Most of the time this winter and spring I’ve listened to a combination of podcasts and music while running. In fact, I’m using headphones during running more than ever. My typical routine is to listen to podcasts during the first half of runs and music during the second half. As I was listening to a podcast (Ben Greenfield Fitness) during a run several weeks ago, I opted to switch it up early and put on music (Mumford and Sons this particular instance) instead. As the music started I caught myself hitting the ‘volume increase’ button dozens of times in rapid succession. I didn’t pause to determine if it was already loud enough, because the only thing I cared about was if it was as loud as possible.
Maximum volume. As loud as possible. All out. Go big.
In an instant it dawned on me that this is exactly how I live. Never question what is enough. Never pause to consider what level of work or volume or sleep you actually need or want, or can successfully maintain. Live as loud as possible regardless of the mid-term or long-term ramifications. Coffee? Don’t care how much you actually need. Nope – drink as much as possible. Low carb? No question – lower is absolutely better. Running volume? Of course more is better, even if it means 3:00am alarms. Opportunities? Yes indeed… after-all, opportunities present themselves for a reason. Say yes. To all. All the time. Never say no.
As loud as possible.
Despite my troubles over the past few years, my growing interest in adopting a minimalist mindset, and my insistence that I have made the required changes to once again perform at a high level as a runner, the truth is that at the core… proper change has not happened. More still equals better. Harsher leads to stronger. Deprivation means discipline. Saying yes to more than I can handle still leads to 3:00am wake-up times. More reading. More media. More networking. More ideas. More meetings. More effort. Just more effort. Pursuing perfection still leads to burn-out. Treating training runs as ‘bottom-of-the-well’ tests of toughness leads to exhaustion. And the cycle continues.
I’ve taken the past two weeks off, and just yesterday I felt a deep/core energy return to my body that hasn’t been there since early February. The true test starts now. I intend to keep the volume button at least a few clicks below max. That doesn’t sound appealing though, even now… and that is the problem. Maybe I need to focus on the main idea from a sentence that I typed months ago: “I’ve recently come to realize that operating from a (self-created) position of fear has rendered me exceptionally weak of mind, and lacking confidence…. Instead, I will work to … operate from a position of strength.”
Focused on strength. Moving ahead. Thanks for reading. DC