Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Old Wisdom Twisted To Suit Me

Have you ever felt positive power within yourself so remarkably that you have willed a significant change in your life’s outcome? I’m attempting to describe the ‘top of the world’ triumph that comes in our lives when we truly believe in ourselves, our dreams and one another.

I know many of you know what I am talking about. Some of you may not.

I wanted to write a satire today about an author of self-help motivational ‘power of positive’ thinking books. In my satire he would be too depressed to write anything positive. I may get to that satire and humor before long, but I got derailed thinking along a different line.

Part of my mental wandering is being brought about by the fact that I am going to compete in the famous Penn Relays this Friday. I am going to run on a 4x100 meter relay team with my Houston Elite teammates. Normally when I compete I am not nervous at all; but in a prestigious relay like Penn a mistake or failure on my end will have an impact on three other people. There are high speed baton exchanges, take-off zones, drop dead zones, hand positions and enough other details to make what appears like a simple endeavor seem quite difficult.

And so I have been mentally working on staying positive and quite frankly there have been moments when my anxiety wrestles the positive thinking to the ground and gets in a few good punches. From that process developed a thought I don’t often see discussed.

The positive thinking evangelists take us to the doorstep, but once we are there we often wander astray at the smallest sighting of the negative or a failure from our ‘positive thinking’ to bring a suitable result.

How then do we distinguish between the fanciful ‘Pollyana’ type positive thinking as opposed to true belief in ourselves and the power of belief in a positive outcome?

How do we find the silver lining of the darkest cloud and cling tenaciously to it as if we were blind to any darkness?

Maybe our weakness is that we seek the improbable rather than the positive? With intent I did not use the word impossible in the previous sentence. Someone always corrects me that there is nothing impossible to us.

When I expect the improbable, do I concentrate so hard on the ultimate goal of my positive thinking that I might miss the alternate positive that knocks on my door? Is our vision of positive too narrow?

Maybe it’s only a larger Faith that we need. Faith that by believing in the ultimate good that awaits us all, we run in the proper direction, and find the world more palatable than if we embraced the negative; but knowing we should keep keen our senses on all things positive and good, not merely the good we have outlined in a static exogenous fashion.

The true test of our ability to seek the good comes when times are toughest; the most negative of all our experience. We all know that and I assure you I didn’t come up with that thought by having a genius philosopher pass me a note.

We all know this phenomenon, yet we still let failure to reach our preconceived notion of ‘the ultimate positive’ derail us.

I’m full circle here to understanding the old wisdom about silver linings on dark clouds. And I’m hoping to add a twist to the old adage. Hoping and working on the Faith to hold on to the slimmest of silver linings that surround the darkest of clouds; defining what Faith in all things good actually means when measured by the strong and determined.

Remembering to define the good not by what I might believe is good, but instead by what the universe offers to me in a positive spirit.

Please wish me well. I will find the good in Philadelphia around noon on Friday.

I know you will find the strength to hold tight to your silver linings too; and expect the best of all things by any and all definitions.


Molly said...

I sometimes feel like Forrest Gump and his box of candies when I come here. I never know what I will get. Some days what you teach me is so powerful I get left without words. I really do. Today is one of those days, so I just wanted to say thank you.

Denny Shane said...

I could have my whole family in Philly come down and cheer you on and embaress the crap out of you if you lose your footing or place.

You'll do good... Even though you are running for Houston I still have to cheer on my hometown guys.

Don't forget to buy some soft pretzels... but not before the game.

Kerry said...

"The true test of our ability to seek the good comes when times are toughest; the most negative of all our experience. We all know that and I assure you I didn’t come up with that thought by having a genius philosopher pass me a note.

We all know this phenomenon, yet we still let failure to reach our preconceived notion of ‘the ultimate positive’ derail us."

How true that is!, and so well put. I think many of us lower our expectations of self because of past failure, there are others who use failure to push themselves to succeed, and still others who use the fear of failure to propel themselves through life.
I prefer to view the downs in my life to measure the good, how good life is now because/despite failure in the past.
My mantra has become " Be the best I can" ..not " Be the best there is" ..
ps.. just found your blog via pattis.. so very very interesting!

patti_cake said...

