What Are You Thinking?

Most people are not aware of how their thinking influences them or others around them. Below are 2 actual situations that I encountered recently.

I am a member of a local Athletic Endurance Team (BEAT).  BEAT is a member of a national organization (USAT).  USAT is conducting a competition, among its member groups, during December, January, and February.  Each team accumulates points from swimming (10/mile), biking (1/mile), and/or running (3/mile). All of these sports are individual sports, not team sports.  As a matter of fact, each individual team member usually does their training alone and not part of a group.

I do my training alone.  I have a training schedule that I follow to achieve my goals.  My schedule, for example, may call for me to run 5 miles on Tuesday.  What I have discovered is that as I run the 5 miles I have started thinking about running an extra mile to help accumulate more points for BEAT.  This is an interesting realization.  An individual sport has become a team sport in my mind.  Thinking about what I can do to help my team makes my individual workout easier and more meaningful.

A 2nd situation occurred at Disney World in early January.  I entered 2 races on consecutive days.  Both had many, many participants.  The Saturday race had 27,000 runners for the half marathon.  It was evident to me before the start that it was going to be impossible to run a fast time.  I made a conscious decision to adjust my thinking about the race. There were many 1st time runners that had trained to reach their Big Hairy Audacious Goal of completing 13.1 miles.  There were also seasoned runners.  The 1st timers were not aware of runner’s etiquette.  For example, when they decided to stop running and walk they did not move to the side, but stayed in the center of the road.

Some seasoned runners did not appreciate the rookies’ lack of etiquette.  Some seasoned runners complained aloud and to anyone in listening range.  Their complaining negatively affected those that heard it.  I, and many others, accepted the fact that we would not run a fast pace.  We encouraged the 1st timers throughout the race and talked to the volunteers and our fellow runners about meaningless yet friendly subjects.  Just being positive and encouraging raised the spirits of those struggling to run the distance.  Often, the encouragers were thanked by the struggling rookies.

These are 2 different situations.  One is an individual setting and one is a crowd setting.  Yet, a simple decision in both cases had a profound impact on the outcome.  As a member of BEAT, the decision to go farther because of the team made it easier than running a shorter distance for me alone.  As an individual in a crowd, the decision to adjust my thinking to deal with circumstances kept me from being frustrated and also made it enjoyable for me and those around me.

Always be aware of how our thinking influences our attitude; how our attitude influences our actions; and, consequently, how our actions influence others and their attitudes and/or belief levels.

Bill Evans