“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; because there is not EFFORT without error and shortcomings; but he who does actually strive to accomplish the deed, who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who are the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those timid and uncaring souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Looking at the difference between 211 degrees (hot water) and 212 degrees (steam and power and effective energy), it motivates by urging us to keep going even when things are difficult. One of my favorite comedy routines by Jerry Seinfeld is the one where he talks about the difference between a gold and bronze medal in the 100 meter dash or the 50 meter freestyle. It’s that extra little effort. Some of it is training. Some of it is desire. Its just that little extra that pushes you over the top. One of my favorite books growing up was “The Little Engine that Could. You know the one “where he says “I think I can until he says “I Know I Can”. I was talking with my kids this morning as they watched a show on Earth and global warming (its amazing what they see these days compared to the Mr. Rogers and Electric Company shows I watched at their ages). They asked me about how it was going to affect them when they are my age. I sipped my coffee and tried to tell them to enjoy life but to respect the planet they live on. I didn’t want to alarm them. As I spoke they spoke about how an extra degree in temperature affects plant life, sea life, etc. It was pretty dramatic.
I tried to get them off the subject as I read the sports page. There was a great article about Phil Mickelson and how he is having to fight his emotions as well as to find peace in his life while being on stage at the US Open in NYC while his wife is back in California awaiting breast cancer surgery. It was only a year ago that I was at a conference in Boston waiting while my wife was also back in California awaiting what likely is the same surgery the Mickelson’s will be dealing with. While there is nothing they can do but wait, they have to try and live their lives as normally as they can for their kids and their sanity. In a way, going off to play in a golf tournament is probably a good lesson for their children abou how life goes on and to show them that you have to live before you paralyze yourself. Having lived that wait I can only imagine what they are going through as they don’t have the privacy that many people have. I can see Phil lining up a big putt only to see women in pink hats and pink ribbons following him in the gallery. I could never have done that at work! In the article, Phil Mickelson says that he is giving his EVERYTHING this week. I sure hope he just gives it that extra degree, and creates the feel good story of the year, but his odds are long and only because he is human. Here is the article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/06/18/SPDP189376.DTL
Alas Phil’s story was delayed today because of rains in the East.
Speaking of Earth, heat and rain, I should probably finish and talk about Wind. Tonight I inched toward the 500 mile mark in runnning for the year. Today had been a sunny day but as it goes in San Francisco, the ocean breezes took their place and by the time I ran tonight, it was pretty blustery. I took off into the wind as I ran a mile and a half towards the ocean. The cool breeze felt good against my sunburn I picked up this weekend. Once I reached the beach I turned and went three miles halfway back across the City with a stiff breeze pushing at my back. They say the first and last miles are always the hardest parts of a run, but when I turned back into the ocean breezed for my final mile home, my pace picked up again.
I was interested to see my stats once I uploaded my run data from my Nike ipod. And there it was. My runs into the wind tonight were faster than my speed with the wind. It appears that with Wind resistence to fight, I found that I gave it that extra degree to knife through it. Maybe the path of least resistence isn’t the best one. We all need motivation. And sometimes a little hurdle or an obstacle can create the opportunity to focus and be the best we can be. When the wind was at my back, I was simply coasting.
Maybe that is the lesson for the day. Don’t avoid your obstacles and fears, but rather use them to propel you to new heights.