I waltzed down the track and flicked the first ball for four. They immediately pushed the field back. I kept taking singles and rotating the strike. A couple of overs later, they'd get impatient and pull the field back in. And sure enough, there'd come a loose ball and I'd hit it for four. Immediate reaction - push the field back. I was in the zone. I knew what they would do, and how I could manipulate them.
But ten overs in, the familiar feelings started. The singles got slower and slower. Running with the pads felt like I was running in a thick pudding. My brain and body kept getting slower and slower. And I'd make an inevitable mistake or get run out. Again.
Wanting to be fit was something I yearned for, ever since. I was not fast. I was not strong. Nor did I have much stamina. It was a crippling handicap. But the real handicap was not knowing that I could do something about it. As silly as it sounds, I did not know I could get stronger by lifting weights. Or get better at running by running more. I (wrongly) assumed that all of us had what we had.
How else could I explain my teammate who could generate obscene pace or whack a ball for 6 while I wouldn't even contemplate clearing the in-field?! Or my buddies who could run a lap twice as fast as me, or run longer?!
Being able to run 20 kilometres or lift twice my body weight was not about the actual act. On an absolute scale, thousands of people do that casually. But my scale is not absolute. There's the kid in my memory who struggled to swim a lap and this guy is doing what that kid never thought possible.
That's what my journey was about. Breaking a previously set limit - due to a combination of ignorance, wrong beliefs, and lack of coaching - and realising that lesson applies to the game of life too.
As Earl Nightingale says, "You are what you think about." And for the longest time, I told myself that I was a weak kid who could never get fit. My breakthrough moment came not when I joined a running community or completed my first race. But when I questioned my assumption. And instead said, "I can get fit."That was it. It was that simple. Then, the reinforcement in the form of running a bit more and breaking my previous ceiling allowed things to snowball.
We set arbitrary limits on ourselves. We overthink. We don't know what we don't know. We are scared. I certainly was. It was easier to tell myself that I was born this way rather than to take control.
And so, we tell ourselves stupid shit and hold ourselves back. I am sure there's an evolutionary reason for it. But c'mon, there's no reason to tell yourself that you cannot get fit. Or learn a new skill. Or learn that new programming language. Or become a badass developer/scientist/designer.
I know for a fact that it is untrue. Not just for me but for anyone. Fitness is a brilliant sandbox to play in and learn from. The same ingredients are required to get to where you need to go - a forward step, some guidance, and the belief that you got this.
You got this!