“”Perseverance is a great element of success. If you knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. It was time to get out of bed and run. But the covers were warm and it was dark outside. Another hour of sleep would be sooo nice. But I need to keep running to stay in shape. But it’s so warm. But, but but.
At this point I rolled over and went back to sleep.
However, I did one thing first. I made a decision to run at lunch.
Instead of asking myself “Should I”, I asked myself “How can I?”. How could I get a workout in today? Not, Should I get a workout in today?
Finding a way to do the things that benefit us is what motivational speakers talk about all the time and it’s true. (I heard it again while listening to Rory Vaden this morning.) Doing the little things helps to make us a success in whatever we choose to do. It’s those seemingly unimportant decisions, made everyday, that move us toward our goal and away from excuses.
I’m going to extend this idea. I say that a way to make our lives richer and more effective is to ask ourselves, “How can I help this person?” rather than “Should I help this person?” The more we do that, the more the habit of giving becomes ingrained in us. When it becomes a habit, then we start to become more open to others. We become more open to ways to make our world a little better.
Yes, I followed through and ran over my lunch hour. It was a glorious, crisp autumn day and the run was fantastic.
It was the reward for asking How instead of Should.
Just a follow-up note. I started running about seven years ago. At first, I could only walk a couple miles. Gradually and slowly, I started running, building it up little by little. Now, I run between 15 and 20 miles a week.
I only mention this because I feel that this was a key decision. Getting in shape (and staying in shape) is what gives me the energy to try new things, including this challenge to give my time for a year; a challenge which has turned my thinking upside down. Please talk to your doctor then get yourself in shape. You’ll be glad you did.