Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Counter Balance

If you can't have good without evil, sweet without bitter, success without failure, ham without the burger, then you can't have balance, without a counter-balance.

Ever since I wrote about balance (and with inspiration from CV's latest, and a conversation I had recently), I re-read a previous post I wrote - Extremes. The gist of the post was I had a friend who said I was so "extreme". Extreme, being a relative term of course. Doing a half Ironman - that's extreme. Talking about doing RAAM - that's extreme. She was one that generally liked being in a zone of comfort (not to be confused with, but certainly similar to, Z1 in training - it can get you somewhere, it's just boring). There's nothing wrong with that way of life (PC, speaking) - that was her MO. But, that wasn't ME.

My response was that to do anything great in life (or, let's just start with something a little more than ordinary), then you have to to be a little, or a lot, extreme - depending on how big your goals are. Take anyone who has reached their personal best, a community/group/team's best or even world's best, in anything (worth talking about anyways; losers need not read anymore) - and they had to make sacrifices. They had to put balance on hold a bit, and be a little "extreme". They had to sacrifice some things - whether that be sleep, a social life, family time, denero - whatever. Upon achieving their goal, I am sure each and every one of them would say "it was (well) worth it".

One thing they probably learned about whatever journey they embarked on, is how aligned their goal(s) is with their comfort zone. At the risk of sounding rather nerdy, if you think of two concentric circles, with your comfort zone being the inner/smaller one, you better realize that at some point, that thing is going to have to expand at some point, if you are to reach your goals. The greater the disparity there is between them, the greater the chance that your comfort zone won't allow you to reach your goals. The more pliable and expandable it is, well, "the sky's the limit".

It's rather paradoxical that humans are innately lazy creatures, yet we are at our best when we are challenged and stressed. To steal a line from Jon Voight in last season's 24 (one of the few shows worth watching): "Stress is the fertilizer of creativity".

(As an aside, I was extremely lazy over the holidays. Michelle and I finished an entire season of 24 [that's, 24 episodes] in less than 48 hours [not the first time I have done it], and I (we) loved every second of it.).

If I learned anything about the last year of my life balancing work/life/school/training/stuff, it was only to confirm what I thought a few years ago when I wrote of extremes and comfort zones. The more you are out of that good (?) ol' zone of comfort, the better off you are (or will be, someday), the more adaptable you are (hey, if caveman never adapted, then you wouldn't be reading this blog!), the greater your patience/stress threshold can be, and not to mention - feeding that ego and developing confidence, whether it be physical, mental, or both.

Life, as in training, has stress(es) applied to it, and after proper recovery, we are stronger for it.


jameson said...

good one dude! i am going to delete my blog now.

happy new year to you and Michelle.

Tawnee said...

I LOVE your blogs, you always get my brain all revved up and I want to respond to what you say. One thing I can relate/agree to: My whole 2009 was spent doing things outside my "comfort zone" and I'm a better person for it; this year I plan on taking that even further. It's not always easy, and it's stressful, but so worth it!

Mary said...

Great post. Makes me want to get outside that comfort zone a bit more.

Ulyana said...

What I don't get is an implication that "extreme" is "crazy". Actually, sometimes it's not so implied, that is often said to my face. Doing something extreme, something out of your comfort zone is not crazy. We act thinking everything out, planning everything out. What seems more crazy to me, and way more extreme, is doing nothing with your life.

'Hope that did sound too extreme, lol.

goSonja said...

Do you read Covey?? Those concentric circles had a distinct Covey flare to them... :)

It's so important to challenge ourselves. Do something we aren't sure we can complete. Some of us crave it, some of us do it because we know it's good for us, and others run from it. But, its always good to challenge who you think you are.