. I found it so inspirational, that I bought it for my son, daughter and granddaughter. And since we runners love inspiration, I wanted to share a little with you.
When I was growing up, it was expected that before I left my room, my bed had to be made. I really didn’t think much about it at that time, but as I grew into an adult, I continued to make my bed at the start of my day, and likewise, my children were to make their beds first thing. In Admiral McRaven’s commencement speech at the University of Texas, he states, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.” Something as simple as making your bed. Looking back, I think my parents had the same thought.
Throughout Admiral McRaven’s book, he gives you little things that can change your life and maybe the world:
If you want to change the world...find someone to help you paddle. You can’t change the world alone, you will need some help from friends, colleagues and the goodwill of strangers. As a runner, you need the encouragement from your friends, and those comrades that will get up at 4 a.m. to go for that training run, or the stranger driving the car, that actually watches before he turns or gives you the lane.
If you want to change the world, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward. Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform, you may not make that PR, or get first place. It’s just the way life is sometimes. But you don’t give up, you persevere, and maybe the next time. You have to read the book to find out just what a “Sugar Cookie” is.
If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the Circuses. McRaven tells a story about training to be a Navy SEAL. Their training was tough, and if you didn’t meet the standards of the training, you are invited to a Circus (which is 2 additional hours of additional calisthenics designed to wear you down or break you). You are going to be in the Circus, it’s a given. But after the additional hours, you come out stronger. We, as runners, aren’t going to have a perfect run every time, so remember to push and train on that extra hill, or tempo run, and you’ll find you’ll become stronger. We all need that Circus every once and awhile to encourage us to do a little more.
If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment. At some point, we will attempt to succeed in what seems impossible for us to accomplish. It may even be something that others around you tell you that you can’t possibly do. At this point, you reach deep, remain calm and composed, and pull that inner strength you know you have to reach that goal.
If you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever ring the bell. During your life, there have been those people in your life that want you to fail. That will try to discourage you. But you also have those people in your life, that are looking for your achievements and your successes, because your successes may push them to achieve their own. For the goals that you set out to accomplish in life, there are going to be those training times that you would rather roll over and not get up to go for an early run, or go to the gym after work because you need the strength training, or those dark people in your life that you start to believe. But, my friend, if you remain on course and persevere, and don’t ever tap out by ringing that bell, you’ll achieve all your goals and be an example to others that watch you.
Admiral McRaven concluded his commencement speech by saying: “Start every day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden, and never, ever give up....if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. And what started here will indeed have changed the world, for the better.” So true, in the way we live, and how our children see us live, as well as our friends and colleagues.
I only touched on a few points made by Admiral McRaven, so I encourage you to buy his book (only 125 pages - small but mighty). We all need a little push sometimes to see just what we are made of, and to give to show those people around us, that it’s all worth it.
I look forward to seeing all of you at our upcoming races. Get those Grand Prix points and see just what your training can do for you. When you see me out, I’d love to hear about your accomplishments and even you goals for what’s to come.