Not the most groundbreaking news for this Monday post. Honestly, it’s not even news at all. Our lives are filled with so many challenges we don’t even know where to start counting them.
There are instances however, where a window of opportunity opens, allowing the journey to become easier. Sadly, we often are caught up in our own challenges and struggles. So we fail to recognize the moment and it passes us by, useless and wasted. I was reminded of this again on a recent marathon training run.
A runner faces three types of terrain grades while on the course – flat, uphill or downhill. Runners love the flats as it allows us to get into a steady rhythm and pace. We tolerate the uphill portions of our run, slowly grinding them out, laboring step after step. The downhills are dualistic in nature, presenting the runner with two contrasting methods of approach:
Choice #1: Choose to relax and maintain speed going downhill
Choice #2: Choose to push it and increase speed going downhill
Choice #1 happens often. It’s tiring to push uphill, and when a runner gets to the peak our natural tendency is to relax. It’s comforting on the body and the lungs to take it easy for a few strides after so much strain and torment.
However, at the top of the hill, the road’s terrain presents the runner with a fabulous opportunity. Going downhill is easier and requires less naturally produced effort from the runner. A runner can gain speed with every step by using the slope of the terrain like a slingshot to advance forward at a quicker pace.
But only if they take advantage of the opportunity and push themselves to do so.
In my last race, I used this technique to my advantage and recorded my best ever half marathon time. The start of the race began with nearly two miles that were generally downhill. I decided to push really hard at the beginning to give myself a time cushion because I knew there were big hills later in the course that would slow me down. I ran those first two miles in 15 minutes flat, a really fast time over two miles for me.
(At the risk of sounding too G.I. Joe gung-ho-ish, I will admit to not always sprinting downhill during my runs. I know it’s an opportunity to gain time, but sometimes my body and mind can’t take it. I have to pick my spots and pace myself or I’ll get burnt out.)
Life presents windows of opportunity as well in some unique ways. Often they are so subtle we fail to see and use them to our advantage. Consider these life scenarios that might cross one’s path:
A coworker in your department has an argument with the boss that is not resolved.
You get an unexpected tax refund or a bonus at work.
A friend volunteers to help you finish a project you’re struggling on.
The state offers a sales tax free shopping day.
A fellow blogger asks you to guest post on their site.
Interest rates drop to the lowest levels in a generation.
I could easily give my thoughts on how these widows of opportunity could spring us forward in life. I’d rather hear from and interact with you. How could we use these situations that life drops in our lap to build momentum and move us forward faster than we thought possible? In other words, how could they help us? Drop some of your awesome knowledge for the community in the comments below.
What other life situations can you visualize as being an unexpected window of opportunity we could take advantage of? Maybe the deeper question is, “Why don’t we move in and engage these situations?” Is it fear? Inattentiveness? Ignorance? Pride?
Next Post: Bang on the Drum All Day: Find Your Passion
Prior Post: The Benefits of Living in the Moment