Monthly Archives: September 2017

Focus to Succeed

Did you ever wonder what you could achieve if you could have complete focus on one thing for a significant period of time?

I was watching the documentary “Breaking2” tonight, about three athletes preparing to try and run a marathon in under 2 hours.  They spent two years preparing for it. Training daily with the other world class athletes. Eating, sleeping, drinking according to a rigorous schedule. Supported by their trainers and a team of scientists, who helped them determine how to optimally prepare. For two years.
It was a great watch, I can highly recommend it.
Oh and the fastest one finished in 2:00:25. He did something that was pretty much out of this world and still didn’t reach his goal.

The successful warrior is the average man

Afterwards I was trying to imagine what it would be like to be so focused on one thing for so long. Like most people my life contains a lot of variety. A significant part of it is spend on working. But in my spare time I like to play tennis, go rock climbing, plant shopping, running, spend time with my family, read, write and sometimes just sit on the sofa and watch TV. At several of these things I can perform a little above average (especially the shopping of course ;-p). Mostly because of my drive and determination. But I can’t imagine being able to focus on one of these things for more than a couple of hours.

Because the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, I do sometimes dream about being able to put a lot of focus on something physical for a couple of months in a row and see where that would get me. For instance, play a lot of tennis or do a lot of running. Just to feel what it would be like.
I expect that it will not only be very hard physically, but also mentally. To stay motivated and to give 100% for a long time to reach a specific goal requires immense discipline and perseverance. Where do you find the motivation to keep going day after day? What keeps these people going?

I have profound respect for professional athletes and I’m happy that they are able and willing to put in all this energy and focus. Through them we can experience what it’s like to push the boundaries of what’s humanly possible and to feel the euphoria when they succeed.

Bad habits are easy to acquire

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to acquire a bad habit?
And how hard is to keep up with a good habit?

I had been doing very well keeping an eye on my work-life balance over the summer. I was able to mostly stick to working during the day, and running, reading or fiddling about most evenings and weekends. However, with the start of our new fiscal year on September 1st and everyone coming back from holidays, things got very busy. To keep up I started working a couple of evenings again and a bit during a weekend.
It only took a couple of evenings before it felt normal again to work. Working even got in the way of writing blog posts.
Not working felt inappropriate and I had to make the conscious decision to stop the re-acquired bad habit.

Despite how easy it is to create the habit of working in the evenings, it is very hard to keep up with the habit of running or doing abs exercises at night. Even though after running and doing abs exercises I feel good. And after working all night I’m annoyed because I worked all night.

work is a rubber ball

I understand why it’s easier to eat candy and cookies than to always eat healthy, candy and cookies are yummy and it requires very little effort to get them (vs making a proper meal or peeling fruit). But why am I, and many of my friends and colleagues with me, so easily persuaded to work in the evening.

We are weird creatures…