BY TYSON POPPLESTONE
Having spent over 10 years as a middle distance runner, Tyson Popplestone has represented Australia at the World University Cross Country Championships (2010) , has a 3000m PR of 8mins 10 seconds, won the 2011 Melbourne Marathon 10km and took out the 2011 Victorian Mile Championships (as seen in the video below). A recurring sinus problem forced him to retire from running a few years back and since then Tyson has not stopped striving to achieve and inspire. He’s attempted to climb Everest amongst other things and now write’s his blog ‘The Art of Intention.’ On a weekly basis, Tyson will be writing a blog on RT with a personal focus on the world of athletics and the things that inspire him around it.
THE JOY IN EACH STEP
Written By Tyson Popplestone
Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be – Sonia Ricotti
Have you ever noticed the desire for just a little bit more is a common theme in our culture? You probably have because you’d have noticed it in the athletics scene. We’re all craving just that little bit more.
- Run a bit faster
- Win a bit more
- Break another record
- Turn a few more heads
- Get as many Instagram followers as Michelle Jenneke – don’t go and look, I just did. Huge! But I digress.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll understand how easily convinced we are that the joy we’re craving will be found in our next big thing. Though it is found there, it’s only ever temporary.
This is true whether you’ve just completed your first fun run, or you’re tying to break 3.30 for 1500m.
It’s good to have the longing for more.
In fact, we need it.
It keeps us motivated. Inspired. Focused. Excited.
But here’s the thing.
Sometimes we get so caught up chasing what we long for, that we forget the beauty found in each moment of the journey. From the moment we name the goal we’re pursuing, we start trying to build a bridge that links us from where we stand, to where our dream to be. It’s at this point if we’re not careful, that our vision can lock so firmly on the prize at the other side of the bridge, that we forget to take in the beautiful scenery as we cross it.
Some of the most beautiful moments occur in crossing.
Anyone who has achieved the goals they’ve set out to achieve will tell you it was more than just the end result that made their achievement so valuable. It was what they had to endure to reach it.
The journey deserves more credit.
Since leaving the competitive running scene in 2013, I’ve rediscovered a joy in the sport that my constant focus on the end result had blinded me to. If I’d noticed the joys in each step of the process I’d have been less stressed about my progress, and more grateful for the journey.
It’s my belief that when we can appreciate the joy in each step we begin to realise that attaining the prize we’re working so hard towards isn’t the only joy we can experience, but one of the many.
But here’s the question:
How do we find joy in the journey?
For me, the answer was in the simple things I often ignored. The beautiful things I’d run past without noticing it.I want to share a few thoughts on how you can re-discover the joy in each step you take.
I want to share a few thoughts on how you can re-discover the joy in each step you take.
May it both inspire and refresh you, no matter how close or far away you feel from the dreams you’re striving for.
- Simplify Get rid of the excess. We are all involved in the simplest sport on the planet when it comes to what you need to participate. You literally don’t need anything to do it. Don’t get lost in the abundance of options that we’re continually promised will take us to the next level. Find out what actually benefits you, and leave the rest alone.
- Patience Regardless of how often a gardener waters the seeds they’ve planted, the plants only bloom when they’re ready. The gardener’s stress, anxiety, anger or frustration at the speed of the plant’s growth will not speed up the process. Enjoy the ride. Do the work, and when your body is ready, you’ll take the next step.
- Gratitude In a competitive sport where being the best is the aim for a lot of us, jealousy can prevent us appreciating our own progression. Give yourself a break and take a a few minutes from time to time to pause and appreciate how far you’ve come and how much you’ve learnt. Forget the person you’re comparing yourself with, and look at your own improvement.
- Get into nature When I used to spend my Sunday morning’s at Ferny Creek, I’d always leave with a tired body and a fresh mind. The fresh mind was due to getting out into the fresh air, away from the chaos of the city and enjoying the most natural sport in the most natural setting.
- Breathe One of the most popular forms of meditation is simply to focus on your breath. When you’re running, take time switch off from everything going through your mind and continually return to your breath. From time to time, leave the headphones at home, and listen to your breath.
- Trust the plan When you and your team have decided what you’re attempting, back the plan you’ve created. There’s a lot of talk about what everyone else it doing but don’t waste your energy continually questioning whether your plan is as good as theirs. Have faith in yourself and your team.
- Learn I love this quote: “Good timber doesn’t grow with ease, the stronger the wind the stronger the trees”. The most interesting athletes are those who have had to overcome a few difficulties. If your path hasn’t gone the way you expected, not only will you appreciate the high times more, but you’ll have something to teach those who follow after you. Sometimes setbacks aren’t actually
- Leave it at home As much as I love Garmin’s, Podcast’s, Music, Heart Rate Monitors and my iPhone, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a run without all the distraction. When you choose a run to leave the excess at home, you have the opportunity to listen to your thoughts, enjoy the scenery and really enjoy the sport at it’s purest level.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how to get the most out of our journey. If you have any suggestions, make sure to let us know in the comments section below.
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