Running downhill has been a bone of contention in the running circle. Many runners consider it as cheating.
The vast majority claims you’re not supposed to rest between intervals, that your Personal Record (PR) doesn’t count if it was on a downhill track because it was “easy.” Even if running downhill makes you faster, stronger, and better, you don’t earn the result.
Many of us apply this philosophy to our daily lives too.
If what we’re doing doesn’t feel like an uphill battle, we feel we’re not working hard enough. If things are smooth in our relationship or business, or at work, we feel we don’t deserve the results. This might not be true, but we’re conditioned to believe it.
It’s true that life is about overcoming obstacles. But thinking that living only means battling obstacles is taking this philosophy to its extremes. It makes us create obstacles for ourselves.
We pick useless fights with our partners. We complicate simple strategies that are paying off in the business. We attend pointless meetings, answer futile emails, and manufacture work for ourselves after we’ve finished our tasks.
The pain that stems from shooting ourselves in the foot makes us feel like we’re worthy.
As Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey said,
“I’m running downhill, and since this is all easy street, I need resistance, so I’ll trip myself and face plant right into the concrete so I can break my nose, so I feel, “Ah, there I go. Now I’m earning it. Now. I feel it. Now I deserve it.”
It’s like pulling the handbrake and trying to steer the car on a downhill road instead of cruising with the roof down and enjoying the weather.
Life is not a battlefield. It’s a journey filled with downs and ups. Experience life, enjoy it, let it flow through you. A good life is one in which you feel involved, not one in which you’re constantly battling obstacles.
You will have to fight battles. Hard times will come, regardless of whether you like it or not. And you’ll have to work your ass off. Your relationship will feel stressed. Your business will run into troubled waters. You’ll have to work weekends to complete projects on tight deadlines.
But that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy a little downtime when you get it, that you cannot celebrate life’s simple pleasures without feeling guilty.
Relish the happy moments with your partner. Pat yourself on the back for the success your business is witnessing. Chill out during the downtime at work, or use it to learn new, important skills.
When you get rid of the guilt for not having a bloody nose, you’ll learn to stop and smell the roses. You’ll appreciate small wins which, according to research, will have cascading positive effects on you.
Small wins set the wheels in motion for more small wins. They fuel transformative change by leveraging tiny advantages, and convince you that your outrageous goals are within reach. They teach you to be grateful and make you tougher to handle the going when it gets tough.
Maybe, it’s time to become kinder to ourselves. Maybe, it’s time to accept that we don’t have to earn everything we get, that we can enjoy the downhill ride, and that the rewards are most probably a result of the good work we’ve done earlier.
I’m sure it’ll make us faster, stronger, and better too.