Sunday, May 24, 2020
The following that you are about to read by athlete, writer Dave Draper made me think of Percy's quote about Daniel.
Courage to be yourself and going against what you are being told, and in some cases ordered to, is not all that common these days. Consider the following by Dave Draper.
"This is not a startling revelation to you and to me. but it's worth repeating to our neighbor: The best thing we can do in a continuing effort to enhance our apparently declining world is to take control of our lives, personally, individually. Forget war, pandemics, crime and immorality for a minute and notice we are surrounded by masses just poking along like life was a chore, the late shift, a bad habit or a dull pain and not a fragrant gift.
Wake up friends, wake up. We're broken, we need fixing and it's in our control. It's simple, yet it takes courage and work.
Can you hear me? It takes personal courage and it takes hard work.
I'm losing most of the population, I can tell. 'Courage and hard work' do not ring a bell in the town square; they don't register on the scale of Popular Daily Behavior and I do not see them on today's list of Currently Applied Qualities in Vogue Magazine."
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Vulnerability Is a Synonym for Weakness
By Jack Donovan
Whenever a man brags that he is “not afraid to be vulnerable,” I picture that scene in The Hobbit where Bilbo notices the dragon Smaug’s missing scale.
That’s what a vulnerability is.
“Here it is. This is how you get to my soft tissue. This is how you could ruin me, if you wanted to.”
I’m vulnerable. We are all “vulnerable.” We are monkeys made of meat. “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” Acknowledging that you are fallible and “vulnerable” is simply recognizing reality.
The life-loving and strong-willed response to recognizing a weakness is either to accept it and build strength in other areas, or to attempt to protect it or eliminate it. To don armor and raise ramparts. This is what one does if one wants to assert his interests in the world.
Another survival strategy is to roll over and display that vulnerability openly. But this is not a position of strength. This is how you communicate helplessness and show that you are not a threat. It is submissive, surrendering behavior that begs for mercy and relies on the kindness of others.
We find this endearing in creatures whom we want to help. My dog rolls over on his back because he is at home in his “safe space” and he knows that I would never hurt him, because I’ve built that trust with him.
But then, every farmer has had to kill an animal that trusted him, so it’s never quite a sure thing.
Men have always been the protectors of women and small children, so they naturally want to help them. When you offer your help to someone who needs it, and they graciously accept your assistance, it feels good. Men find some measure of vulnerability endearing in women, so women experience a more positive feedback loop when it comes to displaying vulnerability.
When someone encourages a man to “be more vulnerable,” or to talk about his fears and weaknesses openly, it makes sense tactically for him to be suspicious of their motives. Those who appear to be friends often turn out to be…farmers.
When cultish therapy groups or feminists tell men they “need” to be more vulnerable, men should ask “for me, or for you?”
As I watch various men’s improvement groups evolve, I see a lot of all-embracing affirmation language creep in from the social frames of women’s groups. Weakness is strength, obesity is healthy, ugliness is beautiful, losers are winners. “Every conceivable negative is a positive if it makes me feel good in the moment.” How magical it must be to live in a world of lies where all of your faults are re-framed as talents. I can certainly see the allure…
It is not insane to want to be identified by your strengths instead of your weaknesses. Refusing to carelessly share your problems with anyone who will listen is not the same as refusing to acknowledge that you have problems.
Stating your problems aloud is merely catharsis. Fixating on them is poisonous. Talking about problems without discussing an action plan for overcoming them may actually prevent progress.
A more productive approach to acknowledging a problem or a weakness is to think of yourself as an employee who is trying to increase his value in the eyes of his employer.
If you want to advance and take on a leadership role, you don’t just go to your boss with problems. You say, “I see a problem here and here’s a plan I came up with that I think might help solve it.”
Imagine a leader who announces to the public that, say, the economy is about to collapse, and then shrugs his shoulders and turns his palms up. He wouldn’t stay a leader long.
Be your own leader. Take responsibility for your own life.
If you don’t want to be your own leader, I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone willing to tell you what to do.
