Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Extremes"

"Going to extremes." We've all used the phrase before, and we know what it means.

Some people are scared of extremes. They fear them, don't believe in them, think they're wrong or simply put, think they are too 'extreme'.

But using word extreme is, as most things are, a relative term.

Let's take some guy named Tom who has done a few Ironman's, a couple multi-day adventure races, and climbed some of the highest peaks on multiple continents. If you're an athlete or “outdoorsy” person reading this blog, you're probably thinking that those are some really cool things to accomplish, and can relate to the desire to accomplish more. If you’re an athlete who likes to race in the local 5k’s, 10k’s, sprint and/or Olympic distance triathlons, you may not feel as extreme as Tom.

But, let’s say you know a couch potato who is probably out of shape, overweight, and revolves his life around TV shows. To that person, YOU are extreme. Why would you waste all your time exercising to do all this swimming, biking and running? That’s so extreme.

But wait a minute, as if running wasn’t enough work, you have taken on the task of swimming, biking AND running so you can do a triathlon – all 3 back to back back? That’s pretty impressive! Wow!

Before you know it, you may have actually inspired that couch potato to get off their fat ass and get into shape. Maybe they work their way up to a 5K, and a few years later, actually finish a marathon. By your extreme ways, you have influenced someone to do something that thought they would never do, and never be able to do.

Is a marathon really that extreme? What if the socially accepted distance of a marathon was 52.4 miles? Would running a half marathon of 26.2 miles be that extreme? Of course not – it’s all relative.

What I described above is no different than a college student studying a lot. Isn’t studying a lot extreme? Is the desire to get an A an extreme, especially if the median/average is a C+? Status quo anyone? What about someone putting in extra hours at work, or to start a business, so they can make the deal, make more money and live a better life?

When was the last time you didn’t push yourself out of your comfort zone, and still accomplish something great? Some of the best things in human history have been accomplished by those going to these so called extreme’s.

Only you can define those extremes for yourself. To most people, an extreme is the outward boundary of their comfort zone – some comfort zones are bigger for others. But what happens when you take yourself out of your comfort zone and accomplish something – something BIG? You realize what you just did - you moved your extreme limit out a little bit.

And now you want to move it out even farther.

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