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Life Lessons from #DubaiMarathon and a Shattered French Press

So today was the #DubaiMarathon, and I participated actively by checking out the hashtag on twitter, but I found myself thinking about the lessons that marathons can teach people;

-Plan for the long term. It’s very hard for us millennials, because we’re the Insta-everything quick-fix generation with information at our fingertips. We want results, like, yesterday. But life doesn’t happen that way. Most of the important things in life take a long time to build; relationships, career, education. So you need to approach life with a marathon mentality not a sprint mentality.

-The 39th minute. I must admit I’ve never ran a marathon so I have no idea what running beyond the 75 minute feels like. What I know is how an intermittent walk-run might be difficult until the 39th minute. For me, that’s when the second wind kicks in; you know when you get re-energized somewhere in the middle of the run? So the 39th minute (for me) in running or the second wind is important because when you are facing a very challenging project, chances are it will hit a rough patch where you want to give up, but you have to power through until you hit the second wind and get re-energized again. [I wrote about the ebb and flow of the creative process, so the rough patch is at that critical point when the first derivative is zero, but you need to make sure the second derivative is positive so the graph is concave up].

-The feeling-after. When it comes to habits, I’ve learned to consciously think about the feeling after doing the habit. For instance, if I’m going to buy ice cream, I need to remind myself of the disgusting-bloating feeling I always get after consuming the ice cream, and ask myself, are you ready to feel like that now? Sometimes the answer is yes, so oh well. But a lot of times it’s no. This is the same technique I use to push myself to exercise. I just focus my mind on how good it’s going to feel AFTER the workout. So I wonder if marathon runners seek that sense of achievement that comes from challenging their bodies in an extreme fashion.

-The last thing is about my French Press. I was looking forward to my morning cup of coffee and thing shattered in a way I didn’t even know was possible, which naturally made me think of a lesson on Fatigue Failure; the disastrous failure that causes small cracks to grow by fatigue — which is the progressive and localized structural damage that occurs when a material is subjected to cyclic load. I’m not so sure what this is supposed to be teaching you about life, but I guess you really need to be careful of the habits you sustain, because with time, bad habits like not getting enough sleep or eating a poor diet or continuously getting stressed out can catch up with you suddenly.

Image via as usual, not mine

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Also, check out my short story collection, “All Bleeding Stops and Other Short Stories from the Kenyan Coast,” and the non-fiction book summarizing a lot of ideas in the personal development field if you want to change your life but don’t know where to start, “Mine your inner resources”.

Published inLife LessonsPersonal Development