Establishing any kind of relationship means opening yourself up. You give or share something, the other entity reciprocates, and if that works out, you move to the next level.
This is how you build trust, and sooner or later you’re going to have to trust someone more than you’d trust any stranger on the street.
But even if you trust someone, it’s better — at the very least it is better for you — if you open yourself up in the context of solving a problem, or coming up with a plan for handling or mitigating your own weaknesses. Otherwise you’re just whining (at best) or giving someone easy ammunition (at worst). And you should never be proud of your weaknesses and shortcomings. To take pride in weakness devalues pride itself.
So, by all means, if you want to build a relationship or solve a problem, be “vulnerable” and expose a weakness.
Build trust with someone.
Why do some of us have a passion for running that many would say borders on the fanatical? Over the years essays,books and articles have been written on this subject.
The following was taken from a 1998 issue of my newsletter The Stotan News and gives one man's view on why he loves distance running so much. Due to the fact that I could only find one page from the article,I am missing the name of the person who wrote this. I believe,but I'm not entirely certain, that it was written by Olympic gold medalist (in the marathon) Frank Shorter. He says:
" I am seeking an inner satisfaction that only I can determine,not the recognition of applause,headlines or alot of money.Running is not my job.Running is not, for me,working,though surely it is at times hard work.Running for me is a form of self-expression.Though I don't necessarily intend it as such,it is a statement of who I am and a lot of what I hope to be,even if what I become takes me away from running.Running is the absolute in my life,and I admit to its control over me--a control that may not always seem to be in my best interests,but then,who is to say? Above all else I run for fun,for the expansive feeling I get from running,and while that feeling is enhanced by winning,it is not enhanced by the prospect of being paid for it."
So well put---I particularly like, "above all else I run for fun,for the expansive feeling I get from running."
Monday, May 18, 2020
It's the how to train books that take up most of the space in the running section at your local bookstore.Readers to this blog realize that a "one size fits all" approach to training is not always a good idea.
Lydiard recommended that runners take his schedule, which build strength and fitness progressively, then personalize it to fit their strengths and weaknesses.
Bill Bowerman,Nike co-founder and great Oregon running coach offered these related thoughts on the subject: "If someone says, 'Hey,I ran 100 miles this week,how far did you run?' Ignore him! What the hell difference does it make? The magic is in the man,not the 100 miles."
As far as the mindset that further or faster is always better he offered the following:
"Runners tend to think the farther and faster they run in training,the better it's going to be for them. A runner can have just as much success,if not more success,by finding what his limit is in relation to his progress.It just doesn't make sense to think,'I'm going to be successful because I have run farther than anyone else.' "
The go to guy on running physiology,Dr.David Costill, sums it all up in this excerpt from 'What Research Tells the Coach About Distance Running', "It is unlikely that any one type of training will produce perfect results for all runners since the combination of anatomical,physiological and psychological factors which compose the distance runner are too divergent."
What Costill and Bowerman recognize is that slavishly following someone elses training regimen or a schedule taken as is from a book is unwise and can be counter productive to a runner's development.
The answer lies in the runner evaluating his progress and discerning his needs along the way. This requires an athlete who is not only knowledgeable but thoughtful and patient as well.
Friday, May 8, 2020
The above brings to mind a few things as it pertains to people who are seriously committed to running.
First, I think we've all known people who would rather not run then go for a long run alone. Some have told me it gets "boring" when they're out there for several miles and they don't have someone to talk to. I believe a statement like this shows, to a certain degree, a lack of mental toughness and discipline.
We are increasingly becoming a society that is continuously surrounded by sounds,be it music or someone talking. It should be a welcome relief to be able to engage in something where you can be alone in your enviroment and thoughts. I've heard runners tell me that they do their best thinking when they are out on a long easy run.
Others have told me that long runs,alone and away from traffic,provide a contemplative aspect to their running.
If you are indeed serious about your running,do not ignore the necessity and benefits that can be gained from running alone.