Written by Tina Bishai
We often hear of the phrase, “living a balanced life”. What does this mean, anyways? We seem to keep ourselves so busy in this life, that the phrase is a reminder to take care of yourself. But what about things like, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone….isn’t that important too? We have all these fears that we tend to avoid, but when we are studying and doing our mindset work, we are purposely stepping into our fear so that we can accomplish things we otherwise would deem impossible.
The definition of a balanced person says that they have “a sensible and reasonable attitude towards life”, according to the MacMillan dictionary.
B-O-R-I-N-G!! Can we really know what we are capable of if we live in this way? Things may seem calm and steady as we live this way, AND there is so much more to life than meets the eye.
What if living a balanced life actually means something different? What if it means that sometimes we are breaking through our fears and seeing what is possible for ourselves, while other times we are steady and calm. If nature was always in balance, would we see the beauty and majesty we can see in a piercing orange sunset, or in the brilliance of a vibrant rainbow after a storm? Doesn’t nature also go through windstorms, and tornadoes, hurricanes, and even tsunamis? And isn’t there both beauty and balance here?
I have a mentor, JP Morgan, whom I have learned a lot from. He recently shared a real-life story of why he ran a marathon without training. He used to love endurance running in his 20s, but he was now 44, and about 12 years ago, he had debilitating knee pain which he was told required surgery. After visiting a number of doctors, one made the comment that he should probably switch exercise regimes….find something new. Within a few years, he found himself avoiding his favorite exercise and getting into Cross Fit.
In December of this year, he started listening to a book by David Goggins, “Never Finished”. And he was inspired by him. He shares his experience…
“When David Goggins talked about running on injured knees, despite the pain and damage it was doing, I remembered that moment in the doctor’s office.
It was just another day for [the doctor], just a small comment, but for me, the opinion he shared was an existential death. I remember the heartbreak I felt when he spoke.
What I didn’t realize at that moment was how I was simply accepting his opinion as my destiny. I was under the spell of authority. Since then, I’ve transcended this spell in many ways. I’ve come to be the owner and CEO of my health, healing my body of things that I was supposedly destined to live and die with – or from – like allergies and even multiple sclerosis.
What if I hadn’t listened to that doctor? What if I’d just kept running? This is what Goggins’ inspired in me as a curiosity. It’s not that I didn’t run at all. A couple of times per month I would run 2 or even 3 miles. But never more than that and not too frequently. I was hyper-aware of my knees and at the first sign of pain, I would back off, fearing I’d do further damage that had already cost me my love for endurance sports.
But I was now suspicious this backing off was based on a bull. Not the kind of bull where there is no truth in it at all. But the kind of bull where it’s blown up and exaggerated into something much more dramatic than it actually is.
I was turned on by Goggins’ perspective that pushing through and past pain – and even injury – is worth it for the mental toughness it cultivates and also for how the body gets the message that since you aren’t going to stop, it better find a way to heal itself. I hadn’t heard of this before – that by demanding more of the body you can call out a higher order of healing. Whether it was true or not, I didn’t know. But I was certainly inspired.”
As my mentor shared his thoughts, he displayed pictures of himself finishing an entire marathon that he ran a few weeks ago, without any proper training leading up to the actual run. Although in his words, his time was not impressive, he was committed to running without stopping – which he did. Not only that, he ran in sandals with little to no arch support.
The idea of this was crazy to me. But he exemplified something we can all learn from – that our mind has such great power. He chose to believe that his knees were fine. He chose to believe that he could do it (and he did). And he was inspired “by the possibility that we limit ourselves from doing things, not because we aren’t capable, but because we believe we are not capable.”
And so the question I invite you to ask yourself is “What have you just accepted as truth in your life that doesn’t need to be YOUR truth?” Our mind is a powerful tool that we can use for us! The most beautiful teaching from my mentor’s story is that when we take action, we often prove ourselves right…or wrong.
In his case, he decided to run a marathon without training and completed it without stopping. He proved himself right, which in turn gave him new strength, confidence, and knowledge of himself that he didn’t have before.
When we don’t take action, we are deciding to stay the status quo, and not risk being right. Yes, you could also prove yourself wrong, but what’s better – staying still and not moving forward, or taking a chance and seeing what is possible for yourself?
I believe we need to keep our minds open to new possibilities. Otherwise, we limit what we believe is possible for ourselves.
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