Monday, December 20, 2010

Accurate Reflection

A friend posted a quote on FaceBook recently that said,
"Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit… we become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts."– Aristotle
My reply was,
I believe we do what we do because of what we believe...so just doing something in an effort to make us into something we don't accept as true about ourselves is futile!! I think the key is to first change your beliefs then act out of faith on that belief...almost the same but not quite. (it's a different direction really.)
What's interesting to me is the fact that when we initially change our core beliefs, most of the time, our outward behavior doesn't exactly match what we have decided to believe.  We have to step out in faith on that belief so that our actions become an accurate reflection of what's on the inside.  The hard part is changing the belief in the first place.

When people try to go about this process by doing the reverse, change behaviors in order to change beliefs, it just ends up frustrating the person. 

Let me give you an example...I used to think I couldn't run.  I tried to run because other people said anyone could run...but I just couldn't do it.  No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't seem to make it happen.  All my "attempts" just reaffirmed my belief.  In January I made the decision that I COULD be a runner, I just had to figure out how best to make my body fall in line with what my mind believed.  Instead of looking at the fact I couldn't run 30 seconds straight as a "failure", I looked at it as a starting point...and every tiny movement forward from that point (running 40 seconds) was "proof" that my belief was correct.

I think the big problem is when someone SAYS they believe one thing, but their actions tell a different story.  Our actions ALWAYS reveal our core beliefs.  ...and when a change in behavior is necessary, it's crucial to examine the underlying thoughts that drive that behavior first.  Then you can make a conscious decision regarding what you will, and won't, hold on to.  The "easy" part is acting out of faith on that decision.

A month ago the gauntlet was thrown when my regular running buds challenged me to a race that was held this past Saturday.  They both ended up not being able to compete...but I was committed to trying my best to run a sub-30 5K.  I honestly didn't start out thinking I could do it....but my buddies forced me to look at the truth-the data from my runs.  They challenged my beliefs.  They basically opened my eyes to the fact I was buying into a lie.  I didn't need to change my behavior...I just needed to change what I accepted as truth. 

It wasn't like I set out to run faster so I would believe I could....the truth was I just simply had to open my eyes to what was already happening.  In those times when my mind wasn't in control (at the end of the Cookie Dash race, on every day runs where I was just chatting away and still running a 10:30 pace, times when I thought I needed to stop running buy Daisy said that wasn't an option and --miraculously-- I was able to keep going) I was already going much faster than I thought I could.  My belief that I couldn't do it didn't match what was already happening....  I decided to accept the idea I COULD run "fast" (meaning, to me, last Saturday, a sub 30 5k).

I stepped out in faith on that belief in Saturday's race....and I not only reached my sub-30 goal....I ran it in 28:45!!!  I'm going to write up a race recap because I don't want to forget even a moment, but for now, let me just say I went into the race treading lightly on a new observation of myself-and it proved to be ROCK SOLID!!  This is another new starting point for me.  January 2010 I started working to make my body accurately reflect my mind's decision that I AM a runner....January 2011 I'm working to make my times accurately reflect my mind's decision that I AM a FAST runner.  (My new goal--one I'm SURE I will achieve--a sub 25:00 5k.)

But...here's the thing....I'm not seeking faster times as a way to validate myself or my ideals.  I read a great quote of a quote today that I think fits.....

"...a gold medal is a wonderful thing.  But if you're not enough without one, you'll never be enough with one." --from the movie Cool Runnings.....quoted by David Purinton, Huntsville Track Club President, in an article written for the HTC News.  I don't need a faster time to show anyone anything--not even to show me that I am a fast runner.   It's not a matter of trying to prove to myself that I can run faster.  It's just a matter of bring the external in line with the internal. 

The truth doesn't change just because the image does.....
I want to be an accurate reflection of my beliefs.

Thanks for stopping in; come again real soon!
:D

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