Inspiration from a Bottle Cap…

And the weekend has ended again!

That’s ok, because we all need to enjoy the last few days of February as much as possible. Apparently the weather has decided it should be wintertime finally, although this snow is very unlikely to stick around for very long…

I was doing some serious deep cleaning of my place over the weekend when I discovered an old bottle cap that a very dear friend had given me years and years ago. Ironically enough, it contained not only enough motivation for me to finish cleaning and do my homework, but it really made me think not only about our motivational drive but also about how our friends understand and motivate us as well.

On the underside of this bottle cap was inscribed the following quote:

“A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts. “ -Steve Prefontaine

I do enjoy racing to see who is the fastest (usually isn’t me) but my real drive for racing is to prove to myself, more than others, that I do have the guts and what it takes to conquer the world of the unknown. Whether it was my first Olympic triathlon in 2009, a marathon in 2011, or an Ironman in 2013, I’ve got my challenges all lined up and ready for the taking!

Interestingly, I’ve discovered that once something is no longer an unreachable challenge, it quickly becomes integrated into my life and turns into a regular routine or activity. For example, a day after my first marathon, I swore I would never, ever run again. EVER! And now I’m gearing up for my 2nd, with two more planned in the future as well as a stab at qualifying for Boston.

Same goes with my triathlon career. In 2009, I barely squeaked through the Bearathlon Olympic distance race in Berkeley, and yet three years later, I’m all geared up to do my 10th Olympic distance. The Half Ironman was brutal, so I figured I’d warm up to 2012 by doing two of them!

This theory spills over into “normal” life too. Once you’ve taken on your undergrad, you want a graduate degree. A challenging project at work is challenging until you finish it, and then you crave more!

The internal engine that revs our motivation can be fueled in surprising and unexpected ways. The great thing is that the fuel that drives us, can also lead us toward self-improvement, and that should be enough inspiration for anyone.

Really, the amazing thing about challenges is that they continue to refine you as a person but they also expose you to new experiences, thoughts, or ideas that you never had dreamed were possible. Seriously, sky diving people!? Bah! But you get the idea…

In my mind, challenges and learning go hand in hand. If you’re lacking in one area you will definitely be lacking in the other. There’s nothing wrong with going out and finding new and exciting challenges either. It doesn’t mean that your life was dull or unexciting, it just means that it has so much more potential waiting to be grasped!

Do you find yourself lacking in the challenge area?

Picture credit.


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