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059: Perspective is Everything, in Running and Life

mindset Oct 25, 2018

Perspective changes everything we do and how we do it.  We naturally compare ourselves with others or with previous versions of ourselves.  We judge workouts and difficult trials before they start. We name things hard or comfortable.  We predetermine how stressful an event will be. Shaping the way we interpret every event in our lives, the perspective we bring to all situations is incredibly important.  

In this episode, we start discussing our personal comparisons.  We cover how social media can lead us to a comparison with someone else’s edited and ideal world.  Social media is starting to actually show some reality, but still is filled with the opportunity to create a comparison that is simply impossible to reach.  

Another form of comparison is the downward comparison.  In this version, we protect ourselves by making sure that we only make comparisons to people we already feel we are better than.  While it works as a nice boost to our self-esteem, this comparison will never push us to reach a higher potential.

The third comparison is the immediate comparison to our personal peer group or ourselves.  This comparison is usually done based on clear numbers such as a personal best in a race or the number on a scale.  In a new health venture, finding a peer group is not always easy. Those around you may too be far ahead, or you may be starting as fast as the veterans.  We discuss the limits and pitfalls of your local peer group.

We move on and discuss taking extreme perspectives.  The phrases “hardest thing is the world” or “worst thing in the world” get thrown around far too often.  By naming workouts or races with such extremes, you basically acknowledge before you even begin, that you will not succeed.  Putting your workout is perspective of the hardships in the world around you allows you to take off some of the pressure of a big race, or missing the last mile repeat by a few seconds.  

The extreme discussion continues as we bring up running for a cause.  With this episode in October, we are surrounded by breast cancer races and walks.  It’s clear that overcoming cancer is a much greater battle than a local 5k and major medical issues can definitely change your perspective on running.  

Personally, running after my seizures has been a struggle that I am still working my way through.  When the doctor told me that training to extremes may be an issue, I started to pull back any time a workout started feeling too hard.  I took the perspective that simply running for long term health to be with my family should be the highest priority. But after some time, my training became started becoming less and less fulfilling.  One of the reasons I run is to see how hard and far I can push in a race and workout. With my medication working well, I am pushing harder and starting to really feel the enjoyment of pushing up against physical and mental limits.  There is a balance that I am working to find daily.

Finally, we looked at how perspective plays a role is our eating habits.  Beginning with the word diet, people immediately start bringing up the idea of things they are not allowed to eat.  Angie prefers to reframe it as new things to add to your eating habits. Comparisons are a big deal when it comes to healthy eating, because a comparison to someone 5-10 years along a healthy eating journey is impossible for someone just starting out.  It is always easier to take one small step in the right direction rather than a massive overhaul of everything you consume just to try to “catch up” to someone else.

That final point ties the episode together.  What you are doing on a health journey is continuously taking steps in a positive direction.  Be careful of comparisons that lead to depression or apathy. Understand that most of what you do is a small task inside of an enormous world, and yet what you do also has sizable repercussions on your life and those around you.  Perspective matters.

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