So I’m driving home from getting an ultra sound on my girl parts because something is wrong with one of my girl parts, and I’m drinking a giant cup of coffee and spooning in my mouth this pudding-whipped cream concoction that I decided to get because I just didn’t want to care anymore, and I’m reflecting on a podcast I just played.
This guest, Jerry Linenger is an astronaut. At the time he went, he was the first American to be in space for as long as five months. He studied in Russia for two years before climbing into a little tin can to travel into the thermosphere with two other Cosmonauts so that there would not be a language barrier. From the age of 14, he fashioned his life for this day. He joined the Navy, went to school, worked as a surgeon, earned a couple more masters degrees and another doctorate… he was selected among thousands upon thousands of applicants for the job of NASA Astronaut.
He said at some point in his career– as do all astronauts– he had to decide he was willing to die for his work. He said he didn’t do what he did just for his family (although he did) or his community, or his country or even the world, but for the entire planet and everyone who will inhabit it. He believed that what he was doing was for the good of all man-kind from now until forever. And that’s why he would die for it.
And I thought. Well, that takes a lot of balls!
I thought, that belief doesn’t come with a whole hell of a lot of confidence in yourself. You don’t go around feeling like something needs to change, and you’re the person who can deliver it without a crap-load of belief in yourself. This is a man who walks around every day believing that something needs to happen and he is THE guy to do it!
It was an epiphany! A paradigm shift!
I’m thinking that’s what Viktor Frankl must have been saying in his book Man’s Search for Meaning and I missed it! You don’t press on, do what it takes, survive just because you feel like you have a job to do, whether it be research in space, or research in Auschwitz, but you have to believe YOU are the ONE to deliver the results!
Oh! This discussion can go very deep from weight loss to winning a race to the value of a life without children, to homelessness! My mind raced!
So, as a coach and athlete, I thought, is it possible to make the changes necessary to our health and well-being without having the balls to believe that our own life is the ONE LIFE that has the ability to impact a family/ a community/ the country/ the world in a unique way?
Is THAT the core of our angst, those of us who struggle with sticking with goals?
If you believed that your extra weight is a hindrance to your health. And you had the guts to believe only YOU have that special thing to impact that world in a special way, making the changes necessary would never be a question.
If I believed that winning races would make me a better person and a better coach, and I had the chutzpah to believe My unique Personhood/My Soul/My Personality existed to impact the world in a positive way, making the changes to my diet and mind-set would never be an issue.
I think the most successful people are those who have a bone-deep sense of purpose. It is not about analyzing “What do you love to do?” A question I’ve been journaling answers to since I was 13. I think the First Question to answer is “Do I believe my life has a unique purpose?” If it is anything other than “YES!” our success is limited at best.