Life offers precious few truly extraordinary moments. These opportunities are particularly limited if we do not seek them out. We cannot wait for the extraordinary to come to us. We must make the extraordinary happen.
But, it is hard work that brings with frightful challenges and frustrating barriers. Yet, meeting the challenge and overcoming the barriers lead to a reward so rich, so deeply fulfilling that I cannot help but seek these moments.
Let’s face it: I’m an addict. Endurance sport is the fix.
The challenges of training for and racing Ironman push me past my comfort zone and are the very essence of what makes it an extraordinary experience. It heightens my ability to learn from and enjoy the everyday. It lends purpose and focus to what otherwise might be a life that just floats, just gets by, just does the easy thing. This is a life that just avoids the extraordinary.
And, sadly, it’s easy to settle into this life, with day-to-day activities that we find mundane, unfulfilling, and meaningless. I spent most of my 20s like that, and those were by far the worst years of my life. Every day was the same as the previous. No turning points, no climactic moments, no satisfying denouement.
In the years since, I’ve pursued various goals, each enriching, rewarding and worth the challenge. First, with my education, earning a PhD, and then with my career, and now with my physical and spiritual growth. These have been the best years of my life.
We may feel as if we can’t pursue certain dreams or goals because we don’t have time, we lack the ability, or others may think us foolish, a modern day version of Don Quixote tilting at windmills. So, we don’t work toward our goals. We push them aside, and we give ourselves plenty of excuses so that we don’t even start.
This ordinary mode is the safe mode. But, safety rarely leads to the spectacular.
Doing an ironman or running an ultra marathon is not the only way to seek the extraordinary. We all have dreams, goals – our “something” – that we want to pursue.
Don’t let another day go by without setting your goal, and take those first steps toward achieving it. Then, take a few more steps, and a few more. Watch your goal as it comes within your grasp, and relish in the reward of achievement. The hard journey is what makes this extraordinary moment possible.
Go after your moment. Make it happen.