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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Patience at the Gym

Have you ever had some kind of Ding! happen that makes you say, "really, are you serious?"

This winter, there was an ice/snow storm in Philadelphia. It didn't seem too bad to me (and President Obama seemed to agree with me, as he essentially called DC a bunch of wusses for their response to the snow), so I still dutifully made it to the gym in the morning. As I pulled into the lot I realized that many other people must have thought that storm was kind of bad, because the normally full lot was very empty.

"Awesome!" I think to myself, "I should have no problem getting the equipment I need."

I get inside, change, and hit the weight floor. Because of the snow, there are only three other people besides me on the weight floor. Normally there are fifteen to twenty people lifting at the same time. For my workout, I am following a specific routine that requires me to start each workout with a barbell squat. In my gym, there are three pieces of equipment I can safely do those on.

Would you believe that ALL THREE OF THOSE APPARATI WERE TAKEN?? There are only three other people working out! And they are using the exact three pieces of equipment I need!!

How is that possible? Did they snag my workout journal in the lockerroom and then conspire to use the equipment I needed? Unbelievable.

I realize in the grand scheme of all the great big Dings that can occur in a person's life, this one is pretty small. But here is what I did, why was proud of myself, and what you can learn from it:

I did nothing. I patiently waited for them to finish, then went over and did my workout.

I am sure you are not all that impressed by this. But bear with me...

You see, I had a few things working against me:

  1. I am not the most persistent person in situations like this. In these cases I would often just move on to a different exercise (not in my routinea) or just leave.

  2. I don't always enjoy working out. I have a particularly interesting love/hate relationship with squats. This would have been a great excuse to skip them.

  3. I didn't have a tremendous amount of time. This was in the morning and I had places to be, and I didn't want to waste my time waiting for equipment.

But I overcame those things, stuck it out, and got a great workout.

You may still not be impressed or see a lesson here. Well let me share a lesson with you:

How we behave in small things (Dings) is indicitave of how we will behave in big things (Dings)

Persistence is such a valuable tool when it comes to achieving our goals and overcoming obstacles when Ding happens. So many of us would like to believe that when a major setback happens, we will rally and do whatever it takes to push past it. But why would anyone believe that is true of a person who can't exhibit that same resolve in small things?

That's why I stood there and waited that morning. Realizing that I am not always thet most persistent person in some things, I knew that by waiting I would train that muscle so it would be there for me later on. That's why I was proud of myself.

How about you? Are there areas in your life where you could be practicing certain skills, training certain reflexes so that when Ding happens, big or small, you will react exactly as you want?

If not, start now, because as they say, "It's the little Dings that get ya'!"


Paula G said...

So absolutely true. I remember when I was first being trained as a coach by Debbie Ford and they brought up the concept of the microcosm of the macrocosm. I thought what?!!? Big words, confusing, complex. In effect it is just what you say here -- every are of our life even the small stuff (how we handle it) is a reflection of how we handle the big stuff. Sort of like being mad because a client doesn't pay on time and realizing, oh duh (or as you would say Ding!) that's because I haven't paid so and so on time and there's a mismatch.

Avish said...

Thanks Paula. Great point about the self-hypocrisy. I can't count the number of times I've seen someone complain about something one day and then the next I see them do the same thing! The little things really do add up