This is a phenomena to me, but then again, I went to a state school. I have come across not once, not twice, but at least three times an individual who says something to the effect of, “Well, I would run a marathon but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be at my best.”
These individuals, who in my opinion are lean, athletic, and mentally tough won’t try something because they are afraid that they WON’T WIN.
Or place in the top twenty. You know, like most of us do.
Perhaps this is because it is Oxford, but as a non-posh college grad all I have to say is: If you go through life not attempting things because you won’t be the absolute best, then what is the point of attempting anything?
I’m crap at running. Utter crap. I will never place in an event unless everyone else dies on the course. (I did place once, actually, but I was somehow registered as a small male child.) But I keep at it, I’ve even gotten better. Last night I ran over the bridge and didn’t stop. This is a huge accomplishment for me. Hills are my new challenge – I don’t want to fear them. But I digress.
The point is that sometimes I marvel at how people tackle obstacles. Marathon running isn’t for sissies, I’ll admit that much. But when someone tosses an obstacle question in your way and your response is, “I’m afraid,” and when pushed says, “I’m afraid I won’t live up to my expectations,” I have to tell you to shut it.
There will be times you don’t live up to your expectations, no matter how reasonable those expectations are. It’s life, it happens. The whole point of living is to live, and whether it is running a marathon or trying something outside your comfort zone the point is to attempt. If you fail, you fail. Get up, fail again, go back, fail again. Take a risk, fail. No one ever wins by winning all the time. But no one ever wins if they don’t first attempt.
So here’s the deal: If you are thinking of running a marathon sign up and run a marathon. Or walk a marathon. Or hobble a marathon. It doesn’t matter. Because once you finish a marathon no one will ever take it away from you. And if you want, challenge yourself again, do better, do worse – but challenge yourself. Heck, maybe one day after all those challenges you’ll place in the top twenty, or you’ll win.
Don’t give me the excuse that you don’t want to break your perfect record, because you will one day. Might as well do it by choice.