Yesterday, I rode my bike around Lake Tahoe, a whole 75 miles full of fun, challenge, trust, frustration, doubt, and adrenaline-pumping adventure. Approaching the day, I was a little nervous because of the elevation and the unknown territory. And along the way, there were a few points that were quite tempting to stop, more mentally than physically. But at one point (probably on a descent rather than an incline!) I realized, no matter what, I was going to finish the ride.
In life we go through ups and downs, and as long as we stay mentally motivated to try our hardest, whether with grace or not, we will make it through. It is rides like yesterday that call to mind the bigger idea that whether it is physical or professional or spiritual, as long as we show up and start something, we will finish it.
Along the ride, there were moments when I started to be hard on myself for not riding harder and in the end, my ego wanted to focus on how even though I finished, I only did 75 miles and a lot of people could have done it better than me. For one, why compare? For two, why criticize my efforts? For three, why not acknowledge the successes? At the finish line of accomplishments in life, our attitude makes all the difference. The results may be the same, but the outcomes are what shifts when our attitude transforms from self-doubt to self-love. There was a moment when I was lost in ego translation that I realized, “I have to do something different right now. I have to choose a different mindset.” I knew that if I did not focus on the positive result of riding my bike for 5 hours around a massive lake at 6,000 feet, the beauty would be defeated to an overpowering mind.
Managing my own competitive nature in a constructive, more balanced sense is counterintuitive to the high-powered “try harder” mentality I’ve ingrained for so many years. For other folks, I know it is more about invoking a higher energy of mental motivation. We all have our own unique mental battles to overcome and make peace with — but we all share the common desire to grow and celebrate in a way that feels magnificent and rewarding. Me being hard on myself does not make me a better bike rider or anything else that I do…although my ego wants to believe that.
Nothing is impossible, the range of possibility lives within our mind — the intuitive, loving side. The more awareness I invite to my daily routines, the more I recognize that one common theme keeps arising despite the circumstance: equanimity. In a culture of extremes, stimulants, depressants, workaholics, and growing numbers of ADHD, cancer, and obesity, being genuine is actually considered going against the grain. The status quo is driving us to put impossible on a pedestal of ideal achievement where we drive into extremes to end up farther from ourselves.
All we can ultimately do is try our hardest without comparing or criticizing, meanwhile accomplishing the successes so that the struggles don’t seem so monumentally damaging. No matter how big a challenge seems, we will get through it! Nothing is impossible, but the second we decide to relent on our ambitions (no matter how small or big), nothing turns into everything. We are our own worse critics — but today does not have to be that day. Lets just wait till tomorrow — or the next day — or never!