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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pushing Towards or Pulled Towards Your Goal

Whenever I see friends sign up for a race, instantly, their training intensifies.  Why?  Does signing up for a race put the fear of God in them that they're forced to train?  Well... Kind of.

There are two different ways that you can physically move an object.  You can push it... or you can pull it.  In the same way, when we have goals, we either push ourselves towards the goal, or we get pulled by the goal itself.

So what then, should we do?

It makes sense that most of us enjoy the push towards success, but does the willpower last that long?  The answer is... no.  It doesn't.  So whenever you decide to go for a goal and believe that you can push yourself to that goal, prepare to be disappointed.  Not only will the willpower lose its effect within a week or so, but you won't really feel like attempting to get to that goal again because you've been defeated and you won't believe in yourself (if you do, the willpower will run out faster).

So instead, are we to find a way to have something pull us towards success?  The push runs out easily, but when some 'force' is pulling us towards success, then we aren't putting forth as much effort to get to being successful.  In signing up for a race, what happens is that we have a goal that we've set.  We put the money down, we're gambling with our pride, honor, cash, and our self identity.  The moment you make that commitment and sign up for a race, you begin moving towards that, because you've committed.  When you've committed enough things into it, you get pulled in by the race.  You have the feeling of 'oh crap, if I don't train, I'm not going to do well in this race.' or 'I don't want to waste money!  I gotta work hard to make it worth the money I spent' or any other reason.  Once you have something pulling you towards your goal, between the pushing and pulling, you're able to get that much closer to your goal.

Think of it in this way.  When you're passionate about something, there's no way it's hard work for you to talk about it.  When it's something you enjoy doing, there's no way you won't be doing it.  Why do people do things?  Because they're invested in it, one way or another, and when you've invested yourself in something, you get pulled towards that.

So if getting pulled to your goals is something that'll get you to your goals, why don't people do it?

Well, I'm no expert on people, but I can tell you this.  People only do what they want to do, and if they don't really want to do it... then they won't.  If a person decides that they want to change their lifestyle and become fit, then they would go towards that goal and push themselves.  However, a change in lifestyle will be difficult.  That difficulty will make the person really figure out whether or not they want the goal.  However, if they are 'addicted' to their old lifestyle, then that would mean that the want/need to get in better shape wasn't strong enough to pull them because they wanted to push.  Sometimes, it's due to the lack of drive.  Sometimes, it's because it was a wish-list and not a real thing.

So how can you start pulling towards your goals?

So let me tell you a story about the time when I was a freshman in high school.  I wasn't exactly the popular kid, and I was actually... very shy.  I had a hard time speaking up and didn't really stand out much.  That all changed when I met this girl.  She was a year older than me and she was attractive in every possible way.  She ran, loved God, and had the most gorgeous eyes.  Of course, there were more to it than that, but that's not the main part of the story.  So anyway, I was head over heels for this girl and was shy.  It was a bad place to be, and I knew it.  She was popular, and I was invisible.  So I needed to change something.  I had a goal, and I really 'needed' to get there.  I started talking to people, getting to know more people, and found out a whole new world. I found learning about people interesting and getting to know them, I started to get to know even more people.  I kept going on and on until before I knew it, I had been pulled up to the same level and was able to stand a lot more confident in myself.  I started practicing my instrument, and mastered them, studied for math and became better at it.  I ran on my own free time, and worked out as much as I could.  I became the smart math whiz, played almost every musical instrument the band offered, became one of the top runners in my region, and also got to know all the other people in different schools.  It wasn't because I pushed and clawed my way up, that I was able to get up that far.  It was because I was pulled up by my desire that I was able to grow and develop and become the person I am today.

Unfortunately, nothing really happened with her because in relationships... I tend to move as slow as a snail, but what I got out of it was a different perspective of the world.  My desire had pulled me up to being able to talk to others, stretch myself so that I would be able to do whatever I wanted to do, and in doing that, I have the confidence that I have in sharing my stories in hope that I would be able to encourage those around to stand up and be pulled up to their full potential.  

If you truly want something or are passionate about something, push, but don't forget to be pulled.  Create opportunities and place yourself in them.  Stretch yourself so that you can grow.  Pull yourself up to greatness and create that specific goal that would have the power to pull you up high.