Honey you will do GREAT. You know we are all excited for you and pulling for you. Can't wait to see pics and your post about the Relays. I can have my family come fron North Central PA and join Denny's in cheering you on LOL
I won't be at work Friday but i'll be thinking of you and your team mates

Seven said...

That is so sweet a comment. I am always appreciative that you continue to read.

What? Cheer against Houston? Whatsamatta u?

Thanks for the visit and kind words. I'm going to come visit you shortly.

Seven said...

You are the best Girlie-Girl. Thanks for the support.

Grant said...

Good hunting. And don't be afraid to pull a Tonya Harding on some of the competition. They're probably bad people who deserve a whacked shin. Yeah, that's it. You'll be doing the world a service, providing poetic justice and all that. You'll be a hero.

How's that for positive thinking?

Jenn said...

I remember when I was finally able to find my Zen place right before a race. I knew I'd done all the prep work and no amount of stress/worry would change how the race would be run. I would think, 'I've done my work - here's the test. No time to cram now...gotta run!'

Of course there's always a chance something will go wrong...but if you've prepared - and you have - that's all that's truly in your hands...ya know?

Luck, Mr. Rick.

Oh..and I strive in life to find the real silver lining...sometimes it's a struggle...and sometimes it doesn't look anything like I thought it would...but it's usually there.

Angie said...

Very well written, Rick. I agree with Kerry that our expectations are based on past failure and how we cope with it. Each one is different.

You'll do fine. I'll be rooting you on from the ATL. And if you see yourself failing...remember Grant's idea and take someone else out as you're going down :)

Seven said...

I hear you. I am a Tonya fan. If you can't beat them, you can always beat them!

Thanks. I know that you know what I am talking about with your track experience.
Sometimes you just have to forget about it and let it flow-jo, eh?

Thanks for the good wishes. Thinking too much like Grant may lead to satanic images on your web site however.

The Stiltwalker said...

best of luck to you Rick, I'll be thinking about you...

Reach said...

You speak of faith, do your best in the position assigned to you. Have faith in your team Manager and Coach to do their position assigned to them. They have placed you in this position only due to your abilities you have previously demonstrated.

Focus on your task and leave the success to the team work of your team. Together you shall succeed. Now is not the time to think "what if", but the time to think "I AM". Zone yourself into your training.

I remember a tricky landing, when nature was completely against me. As my mind scrambled in many different areas, for reactionary forethought, I settled back into my training and was successful as my nerves became calm with focus.

I wish you the best, and LAND this one for your team, supporters, and last but not least- YOU.


Rob said...

Rick, too bad you can't run something else to take the tension off the 4x. You'll be fine. You four should know exactly how each is feeling when you settle in to your lanes. Don't be like Tanya and beat yourself up. Good luck and have a great trip. I'll be checking results.

Seven said...

Thanks for the positive thoughts

You da man with the word; and I can tell you know the ropes. Thanks for the good vibe.

You said it. Just bust a 200; rest a minute then go line up again and it would be easier. As you know at Penn they stick you in those cattle pens and you just stand and wait for up to 30 minutes; then boom on the track you go and the gun shoots, no red and white flag, nothing but action and if you aren't ready its just too bad. Our handoffs are sound in practice so I'm feeling confident; plus its never a bad thing to have Bill Collins anchoring your team...:-)

Reach said...

In 24, You gonna be da man!

Best thoughts are with you, good luck.


Angie said...

Run, Forrest, Run!!

Ok, someone had to say it.
Hope all went well!

patti_cake said...

CONGRATS to the Houston Elite team in taking first place in their division. Way to go Rick! I knew you'd do an awesome job. Can't wait to hear the details :)

Rob said...

Rick, looks like Coach warmed up in the 4x to break the world record in 100m. You gotta feel great about being a little part of that! Congrats! Whose the coach now?

Seven said...

Thanks for all your kind words and support. It was a successful Houston Elite day here in Philadelphia on Friday. A sweep in the 4x100 and the 4x400. Houston; we have NO problems.
I will give you a report and some photos from Phily when I get back to Texas. (Monday)
Thanks again to you all, and have a wonderful weekend.

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