Failure is an Option. Fear is Not.

When I deferred the Marine Corps Marathon I immediately gave myself two weeks off.  During that time, I didn’t work out.  At all.  I took the opportunity to reorganize and regroup.  As I looked at my race calendar for the remainder of the cycle, I knew my number one priority was to get my mind right.  The running would come.

And it hasn’t, really.

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but Joshy and I ran on the beach so that was awesome.  and hard.

My first inclination was to panic — I have three important races back to back.  My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t finish.  Other fears included that I would get sick or injured.  Fear is paralyzing and as such, my training has not been on point.

When MB and I take a car trip we listen to the NPR TED Radio podcast.  This weekend, after two generally disappointing training runs I was panicking.  During my very quiet panic, we listened to James Cameron talk about curiosity.  The hour was about how curiosity creates and eventually leads to innovation.  And that curiosity doesn’t die — once the truly curious reach the answer they were curious about in the first place, it usually leads them on a new journey.  Essentially the curious are always curious.

I don’t consider myself a curious person.  I like ticking things off my list — getting to the end, being handed the medal and crossing the new accomplishment off the list.  The more I listened to that TED hour the more I realized that being a runner makes you a curious person.  After every running accomplishment I wonder — how much further, faster, harder, funner could the next race be?

At the end of the hour, James Cameron, adventurer, millionaire, curious person said the curious will continue to own the world.  As long as we understand that failure is an option.  But fear is not.

I can’t get this 10 seconds out of my head — I felt like he was talking directly to me.  I can fail at all of the races and training runs.  All of them.  That’s how I learn.  What I can’t be up to is being afraid of failing.  Fear keeps me, all of us, paralyzed from trying, from staying curious — and that’s when disappointment happens which is way worse than failing but not nearly as bad as never trying.

I feel so renewed and excited about training this week.  With the option of failure but without fear.

9 thoughts on “Failure is an Option. Fear is Not.

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