It goes without saying that we live our lives in a fast paced world. We struggle to grasp the concept of learning to slow down, because everyone is trying their best to keep up with life. We’re so afraid that if we don’t keep up, we will be left behind and forgotten while those around us who did manage to keep up with life moves ahead of us. Never before has there been such a demand to rush through life – keep up or get left behind.
The reality is that no one can live life at full pace all the time, yet it seems that many believe that they will be the exception. They end up being stressed, anxious and experience burnout (which is more recognisable than ever before), simply because they never took the time to pace themselves through life. While there will be times in life where there will be a sprint ahead of us, there will also be times where a more conducive pace will be required, in order to ensure that we will be able to endure the race set before us – the race of life. It’s important that we are able to distinguish between these moments in our lives. But if we look at life as a whole, I believe the best advice would be to learn to pace yourself.
If running has taught me anything it is this: The pace at which you are running will determine exactly how far you will get. Starting off too fast and pushing yourself too hard will only cause you to burn all your energy, resulting in a shorter distance run; starting too slow…well then you are merely taking a walk. Your pace really matters – the same can be said when viewing our journey through life.
“Learn to pace yourself by frustrating yourself a little.”
I will never forget the advice I was given when I was trying to run greater distances: “Frustrate yourself a little”. It may not have made sense to someone else but in that moment I knew exactly what they meant. Holding back just a little when I knew I was able to press a bit harder got me to finally begin achieving new records. What if all of us were able to take this advice and apply it our personal lives “Frustrate yourself a little”. Wouldn’t this help us take the necessary time needed to simply enjoy all that life has to offer, then giving us a new sense of drive in order to achieve greater things? I will say this again – you cannot live life continuously at full pace. You won’t end up reaching the finish line. You can however, choose to live life smarter, learning to frustrate yourself a little by holding back and pacing yourself.
“Learn to pace yourself by being your greatest competitor”
The other thing running has thought me is that You are your greatest competition. So many people give up because they are unable to keep up with the pace of those around them. Feelings of inferiority let us believe that we are not as good as those people and therefore we should simply quit while we are ahead. Sadly, comparing yourself will only lead you to believe those things. If instead, you learn to change your viewpoint regarding your progress by learning to better your last time or last distance, this would bring about a sense of excitement when you do see progress with each “run” you take. Leaving you excited and enthusiastic for the next one. It will bring a sense of freedom and a believe that says “I can do this, I will achieve greater things”.
In the same sense as with life, this would set many free from the pressure life tends to weigh us down with, especially when forcing us to conform to what is considered “good enough” or “average”. Yes I do believe that there are certain standards everyone should do their best to live according to; not simply settling where they find themselves thinking that is good enough for them. What is important is that the standard that is set should take on a “natural course” in your life instead of being forced in place. We are all different, while there are some that catch on much quicker than others, there are those who do need a bit more time to process things. What should be important is that you reach the standard set before you, for your life. This often means learning to better yourself by simply competing against yourself.
Don’t get discourages when those around you are moving along quicker than you are. Keep focus on competing with yourself, bettering yourself. As long as you are reaching greater distances and breaking new time stamps you are moving forward. The truth is that there will always be those ahead of you who are faster than you (to who you look and wish you were there already), but if you would open your eyes and look behind you then you will also see that there are many that are also still behind you, who are not where you are. This should be an encouragement to you that you are in fact making progress and should also cause you to encourage those who are behind you to achieve their best.
The journey of life is by no means an easy one, it will always move at a pace that only seems fit for that “special” kind of individual. Learn to simply be committed to your journey and to have the stamina which comes by taking care of yourself. More importantly, learn to pace yourself so that when you reach the end of your journey you can look back and say that it was all worth it.
“Let us not hold onto those things that will way us down, but let us run the race of life with perseverance as many have done before us, keeping the end in mind and in sight.”