These are trying times for America. In my pending motherhood and mid-thirties mindset it seems I’m more sensitive to what’s going on in the world than ever before. In the past, political and social banter have felt like a sort of white noise to me. Something I could tune in to now and then, but push to the background when I needed to focus on my personal daily radar. That has become increasingly harder.
I’ll say that it’s much easier to tune out the world when you’re training for something that requires 17-25 hours of your time each week. Some people in my life have regarded this investment in endurance racing as a self-centered journey that’s led me away from what matters…but I think about it differently. “Lisa only cares about her races and herself,” I’ve heard people say (in various, more vague iterations, but that was always the gist).
The hours I’ve spent swimming, biking and running have shaped me into a better, more thoughtful person. My political and social opinions may differ from others, but I know they have come from my heart…away from MTV, the news (which is sort of like MTV these days, let’s face it…), Facebook, Twitter, and the like. In short, I’ve tuned out the mass media and the “group think” that can occur when we take on the opinions of the people we trust, rather than spending time to form the opinions that truly resonate with ourselves.
To me, it doesn’t matter what someone’s political views are. It matters that they are deeply rooted in thought, not the shallow flower box of social media or pop culture.
My training may have started as a numbers game…racking up my 13.1, 26.2, 70.3 and 140.6 miles like sequential badges of honor, but they soon became constellation prizes compared to the real reward of crossing those finish lines—self confidence, loyalty and conviction in a world that’s becoming more double-faced and wishy-washy every day.
I don’t write this to poo-poo anyone with an opposing view (or no view at all). This isn’t me on a soapbox to talk about how enlightened I am because I am a triathlete. This is a post to share one of the possible ways you can tune out the world and tune into yourself, for the betterment of you and the world around you. This a post to promote being selfish.
“Selfish” gets a bad rap. To be called selfish is to be painted in a negative light. To be selfish is to suggest too much of an “on yourself” focus. To feel selfish is to presume that you haven’t given enough of yourself to someone or something else. To “put yourself first” has come to mean that you “put yourself, only.” As if nothing comes next, or the idea of making yourself right and healthy before tackling the well-being of something or someone else is wrong. Relationships 101 says that you can’t be a good partner to your significant other until you are good with yourself. I think the same holds true for being a good citizen in your community.
In this world of sharing every thought that we have with every possible person that is willing to listen, read, like, share, comment, or retweet, it seems that selfish has suddenly become more of an “outward” thing than an “inward” thing.
I might be wrong, but the world could use some more “inward” thinking. More introspection. As a nation, I think we could all use a tune-up on our moral compass. That isn’t to suggest we need to find God, or draft laws, or take sides. This isn’t about finding the opinion you most align with so you can confidently buy into and repost the digital “chotchkies” of Viewpoint A over Viewpoint B.
We don’t need to repost, we need to reboot.
I’ve always said that if everyone in the world ran just three miles per day, we’d all be better people. Something happens when you take yourself out of the white noise for a bit and tap into the pure sound of “you.” It’s a kind of honesty with oneself that stirs the soul, and it keeps things from settling or becoming stagnant. This is the stirring that makes people feel like they can do a race that lasts for 17 hours.
In short, the stirring that enables us to overcome obstacles—real or perceived. It’s also the kind of stirring that strips you clean of any agenda you may have had.
See how much energy you have left for manipulating and calculating in the last three miles of an Ironman. It ain’t there. You’re back to basics. Stripped to the soul. It’s good stuff.
In this modern world, where we are overstimulated and grossly tuned in to the ugliest details of opinion and tragedy, we NEED to find a way to bring it back to basics.
If you want to be great, you must start with you. Be selfish. Find “you time” in 2013 and look inward, even if it means suffering the judgement of friends, family or peers with respect to your relationships and careers. Don’t go through another year on autopilot just because it’s easier to please people or uphold the status quo. Challenge everything you thought you were comfortable with and look for ways to stir your soul. Find your mojo in this modern world.