Overcoming Obstacles, The Mental Game: who’s in charge? The mind, the brain, or both?

by | Aug 9, 2021 | Automation, Future of Work

Most people, if asked, would typically refer to an obstacle as something negative, right?

Searched on Google, the word “obstacle” states as “obstacle, obstruction, hindrance, impediment refers to something that interferes with or prevents action or progress. Something, material or nonmaterial, that stands in the way of literal or figurative progress”.

As someone who embraces challenges and requires meaningful, healthy friction, negativity does not work for my brain and mind. For example, if customers did not face obstacles, they would not have project challenges to address, and therefore no need to purchase anything.  We don’t want that to happen. 

Obstacles can be frustrating, regardless of the box they come in.  In the end, however, our perception of the situation is what has meaning.  “Obstacle” is just a word, just like impossible is just another option we can choose.

Another way to think about obstacles: we all struggle to understand the complete opportunity.

If you have ever driven a boat or biked up a hill, then ask yourself; when do you have more control? Is it with or against the current? When flying down a hill or climbing up one?  For any challenges, whether in the body or mind, the ability to process the complexity of the opportunities is the opportunity to earn, win, expand, grow, etc.

Over the last year and a half, we have all had to face the challenge that is the COVID-19 virus. Its effects are still with us and will be for a long time. The wounds run deep, and stress is still buried deep within many of us. I see it within my kids especially and how it impacts their communication, social interactions, expectations about life, and overall wellbeing (proud dad moment).  

One personal obstacle I have faced was my injury. While learning how to balance and listen to my body, I over-committed my body with stress and trying to be too perfect. So, my body gave out, and 18 months later, I still have lingering effects from what most people know as tennis elbow (not fun). However, the injury came from a fantastic accomplishment. In late 2019, I planned to challenge myself to complete an outdoor event called the eVestering challenge. The eVeresting challenge has two levels; “base camp” which is about 15,000 ft of climbing, and “the full” which is about 30,000 ft. Cyclists ascend and descend a given hill multiple times, intending to cumulatively climb to the level of elevation as I described above.

Since I am an outcomes-based person, I’ll cut to the chase scene: I did it. Last summer. I faced my obstacle and completed the “Basecamp Challenge” (see image below).  I think about the effort and a few key points when the brain tries to serve up an unhappy place:

  • Mental and physical discipline: Doing the same thing 121 times, up a gradient of over 10% for over 7+ hours.
  • 100’s of hours of training, tweaking, perfecting fueling, hydrating, etc.
  •  I am the only person in the world who has done this event, on this road. 

Think about how unique you are and how you are achieving things nobody else has done before.

 (Burned 4,320 calories during this event! Dinner never tasted so good.)

My Journey

So how did the cycling story begin for me, and where is it today?

Well, I am feeling better and building up my training to 10+ hours per week again. This blog will share my efforts to prepare for a 70+ mile ride I am doing for JDRF.  JDRF, formally known as The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is the leader in research leading to a cure for type 1 diabetes in the world. It sets the global agenda for diabetes research and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of diabetes science worldwide. For anyone who wants to participate in a JDRF ride or support my cause, here is the link.

Thanks for reading and until next time.

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