“I became an expert overnight” said no-one, ever!

It’s easy to believe that some people were born in life to do what they do, that somehow they are gifted at birth or it’s part of their DNA. The way that they make it look so easy, that their knowledge just flows from their lips or fingertips like it was gospel, or that their power and hold over an audience is natural and unrehearsed. In reality, when you see them in full flow of their ‘expertise’, it’s a common mistake to forget or to not even realise how much time they have spent repeating over and over and over, through trial and error, through failure and success, through sacrifice.

Is it our own mistake, or is that what we’re taught to believe? Today’s modern society can unfortunately deceive those who wish to take on a new skill or ability, with promises of success without the effort, achievements without the commitment, and reward without the risk. In turn, this causes those who fall at the first hurdle all too easily to give up and lose hope, never again opening up the opportunity to understand their own potential.

The truth is, anyone can achieve what they want in life by committing themselves to that outcome. Whatever it is you’re trying to learn or the goal you want to achieve, the investment of time in repeated rehearsal and then taking inspiration from failure (because there will be many opportunities), are two key ingredients for success.

For myself, I’ve learned that the only way to know, is to try. How do you know if you can, if you never try?

Back at school I used to dread those afternoon cross-country runs, since it meant trudging through the rain for a hour, trying to keep up with those who seemed to otherwise enjoy the experience. I couldn’t see the point, and found relief on returning to warm up with a hot shower, quickly forgetting what just took place. Or perhaps they understood. Not the meaning of today’s running experience, but the longer term benefits of running every week. The repeated experience – each time making small progress, small improvements, growing their ability.

Earlier this year I decided to put a stake in the ground and conquer my aversion to running – if there is one event that needs to be done, it’s the London Marathon. If there is a reason to run, it’s to see if it’s possible to run that 26.2 mile distance, as someone who has always avoided the experience all together. How hard could it be? How far I could run, how long, how quickly? It is something that is unknown to me, as I had not tested myself, or tried.

The first few times I felt like dying since my body was quite rejecting the idea. Sitting in a chair all day it seemed, was much easier, less effort, more reward. But pushing through, and doing it again, different day, different place. Even after the first few weeks, stop start, walking to running, I began to see an improvement. Small progress, small improvements, growing my ability. Encouraged, I looked for ways to keep focused, building a habit, maintaining consistency, as I was living proof that the only way to improve is to repeat, over and over and over.

It’s still a good 6 months away, but with the targets I’ve set, using the tools I’ve found to help me out along the way, I should be on target to complete the marathon within a reasonable time. To be honest, I am not looking to set the world on fire, as It isn’t about showing to other people what I can do. Just being able to complete it at all is proving to myself, that I can, because I tried.

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