Be awesome.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Turning Setback into Success

Last weekend, I had a big race.  The Black Mountain Monster.  It was the 24 hour race that I won the previous year, and this year, I set out to break the course record.  However, I was shot down.  With the lack of sleep, slight fever, I wasn't at my best when I started the race.  After finishing the first 50k in 4:40, I felt really sleepy... and wanted to take a break.  I still kept going, and eventually ended up in first at the 55.8 mile point.  But I was at my limit.  I needed to sleep, and so I went to the tent to take a nap, and then started throwing up.  My body was a mess, and with the loss of fluids, I couldn't control myself anymore, feeling weak and cold, my muscles cramping... my sister and friends did the best they could to help, but it was something I had to get through myself... and I knew that I had to quit the race midway.

It was the right decision, and it was the worst decision.  It needed to be done, but I wanted to continue.

After making that decision, I had to live with the consequences, which included lots of friends comforting me, facebook messages and text messages with encouragement and care... which was pretty awesome.  I'm definitely blessed to have such great friends surrounding me.  Another consequence was my yearning for growth.  I wasn't done.  There was unfinished business, and I wanted to do something about it.

The thing is, we all go through times where we fall, fail, or just have a bad day.  We can't be perfect every day (or any day, honestly).  We can't control the different things that happen to us.

Fortunately, we can control how we react.  On one spectrum, we can choose to be a reactive individual, where if something happens, we fire back with the same energy in retaliation, which may not be the best thing.  On the other end, we can choose to be proactive and use the energy directed at us, and use it to push us forward.  It's kind of like when you're on a sail boat.  Even when the wind is going the opposite direction, you can use that energy to propel you forward.  I'm not much of a sailor, but looking at that from a land lubber's point of view... it absolutely doesn't make sense... but it works.  The beauty of it is that we have the choice to use that negative energy to shut us down and go the wrong direction, or we can make majestically move and change that energy so that it propels us forward.

Now that it's been a couple of days, I look back and see how the setback gave me the drive to push forward and to want more.  I love running.  I love the freedom.  I love the hope that it gives other people when I share my stories with others... and with the drive, I feel closer to my goals than ever, even though I had this awful experience.  Growing from this and moving on will make me a stronger individual, and most importantly, it will be a good story that I can share with others to encourage them in their journeys.

Whenever bad things happen, look beyond the present, and instead, look at the future.  Imagine how this experience will be the fuel for you to get to that future, and work towards making the imagination into reality.  Each of us have the potential to grow from negative events, and as long as you have the will to progress, you will.

"And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.  You won't even be sure, whether the storm is really over.  But one thing is certain.  When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in.  That's what this storm's all about."

-Haruki Murakami

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Last week, I was honored to be able to do a motivational speech in front of about 600 6th graders at River Trail Middle School.  In that speech, I was able to talk about dreams and how to achieve them, as well as shocking them with a couple things that they would have never expected from me.

Here's the outline of what I spoke... and if anyone wants me to speak to any sort of group, just email me and I'd be more than happy to do that.

Sho – Endurance Athlete – Motivation: GOAL

Introduction:  Who I am, what I do, etc.

I.  Dream
            A.  Your Dreams
                        1.  Defining Steps, Goals, and Dreams
                        2.  It’s a dream because it can’t be easily achieved
                        3.  Is it worth it?
            B.  Imagination
                        1.  Beginning with the End in Mind.  What do you see?
                        2.  Believe that it’s possible
II.  Desire
            A.  How bad do you want it?
                        1.  Defining “Desire”
                        2.  You only do what you want to do
                        3.  Listening to the voice that matters
            B.  Why do you want it?
                        1.  Staying Focused
                        2.  Staying Organized
                        3.  Implementation
III.  Dedication
            A.  Taking the right steps
                        1.  Research
                        2.  Head Knowledge to Heart Knowledge
                        3.  Lifestyle - Invest in yourself
            B.  Sacrifice
                        1.  Priorities
                        2.  Perseverance
3.      Failing Forward

My Story, my dreams and the steps I'm taking to make them a reality.

Take a tree, for example.  Every little root gives nourishment and water to the tree so that the tree can grow.  The tree’s goal is to grow up as high as it can as if to reach the sun.  With a big network of roots, it will be able to grow higher, and with that, become taller than the other plants around it.  The higher you want to grow, the more you’ll have to work hard and dig deep.  But as long as you don’t stop, anything is possible.