There I was, drenched in sweat. Unfortunately the older I get, I feel like I am more former than athlete. I used to work out to get better and now I work out to avoid getting worse. I still feel like an athlete. I still look like an athlete. Alas, I am far from an athlete.
This could have been titled “The death of an athlete”. But that isn’t necessarily true either. In many ways, I am more competitive than I have ever been. And that’s what started it all. I waltzed into the gym ready to do my typical workout and there he was. He was on the elliptical jamming away. I got on the machine next to him.
He was moving pretty fast. I almost fell trying to see his screen. There it began, it was officially a race. If he went fast, I went faster. I’m not sure how long he was there before me, but I’ll be dammed if I quit before he does. And there we were, an epic saga about two former athletes locked in a life or death elliptical battle! O how the mighty have fallen.
I would have died before I let him out hustle me. I could hear the whirring of his machine slow. He looked over, grabbed his water, stepped off the machine and limped around the corner. Victory! I looked down at my screen, because I hadn’t really been paying attention to it. It read 55 minutes, not amazing but impressive.
I had burned 700 calories and travelled about 6 miles. I figured I’d get to an hour and take a picture of my accomplishment. I didn’t even feel tired. I was invigorated by the battle and my new goal. That’s when it all went awry. At 59 minutes and 30 seconds, the screen went blank. It was totally blank. My accomplishment disappeared, poof!
I stood there, dismayed. The screen read 3 seconds, 0 miles and 0 calories burned. It was all for nothing, a complete waste of time. I had nothing to show for all my effort. Nobody would see how hard I had worked. All that effort didn’t seem worth it without the reward.
This is a typical example of how we really don’t understand success. We tend to spend most of our time looking at the screen. When we expend our success effort, we expect to see a result. Without the result, we inappropriate assume it wasn’t worth the effort.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Results are important, but they don’t always tell the whole story. Results don’t always follow every single effort. We should be a little more sophisticated than Pavlov’s dog. There are times when we may fail. There are time when we may fall. There are times when the entire screen suddenly and inexplicably goes blank.
As devastated as I was about not being able to see the score that did not change the accomplishment. I still burned the same calories, travelled the same distance and spent the same amount of time trying to rekindle my athletic prowess. The only difference is that my accomplishment couldn’t be blasted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Many of us are too preoccupied with what people will think. It doesn’t matter who knows what you’ve done. Your success should come from the effort. You shouldn’t need a scoreboard to determine the success of your effort. You shouldn’t need social media validation. You shouldn’t always need a result to justify your effort.
There will be many failures and blank screens along the way to your success. The reward will come as long as the effort is there.