Cancer, despite its malicious attack on my body, has gifted me with a perpetual fear of death—which, in turn has forced me to realize some existential truths. It may not seem like a fair trade off now, but eventually, I have no doubt, it’ll prove invaluable. You see, having the knowledge and belief that you’re capable of much more, yet, not acting on it is possibly the greatest weakness there is. And maybe it’s cliché, but it’s about time I lived up to my potential. I have the opportunity to be a difference maker and a positive influence—I can feel it. However, in order for that to happen, my thought patterns were and are in need of change.
This has always been the difficult part, because governing the direction of our thinking can be complicated. Our daily fears and doubts are ever present, continually magnifying; and the less we do about addressing them, the less we’re able to do. Eventually, our apprehension represses us so much that we miss out on opportunities, or even dreams, as we become uninspiring—average.
And let’s face it; there’s nothing inspiring about average. Even though we may sympathize with it and its bag of excuses; it doesn’t exactly provoke a spark for change or action. What does move us, though, are the people who overcome adversity; stare down and face their challenges—own them. It’s the people who rise above, and show strength of character, who become our mentors; our motivators. Them, we’ll follow; because there’s just something about bravery that resonates very deep within us.
Personally, I believe it’s the positive energy which draws us in. Like a magnetic force or a light in the ever present abyss of negativity. When we glimpse courage in others, it reflects back to the potential that lies within. If they can accomplish or create something extraordinary, maybe it means it’s possible for us as well. After all, we’re each made up of the same stuff—biologically speaking. The only difference is the thoughts in our heads, which, we have the ability to control... or at least learn to. And as I’ve recently discovered, sometimes the learning curve can be very steep.
One of the most beautiful aspects of running is the influence it has on your mind. It’s a wonderful teacher of productive affirmation; which is very transferable to all other aspects of life. Perhaps that’s why I yearn to run even more now—post cancer. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t conquer all of our fears and doubts. But that’s okay; we’re supposed to have some as a survival mechanism. We just need to acknowledge their existence so we can then choose to channel them into something tangible and useful.
In every situation there are choices. And it’s the ones we make in the most challenging circumstances that define our legacy. I have no doubt the people around me would understand if I just wanted to get past cancer and back to a “normal” life. But I can’t and I won’t. My mind set has moved so far beyond normal—which I equate to average—that I don’t ever plan on seeing it again.
And if you’ve read this far, maybe it’s because you’re starting to believe in the same thing: Yourself.