I love this quote from Lance Armstrong of Tour de France fame. It has given me two great insights to humanity.
- There will always be those who continually push life’s envelope, no matter the area of endeavour. Undoubtedly, subject to the cuts and grazes that occur in this space, there will be progress and learning. They will get faster/better/wiser/smarter. Life will always be challenging, exhausting at times and seem just as intense as day one. Yet, the rewards they receive are worth the effort (most of the time).
- Then there will be those who, early on, give it a bit of a go, even push pretty hard at times and feel some of the pain and some of the gain of what life has to offer. Then they make a choice, somewhere in their unconscious mind that they are doing “good enough” in life, and that they really don’t have to try too hard. And over time this leads to mediocrity, complacency and a sense of futility that it is too hard to change now.
My experience is that the former is rare – these are your high achievers, high energy and confident souls who have lots of evidence that it is worth pushing the edges, even if they fall off occasionally. Think of the great athletes, business leaders, mountaineers and inventors of our era and before.
The latter is the vast majority who are doing OK and making the excuses for staying there and staying safe. And this is OK, isn’t it?
Challenge your own life, your own experience of the times you pushed harder and felt the exhilaration of working toward something of value and purpose. Then compare it to the times and how it felt to just do what was needed – no more no less.
What would you prefer? Choose to live a little more true to what Lance means when he says, it doesn’t get any easier, I just get faster. Or, stay on the couch saying, one day!